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Creating covetable store brand SKUs

Flexible packaging — bendable and dependable May 2018 | www.storebrands.com

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Improving supply chain efficiencies

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Volume 40 No. 5 May 2018

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Editor’s Take

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CONTENTS

Around the Industry Getting Social

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COVER STORY

CATEGORY INTELLIGENCE 56

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Medal Worthy: Store Brands’ 2018 Editors’ Picks Awards Top products impress with leading-edge, premium qualities

FEATURES 40 TOTAL STORE Creating the covetable How retailers can leverage limitedtime and exclusive offerings to generate excitement and tap into consumers’ fear of missing out

43 TRENDING

Baby care

Smooth operations Retailers of private brands should scrutinize nearly every element of the supply chain for ineffeciencies to reduce costs

46 FOCUS ON FRESH Solving the six o’clock scramble

Updated flavor profiles,convenient packaging and prominent positioning are helping retailers differentiate their value-added meat and poultry offerings

51 PACKAGING Bendable and dependable Flexible packaging offers many advantages, from easy customization and superb printability to shelf-life extension and sustainability

Store Brands (ISSN-0190-9851; USPS # 0488-370) is published monthly by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscriptions: One year, $95; two years, $146. One year, Canada $112; two years, Canada $150, One year, foreign $175; two years, foreign $285. Payable in advance with a bank draft drawn on a US bank in US funds.Single copies $10, except foreign, where postage will be added. Reprints, permissions and licensing, please contact Wright’s Media at ensembleiq@wrightsmedia.com or(877) 652-5295. Canada Post: Canada returns to be sent to IDS, P.O. Box 456, Niagara Falls, ON, L2E6V2. Periodicals postage rates paid at Deerfield, IL and additional mailing offices. Printed in USA. POSTMASTER: send all address changes to Store Brands PO Box 1842 Lowell MA 01853. Copyright 2018 by EnsembleIQ. All rights reserved, including the rights to reproduce in whole or in part. All letters to the editors of this magazine will be treated as having been submitted for publication. The magazine reserves the right to edit and abridge them. The publication is available in microform from University Microfilms International, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI, 48106. The contents of this publication can not be reproduced in whole or in part without the consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for claims and representations. 4

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EDITOR’S TAKE Business Intelligence for an Evolving Market

8550 W. Bryn Mawr, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631 (773) 992-4450

Senior Vice President/Group Brand Director 917-859-3619

WHY MILLENNIALS MATTER

Katie Brennan

kbrennan@ensembleIQ.com

(EVEN THOUGH YOU’RE TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT THEM)

EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief

Lawrence Aylward

(330) 635-2586

laylward@ensembleIQ.com

Managing Editor

Carolyn Schierhorn

(224) 231-6359

cschierhorn@ensembleIQ.com

Contributing Writers

Warning: The following is another commentary about millennials and private brands. I know a lot of people — including millennials themselves — are tired of hearing about millennials and private brands. For the record, I’m tried of hearing (and writing) about millennials and private brands. But as Don Stuart said recently during a seminar at the Private Label Manufacturer Association’s Annual Meeting & Leadership Conference, millennials will play a pivotal role in the “boom or bust” of private brands in coming years. They can’t be ignored. Stuart, managing partner of Wilton, Conn.-based Cadent Consulting Group, believes private brands are sitting on the cusp of a major boom. So do a lot of people. In fact, when Stuart asked the 200 or attendees of his seminar to raise their hands if they thought store brands would be booming in the next five years, almost all hands went up. Zero hands were raised when Stuart asked who thought private brands would be a bust. Stuart and his firm have been studying private brands closely and crunching numbers along the way. While many reports say that “most” millennials are open to purchasing private brands and are brand agnostic, Stuart believes that number is closer to half of millennials, about 51 percent. But that number is still significant, considering that only 39 percent of baby boomers are open to purchasing private brands, he adds. “That’s 12 percent, which makes a difference in the share shifts,” Stuart stressed. Stuart also noted that there will be 15 million more millennials than baby boomers in the next 10 years simply because baby boomers will be leaving this world. So the the share shift factor that Stuart talks about looms even larger. The more millennials, the more chance there is that they will purchase private brands. The fewer baby boomers, the less chance that they will purchase national brands. So you can see where Stuart is coming from. “All of a sudden there are those coin flips that could go store brands’ way because branded products don’t mean as much to millennials,” Stuart says. The perimeter of the store is another factor. Retailers realize they must grow the store perimeter with more fresh private-branded offerings because the center store is shrinking and that space must be accounted for. Guess what? Millennials love fresh products. Another score for potential private brands. Other factors play into a potential private brand boom, Stuart notes, but we can’t stop talking about millennials’ impact anytime soon. Of course, retailers and manufacturers must continue to decipher what millennials want in terms of food and non-food items, which can be a moving target. But it’s clear that millennials prefer organic and free-from products, which is where retailers and manufacturers are already putting much focus. Stuart predicts that private brands could grow 8 share points in the next 10 years, “which is an incredible rate from where we have been,” he says. But there is one thing that could deflate the boom. “Trust,” Stuart says. Considering millennials are a demanding bunch, retailers and manufacturers will have to do everything they can to gain their trust — for the sake of their private brands. Lawrence Aylward, Editor-in-Chief

Rich Mitchell, Dana Cvetan

ADVERTISING & SALES Associate Brand Director Suzanne Caputo

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Regional Sales Manager

Lisa Adams

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AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT Director of Audience Engagement

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Shelly Patton

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List Rental

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Custom Project Manager

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Pat Wisser

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REPRINTS, PERMISSIONS AND LICENSING

Please contact Wright’s Media at ensembleiq@wrightsmedia.com or (877) 652-5295.

EVENTS • MARKETING • DIGITAL • RESEARCH • CIRCULATION CORPORATE OFFICERS Executive Chairman

Alan Glass

Chief Executive Officer

David Shanker

Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer

Richard Rivera

Chief Brand Officer

Korry Stagnito

President, Enterprise Solutions Chief Digital Officer

Terese Herbig Joel Hughes

Chief Human Resources Officer Senior Vice President, Innovation

Jennifer Turner Tanner Van Dusen

laylward@ensembleIQ.com

2015

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You ain't seen nothin'yet!

PLMA’s Annual Private Label Trade Show just keeps growing larger and larger. More exhibitors. More products. More retailers. The reason, of course, is more consumers than ever are buying store brands. But as the man says “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” Store brands are heading for unprecedented growth and PLMA’s 2018 event is adding new categories to keep pace: housewares and kitchenware, natural and organics, and private label wine. Add these to all the food, snacks and beverages, health and beauty, GM and household, and you can see why this year’s show will be the most exciting show PLMA has ever presented. Come and see it all for yourself. Visitor registration is now open. Telephone (212) 972-3131 or online at www.plmaregistration.com.

Nov. 11-13 • Chicago Presented by the Private Label Manufacturers Association


VIEWPOINT

By Jordan Rost

FOR PRIVATE BRANDS, IT PAYS TO BE PREMIUM In 2018, a premium store brand product is no longer an oxymoron, but instead a growing norm within the overall fast-rising private brands category. According to Nielsen’s latest “Total Consumer Report (2017),” sales of private brands eclipsed $125 billion across traditional retail, thriving at plus 3 percent in dollar sales year-over-year with premium private brands bringing double-digit (10 percent) dollar growth. Retailer-branded products have surmounted stigmas of value and quality and, as a result, have seen a complete reversal in growth trajectory compared to manufacturer branded items. Compared with the closing quarter of 2016, when private brands were trending negatively, store brands were posting dollar growth of more than three times the rate of branded products by the end of 2017. Behind this change is the metamorphosis of the meaning of value — where consumers no longer view value to simply mean cheap. Instead, value has grown to reflect a sliding scale of interchangeable attributes that are uniquely important and personal to the consumer, including characteristics such as quality of ingredients, sustainability, durability and price. With this paradigm shift, consumers have shown a willingness to pay a little extra for products that meet their needs, and a swell of high-quality and high-value store brand products have emerged. Not all store brand products are driving growth at the same rate, and not all branded products are experiencing declining sales. When dissected by price tier, it’s clear that premium products are winning across the board. Analyzing individual UPC price points, Nielsen created and analyzed a five-tier distribution that isolates the

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most premium- and discount-oriented groups of products. Through this analysis, it became clear where opportunities lie for both manufacturers and retailers. For store brands, discount offerings represent over 60 percent of revenue; however, the most value-oriented products have struggled to keep pace. In fact, the lowest discount tier saw a 2.3 percent decline in dollar growth in 2017. Across branded product sales, premium tiers sustained more than one-third of dollar volume and drove 8 percent dollar growth in 2017. Within the premium pricing tier, there are areas of opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to recognize. We are also seeing the continued premiumization of store brand products specifically in food where health, wellness and food safety are driving consumer demand. More and more, when it comes to food purchases and nutrition labels, consumers want it one way: Clean. In fact, 67 percent of Americans will be prioritizing healthy or socially conscious food purchases in 2018. With this movement, clean-label products are on the rise with brands of all sizes. Within Nielsen tracked channels, total sales of clean-label products in 2017 were $131 billion and private brands accounted for 17 percent of dollar share. The candy category is another area of opportunity worth exploring. Currently, private-branded candy only accounts for 4 percent dollar share of the $15 billion dollar total candy market. Looking at the distribution of price points across branded candy UPCs, the highest, premium price point saw 3.7 percent dollar growth and mid-tier premium brands drove the greatest returns for the category last year with 4.4 percent dollar growth. Where manufacturers of private brands can cater to consumer demand for gourmet and grandiose products, they can hit the sweet spot where the lowest-cost brands are missing the mark. SB Jordan Rost is vice president of consumer insights for Nielsen. His work explores emerging trends and shifting buying and media consumption behaviors and helps manufacturers and retailers make more informed business decisions.


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AroundtheIndustry

Stadium fare provides food for thought By Lawrence Aylward

Want to see what differentiavegetarian offerings with its tion and exclusivity look Protein Quinoa Salad made like? Look no further than with fresh corn, green the latest menus at Major onions and chickpeas. So League Baseball stadiums. are the New York Yankees, Major League Baseball which are offering a vegan eats have come a long sausage topped with jalaway from just offering “a peños and onions at Yankee dog and a beer.” Stadiums are Stadium in the Bronx. no longer just for baseball fans; At Globe Life Park in ArAt Globe Life they’re for foodies. Fans flock lington Texas, where the Texas Park in Arlington to games to eat, not just for a Rangers call home, there’s the Texas, the Dilly chance to see guys like New York Dilly Dog — a cored dill pickle Dog is as different as Yankee Aaron Judge hit a ball stuffed with a hot dog and it gets. into the stratosphere. then deep fried. Talk about Some of the creative and even differentiation. outlandish offerings on menus throughWrigley Field, where the Chicago out America’s 30 baseball stadiums are Clubs play, introduced the Polk Street innovative and focus on regionality. Breaded Pork Shoulder, which is a And with retailers looking to capitalize house-smoked and breaded pork shoulon their fresh and grab-and-go cuisine, der topped with house-made pickles and these offerings just might spark a few Dijon sauce served on a telera roll. ideas for private brands. At Progressive Park, the Cleveland InLet’s go first to Houston’s Minute Maid dians debuted The Flamethrower, a pork Park, home of the 2017 World Series belly and pulled pork sandwich topped Champion Houston Astros, to check out with bacon jam, barbecue sauce, green the piquant .45 Express, an all-beef hot apple slaw and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. dog topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, At the Great American Ball Park, The green chili queso, tortilla strips, cheese, Cincinnati Reds debuted the Queen pico de gallo, pickled jalapeños, sour City Fried Garlic Bologna, a fried cream and cilantro served on a crisp bologna sandwich served on a bun and corn tortilla inside a flour tortilla. Mintopped with spicy mustard. ute Maid Park is also serving up its BBQ As you can see, these foods hit on the Funnel Cake, which consists of pulled same trends — from taste to health to pork, chopped beef, smoked sausage, inventiveness — that private brands are citrus kale black bean slaw and golden aiming to do. grain mustard barbecue sauce served on So if you are a retailer’s head of pria deep-fried funnel cake. vate brands, it’s time to talk your boss At Dodger Stadium, home of the Los into taking a road trip to several MLB Angeles Dodgers and long known for its stadiums for a little “field work.” Now Dodger Dog, fans can build their own wouldn’t that be the “business trip” of a tortas (Mexican-style sandwiches) by lifetime? Seriously, though, MLB stadichoosing from carne asada, nopales/ ums are taking their food fare to another cactus, pulled chicken, refried beans, jalalevel — just what private brands want peno, cilantro, crema and pickled onions. to do. There’s something to be learned Dodger Stadium is also adding to its from the great American pastime. SB 10

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SHORT TAKES Walmart to sell majority share of Asda to Sainsbury Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart Inc. and J Sainsbury announced on April 30 the “combination” of Sainsbury’s and Asda Group Ltd., Walmart’s wholly owned U.K. retail subsidiary. “At a time of significant and rapid change in the retail sector, the combination will create one of the U.K.’s leading grocery, general merchandise and clothing retail groups,” Walmart stated in a press release. “Bringing together two distinctive customer propositions will create a more competitive, adaptable and resilient business — better placed to invest in price, quality, range and more flexible ways for customers to shop.” Under the terms of the combination, which is subject to various approvals, Walmart would hold 42 percent of the combined business’ share capital. Walmart would also receive approximately $4.10 billion in cash, subject to customary closing adjustments, valuing Asda at approximately $10.05 billion. “We believe the combination offers a unique and exciting opportunity that benefits customers and colleagues,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart’s president and CEO, in a statement. “As a company, we’ve benefited from doing business in the U.K. for many years, and we look forward to working closely with Sainsbury’s to deliver the benefits of the combination.”

Boer retiring as CEO from Ahold Delhaize Dick Boer is retiring as CEO of Ahold Delhaize on July 1. Franz Muller will take over as CEO on that day for the Zaandam, the Netherlands-based retailer. In a press release, Mats Jansson, chairman of Ahold Delhaize’s supervisory board, thanked Boer for his leadership and dedication throughout his 20-year career at Ahold Delhaize and Ahold. “Dick’s accomplishments include the successful repositioning of Albert Heijn to market leadership; strategically building Ahold’s portfolio into brands with number one and two positions in the markets they serve; and introducing digital, e-commerce and sustainability as integrated parts of the business,”


On

! e v w i NoMA L PL

PLMA

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The Race for the Bottom Dollar stores, discounters and e-commerce are battling each other for sales to consumers at the bottom of the economic ladder. The prize is attracting Aldi, Lidl, Walmart and many others. PLMA Live analyzes the players, the market and the consumers.

Brian Sharoff / Jodi Daley

Roy White

Brad Edmondson

Bob Vosburgh

Tim Simmons

News Anchors

Who Are The Players

Who Are The Customers

What AreThe Weapons

What AreThe Risks

Watch the news. Don’t just read about it. www.plmalive.com Presented by the Private Label Manufacturers Association


AroundtheIndustry Daymon report shows how private brands can be part of the store experience A new report from Daymon provides perspective on what it takes to create a memorable customer journey, and how private brands can play a defining role. The study, “The State of the Store Experience,” which Daymon said is the latest edition of its recent “The Private Brand Intelligence Report,” found that everyday shopping frustrations leave a lasting impression. In fact, 55 percent of shoppers said they would no longer visit a store where they experience repeated Retailers can mobilize their service issues — and 45 percent would not return due associates to navigation difficulties, according to Daymon, a to become Stamford, Conn.-based retailer services company that knowledgeable specializes in private brands. ambassadors of To help retailers address these challenges, Daymon private brand products. used direct consumer feedback to identify 31 distinct attributes of the shopping journey that offer opportunities to create an ownable experience led by private brands. “Shoppers have come to expect private brands to be a part of the store experience and most retailers have obliged,” said Dave Harvey, Daymon’s vice president of thought leadership. “You can say [private brands] have become table stakes. But it’s not just about products. Private brand is a service, a voice, an authority. It puts a face to the name of a retailer and when executed in the right way, it becomes the driving force behind store choice.” The report reveals key opportunities for retailers to raise private brands from basic table stakes to “actively delighting customers”: • Go beyond the national brand equivalent (NBE): 28 percent of bestin-class private brand programs are value-added, according to Daymon. Retailers that go beyond “me-too” products and services have a reputation for differentiation. • Lead with curation: Store navigation frustrations lead to 45 percent attrition. Retailers should lean on their private brands not merely as products, but as the authority on helping shoppers identify what’s right for them, Daymon states. • Credential private brands through your staff: 55 percent of shoppers reject stores with poor employee engagement. As part of a training regimen, retailers can mobilize their associates to become knowledgeable ambassadors of private brand products, according to Daymon. • Expand private brand reach: Best-in-class store loyalty is 50 percent among heavy private brand buyers. Daymon says progressive retailers are extending their private brands beyond the shelf to embrace value-added services and customer outreach. • Transform the front end: The No. 1 pain point is checkout. • Don’t neglect the basics: Even the best retail strategy can be undermined by something as basic as out-of-stocks. Daymon finds that $1.4 to $2.4 million per week is lost at an average retailer due to promotional out-of-stocks. SB 12

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SHORT TAKES Continued Jansson said. “Under Dick’s leadership, two leading food retailers were brought together in an historic merger. With this merger now being substantially completed, Ahold Delhaize is now ready to move into its next phase.” Boer said it has been a privilege to lead Ahold Delhaize. “Today, our company is wellpositioned for long-term growth, creating a natural moment for me to step down,” Boer said. “I am proud of what we achieved together and it is my absolute pleasure to be handing the helm to Frans, who I have come to know as a talented leader.

El Super acquiring Fiesta Mart Paramount, Calif.-based Bodega Latina Corp., known as U.S. Hispanic grocer El Super, has acquired Fiesta Mart, a Texas-based international food retailer with an emphasis on the Hispanic segment that operates 63 stores primarily in the Dallas and Houston areas. The combination of Bodega Latina and Fiesta creates one of the largest Hispanic-focused supermarket companies in the U.S., with a total of 122 stores across California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas and revenues of approximately $3 billion. “The acquisition of Fiesta allows us to meaningfully expand into Texas via an established, well-known supermarket operator,” Carlos Smith, president and CEO of Bodega Latina, said in a statement.

Kroger opening second restaurant The Kroger Co. is opening its second Kitchen 1883 restaurant, which offers a fresh take on new American comfort food, following the successful launch of its first full-service dining experience last November in Kentucky. The new Kitchen 1883 will be a stand-alone restaurant with a patio located in Anderson Township, a neighborhood in Greater Cincinnati.

Manzoline named chairman of PLMA Board of Directors Lisa Manzoline, director of national accounts for Reynolds Consumer Products Inc., was elected chairman of the board of directors for the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) during the association’s 2018 Annual Meeting and Leadership Conference in Bonita Springs, Fla. Manzoline said it was an “extraordinary privilege” to take on the role for the next year to serve the association and the store brands industry. “Over the last 30 years, I have worked in private label, both food and non-foods,” Manzoline noted. “Like so many of you, I have been a witness and participant — as well as a beneficiary — of the tremendous growth of PLMA and store brands.” SB


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GETTING SOCIAL

Q A with Julie Woods Director of Product Development for Private Brands, Sam’s Club

How did you come to the world of private brands? Initially it was by accident. I started developing products for private brands at a consumer packaged goods company before private brands were popular. Many years later, the opportunity to work in private brands at Sam’s Club came up, and I jumped at the chance to join the team. Describe the private brands industry in one word. Dynamic, exciting, fun … you said three words, correct? What do you like most about the industry? I love that you get to develop great-tasting, highquality items at an incredible value that are accessible to all consumers.

If a Joan Jett song comes on the car radio, Julie Woods will blast it for all to hear.

What one great thing does the industry have going for it? Opportunities galore! If you want to do something in the food industry, there is no limit to what you can do. From product development to packaging to sustainability to merchandising to … everyone can find something that inspires them. What trait in yourself do you attribute most to your success? Curiosity in how I approach everything. What is the biggest obstacle you have ever overcome? Myself. I try not to get in my own way. I try to keep evolving with the industry, stay open to change and open to new challenges and opportunities. There is never a dull moment, so that keeps things exciting.

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What’s the best advice someone ever gave you? I have received a lot of great advice over the years, but one example that sticks with me is a co-worker who was always very approachable. It didn’t matter what he was doing or how busy he was, he acted like you were the most important thing right at that moment and gave you complete attention. I try to emulate that behavior on a daily basis. It’s 5 o’clock (or later), what do you do for fun? I am an avid mountain biker and I love to rock climb. Just teasing … I like to wear sweatpants, watch Netflix and drink margaritas! You have a week off. Where do you go and why? That is a difficult question because there are so many options. I would probably head straight for a state or national park for some hiking and to take pictures. I love nature photography, and that is one of the things I have loved about living in Arkansas since joining Sam’s Club. If you were born 100 years ago, what would you do for a living? Technically my children believe I was born 100 years ago so this is not a difficult question. I’d be a food scientist. I would definitely be involved in creating food to share with family and friends. What song do you love to crank up in the car? Depends on the day and mood, but I love Jon Bon Jovi (“Bad Medicine”), who is my imaginary boyfriend, and any song by Justin Timberlake or Prince. And if I’m feeling particularly badass ... Joan Jett (I realize these answers age me).


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EDAL RTHY Top products impress with leading-edge, premium qualities

By Lawrence Aylward and Carolyn Schierhorn

Private label pundits predict that store brands could be on the cusp of major growth in the next few years. But to take store brands to another level, retailers will need to infuse their own-brand offerings with premium-level products. If the entries in Store Brands’ 2018 Editors’ Picks Awards competition are any indication, premium products are permeating the industry. The manufacturers and retailers that submitted entries for our product competition are clearly innovating, and have embraced and invested in ingenuity in many facets of food and non-food private brand categories. This year, manufacturers and retailers submitted more than 200 products in our competition, nearly double from last year. The sheer assortment of entries in our third-annual Editors’ Picks Awards competition impressed those who evaluated the product samples. Open to private brand manufacturers and retailers that self-manufacture their own brands, the Editors’ Picks Awards program recognizes the best new product concepts available for private branding. To be eligible for entry in this year’s competition, the concepts must have been introduced in 2017. A team of editors judged the food and beverage entries on taste and mouth feel, innovation, on-trend impact and appealing presentation, while assessing non-food entries on their functionality/ usefulness, innovation, on-trend impact and appealing presentation. Despite formidable competition, products from more than 60 vendors stood out for their differentiation and exclusivity in 30 categories. Gold, silver and bronze honors were issued in most categories, but some categories received only gold or gold and silver awards. We congratulate the following winners: www.storebrands.com / May 2018 / Store Brands

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GOLD: The Kroger Co. — Simple Truth Organic Fruit & Veg Puree Blueberry, Banana, Kale & Spinach Millennials seek nutrient-rich organic food for themselves, and they want the same healthful, sustainably produced products for their young families. This convenient, squeezable-pouch baby food product blends a variety of fruits and vegetables for a blast of antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. SILVER: Baxters North America — Little Journey Sweet Pea White Chicken Puree (Sold at Aldi) Packaged in a squeezable pouch, this baby food delivers a high-protein combination of chicken and pea that tastes good too.

BAKING MIX GOLD: The Mason Jar Cookie Co. — Celebrate! Cookie Mix and All Natural Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Pancake Mix The delicious, fun-to-make candy-covered cookies with sprinkles will put smiles on kids’ (and adults) faces. The rich-tasting golden and fluffy buttermilk pancakes will too. Even if you don’t indulge, these products might coerce you to do so. They are premium while catering to consumers’ desire for convenience.

BEVERAGES/COFFEE (GROUND AND WHOLE BEAN) BAKING MIX

GOLD: Trilliant — Uniquely J Peruvian Coffee, Organic and Fair Trade (Sold by Jet.com) All of the judges enjoyed this coffee. The grounds have an attractive dark color, and the aroma and taste is superb. Being organic and Fair Trade, it is on trend. SILVER: Paramount Roasters — Barissimo Fair Trade Certified Organic Peru Whole Bean Medium Roast (Sold at Aldi) Rich in taste, the manufacturer notes that “all chemical substances are eliminated to ensure the natural flavor profile of this bean is not altered in any way.

BEVERAGES/COFFEE (Ground and whole bean)

BRONZE (TIE): The Kroger Co. — Hemisfares 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Whole Bean Medium Roast A balanced and smooth flavor with hints of chocolate and citrus. The beans are grown on the Jamaica Blue Mountains — a one-of-a-kind micro climate that creates the ideal conditions for producing the original Arabica Typical varietal brought to Jamaica back in 1728, according to Kroger. Farmers Brothers — Giant Eagle Market District Direct Trade Colombia Medium Roast A clean taste that is not overpowering or acidic. According to the manufacturer, the coffee beans are grown in rich soil near the Rio Magdalena River in Colombia.

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Let us help build your coffee portfolio. Contact Jerry Gilbert at 1.847.205.9270 or jgilbert@mother-parkers.com 1. Mother Parkers has no affiliation with Keurig Green Mountain Inc., Keurig® or K-Cup®. Keurig® and K-Cup® are registered trademarks of Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. 2. Mother Parkers has no affiliation with Societe des Produits Nestle S. A., Nespresso® or OriginalLine. Nespresso® is a registered trademark of Societe des Produits Nestle S.A. 3. Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee is a proud recipient of multiple new product innovation awards in 2017.


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GOLD: Mother Parkers Tea and Coffee — Nespresso Compatible Espresso Capsules Delicate and savory sweet with a lightl syrupy mouthfeel. We also enjoyed the slight orange zest aroma. SILVER: Trilliant — Uniquely J Organic, Fair Trade Badass Expresso, Intensity 10 (Sold at Jet.com) This is a strong espresso, but it’s not bitter or harsh. It’s smooth to drink and has a nice full body and rich flavor with some fruity notes.

(Single serve)

BEVERAGES/JUICES AND SMOOTHIES GOLD: OKF Corp. — OKF Green Smoothie You can’t help but feel about good drinking this. And its blend of apple, kiwi and mango tastes fresh and fabulous. Talk about a beverage that goes down easy. This smoothie also contains Lactobacillus, which provides health benefits.

BEVERAGES/JUICES AND SMOOTHIES

SILVER: Smart Juice — SimplyNature Organic Antioxidant Power (Sold by Aldi) This refreshing 100 percent organic juice combines pomegranate, tart cherry, red grape, purple carrot, cranberry and blueberry and bursts with flavor. BRONZE: Lassonde Beverages Canada — Specially Selected 100% Pure Black Cherry Juice (Sold by Aldi) Derived from concentrated ripe, whole unsweetened black cherries, this drink packs a flavorful punch. Its also on trend with no added sugars.

BEVERAGES/MILK BEVERAGES/MILK

GOLD: HP Hood — Friendly Farms Chocolate Almond Milk (Sold at Aldi) This product had us at the first sip — its creamy chocolate and nutty flavor made for a great taste and a savory experience. It’s also packed with Vitamin E. SILVER: Jasper Products — Friendly Farms Coconut Milk Original (Sold at Aldi) Products made from coconuts continue to flourish. There’s no doubt that this product, which provides a very satisfying taste and mouthfeel, will keep the coconut trend going strong.

BEVERAGES/SPORTS DRINKS BEVERAGES/ SPORTS DRINKS

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GOLD: The Kroger Co. — Simple Truth Organic Electrolyte Solution Wild Berry A stand-out product that is on trend in a big way. More and more consumers are concerned about staying hydrated and this good-tasting organic beverage catches your attention with the words “electrolyte solution.” There are also no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. Electrolytes never tasted so good.


HOW-TO : BUILD THE PERFECT BEVERAGE PROGRAM

ICED LATTES FAVORITE OF MILLENNIALS

COFFEE ENERGY BOOSTS CONSUMER LOYALTY

COLD BREW CUTTING-EDGE TREND

Take advantage of the robust RTD coffee market—let our award-winning R&D team use our premium fresh-brewed coffees, extensive retort capabilities and expanded facilities to deliver your successful program, in bottles and cans. bernerfoodandbeverage.com

SQF LEVEL 3 CERTIFIED


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GOLD: The Maple Guild — tapt Vitamin Electrolyte Antioxidant Mineral Infused Tree Water Made from Maple Syrup Water — make that infused tree water — never tasted so good, especially with a hint of organic maple syrup. Plant-based products are on trend, and this product certainly delivers on innovation. It could also be classified as a “super drink,” considering it contains electrolytes, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It comes in seven fruity flavors. SILVER: Mapco Express — Good Livin’ Sparkling Water Bubbly (of course) and refreshing. BRONZE: Independent Beverage Co. — Puraqua Belle Vie Grapefruit Sparkling Water (Sold at Aldi) The grapefruit taste is subtle but pleasing.

BREAD GOLD: La Fournee Doree — Specially Selected Sliced Brioche Loaf (Sold at Aldi) Imported from France, this sliced bread loaf is “scrumptious,” noted one editor. The product is perfect for busy, discerning millennials who would not only enjoy the bread themselves but also use it for their young kids’ lunchbox sandwiches. A premium product, the bread represents Aldi’s new emphasis on baked goods.

BREAD

SILVER: Pita Bread Factory — L’Oven Fresh Wraps, Spinach Herb (Sold at Aldi) This vegan bread option is a delicious, on-trend lunch solution, ideal for a variety of nutrient-dense fillings.

CANDY

CANDY

GOLD: Chocmod USA Inc. — Snacking Chocolate Coconut & Quinoa Call it candy with some on-trend flair, notably quinoa, a popular superfood. Chocmod’s new truffles are made in three recipes — cranberries, hazelnut and coconut. All make for a delightful sweet treat and scored high with our judges on taste and mouthfeel. SILVER: Redland Foods — Peaceful Piranha Caramel Cashew Popcorn An innovative sweet treat that surely has customers of Hy-Vee, where the exclusive Peaceful Piranha line is a store brand, coming back for more. BRONZE: Chocolate Lugano — Easter Collection Lugano & Jorge Bischoff This product would give exclusivity to any retailer, considering its packaging and the bracelet that is included. The tasty bitter chocolate contains walnut seeds, almonds and pistachios.

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Grab ‘n Go Mornings A delicious new way to do breakfast. Apple cinnamon oat clusters, dark chocolate coffee beans, sweet cranberries and crisp banana chips. Dry roasted salted peanuts add a savory balance and the perfect crunch to this organic mix.

Organic Morning Commuter Trail Mix

Build your business with custom snacks. Transparent Sourcing. Premium Quality. Better-For-You. www.woodstockfarmsmfg.com


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GOLD: The Kroger Co. — Kroger Nashville Style Hot Chicken Kettle Cooked Potato Chips It’s not organic and free from what some may deem undesirable ingredients. But the innovative flavor, which capitalizes on the popularity of Nashville hot chicken, is spot on. Eating these chips, you might not need the real thing to satisfy a Nashville chicken crave. SILVER: Snack Innovations — This Chip is Awesome The name of the chip is a bit … well … vain, don’t you think? But this organic popcorn chip, which features chia, flax and quinoa in its ingredients, has room to brag. BRONZE: Severance Foods Inc. — Simply Nature Organic Multigrain Tortilla Chips (Sold at Aldi) Nothing flashy about this chip. It simply looks tantalizing in the package and has the crunch and taste to back its look. And being organic, it’s on trend.

DAIRY

DAIRY

GOLD: Commonwealth — Friendly Farms Crazy for Coconut Tilts Greek Yogurt (Sold at Aldi) The low-fat Greek coconut yogurt can be combined with the almond and chocolate chip topping by just tilting the package. Healthful while indulgent, convenient yet fresh, the product is definitely on trend. Retailing for just 89 cents a unit at Aldi, this yogurt line is a phenomenal value, the judges agreed. SILVER: Biazzo — Biazzo Dairy Fresh Mozzarella Snack Sticks Unlike string cheese, these all-natural fresh mozzarella sticks have a smooth, soft texture and a subtle, not salty, flavor that is pleasing to sophisticated palates. BRONZE (TIE): The Kroger Co. — Carbmaster Low Fat Peach Cottage Cheese This convenient, healthful and tasty product, with 5 grams of sugar and 15 grams of protein, epitomizes why cottage cheese has suddenly become so trendy.

DAIRY-FREE PRODUCTS

Commonwealth — Friendly Farms Key Lime Crunch Tilts Greek Yogurt (Sold at Aldi) This low-fat Greek yogurt scored high in taste and mouthfeel. The rich key lime taste was spot on.

DAIRY-FREE PRODUCTS GOLD: Natural Fit Food Products — Dairy-free Cheddar Cheese Billed as an alternative for cheese, this dairy-free product hits the mark. Simply put, it looks like cheese and tastes a lot like cheese with the help of water, coconut oil, pea protein, sea salt and other ingredients. 24

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GLUTEN FREE VEGAN CAULIFLOWER CRUST

1ST INGREDIENT PREMIUM CAULIFLOWER

AUTHENTIC ITALIAN GLUTEN FREE STORE BRAND PIZZA CRUSTS, PIZZAS AND PIZZA DOUGH NEAPOLITAN TRADITION

MODERN NUTRITION

QUALITY ASSURANCE

Hand stretched and stone baked, we make the only pizza crust on the market with rise and genuine Neapolitan flavour.

Sourcing the highest quality ingredients, our crusts are vegan and all Oggi products are gluten free and GMO free.

All Oggi products are made in a certified gluten free and peanut free facility. We pride ourselves in our quality and production.

WWW.OGGIFOODS.COM WWW O ODS COM


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FROZEN DESSERTS GOLD: G.S. Gelato & Desserts — Mango Sorbet with SemiCandied Fruit “Delicious!” agreed the judges when sampling this sorbet. Made from Alphonso mangoes from India, the product is free of artificial ingredients, fat and trans fat, dairy and gluten and has just over 100 calories per serving. Marketed as a sustainable product, the sorbet is available in a premium recyclable or reusable clear plastic pint.

FROZEN FRUIT

FROZEN FRUIT

FROZEN VEGETABLES

GOLD: Wawona Frozen Foods Corp. — Season’s Choice Tropical Blend (Sold at Aldi) Sometimes the freshest fruit is in the freezer case, the product frozen at the peak of freshness. Reminding judges of a tropical vacation, this blend is delicious and healthful, without added sugars and with plenty of vitamin C and antioxidants.

FROZEN VEGETABLES GOLD: The Kroger Co. — Mini Sweet Potatoes with Moroccan Inspired Artisan Seasoning Blend We were a bit skeptical about this product, mainly because the preparation sounded too easy: Heat the sweet potatoes, add a bit of butter and the sea-

W E M A K E F O O D T H AT M AT T E R S .

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soning blend, and basically have at it. But wow! Talk about a quick fix for an outstanding, tasty and healthy product. And the Moroccan-inspired seasoning makes for a great flavor combination. Kudos to the product developers for a simple but successful innovation.

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SILVER: The Kroger Co. — Petite Potatoes with Smoked Gouda, Onion & Thyme Artisan Seasoning Blend The smoked gouda, onion and thyme seasoning blend is the near-perfect complement for this dish.

HEALTH, BEAUTY AND MEDICAL PRODUCTS

BRONZE: Crops dbs RR Foods — Mediterranean Quinoa with Spinach, Garbanzo Beans, Red Peppers and Onions (Sold at Aldi) Indeed, an excellent medley of ingredients with a subtle but sensational flavor.

HEALTH, BEAUTY AND MEDICAL PRODUCTS GOLD: Sterling Global Products — Bob’s Insect Repellent Wipes The wipes are exceptionally useful and convenient while still reflecting the company’s commitment to sustainability, and health and wellness. The wipes are made of a 100 percent biodegradable, paraben-free material that feels soft on the skin. Available in travel-sized packs, the wipes are much more portable than spray-on insect repellent; they are ideal for outdoor events and can be used by the entire family.

For beverages that grow your category, Lassonde Pappas has got you covered.

Offering 100% juice with no additive sugars or preservatives in environmentally friendly glass packaging, Lassonde Pappas delivers high quality at a lower cost than national brands.

1 Collins Drive, Suite #200 • Carney's Point, NJ 08069 • P: 1-800-257-7019 sales.us@lassonde.com • www.lassondepappas.com

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SILVER: Vertex/Product Launchers — Vertex Toothbrush The inventor of this product spent many hours in his kitchen experimenting with different toothbrush head shapes and handle designs; the result is this ergonomically designed toothbrush with a T-shaped head, a round grip and 360-degree operation that allows the user to access hard-to-reach dental areas. BRONZE: Royal Labs Natural Cosmetics — Harris Teeter Traders French Lavender Body Lotion The delightful lavender scent of this lotion and its moisturizing properties suggest relaxing and luxuriating at a high-end spa; this is a product that can kindle the consumer’s imagination.

HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS

HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS GOLD: Freudenberg Household Products/O Cedar — ProMist Max Microfiber Spray Mop This company’s mission is to take the “work” out of “housework,” and the ProMist Max Microfiber Spray Mop delivers multifaceted convenience. First and foremost, the labor-saving tool contains a vessel for cleaning solution, which allows for more continuous mopping. The mop’s large dual-sided microfiber mop head also promotes efficiency and productivity. The mop pad can be cleaned in a washing machine,

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which helps lessen landfill waste. “Why didn’t anyone think of this before?” asked one editor. SILVER: Berkley Green — Uniquely J Fragrance Sparkling Grapefruit Scented Bathroom Cleaner (Sold at Jet.com) In the past, many consumers dreaded cleaning because of harsh chemical smells; this bathroom cleaner, which is free of formaldehyde and chlorine, has a fresh fruity scent but gets the job done. BRONZE: Berkley Green — Uniquely J Fragrance Free Wood Floor Cleaner (Sold at Jet.com) This scent-free wood floor cleaner contains plant-based ingredients and is free of harsh chemicals. It also has an easy-to-use spray trigger that boosts productivity.

MEAL SOLUTIONS

MEAL SOLUTIONS GOLD: International Delicacies Inc. — Earthly Grains Ready-to-Eat Quinoa Meal/Spicy Jalapeño & Roasted Peppers (Sold at Aldi) An innovatively packaged ready meal, this product not only boasts the complete protein of quinoa, but also is spicy and delicious. “I love this product,” said one judge. “It has a marvelous flavor and is healthful and extremely convenient.”

www.storebrands.com / May 2018 / Store Brands

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SILVER: Ungar’s Food Products, dba Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods — Earth Grown Vegan Veggie Burger (Sold at Aldi) Unlike some vegan burgers that attempt to mimic the look, taste and even the bloodiness of ground beef, this product “is proud to be what it is,” allowing the delightful flavors and appearance of the vegetables it contains to shine through.

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BRONZE: Oggi Foods Inc. — Gluten-Free Cauliflower Crust Vegans, people with gluten sensitivities and anyone else with discerning taste will relish the flavor, texture, performance and versatility of this pizza crust.

MEAT (FROZEN) GOLD: The Kroger Co — Private Selection Peri Peri Seasoned Chicken Breasts and Private Selection Shawarma Seasoned Chicken Breasts These frozen chicken breasts, which come in individual packages, are simply outstanding. The chicken cooks up moist and tender, but it’s the precise on-trend flavor seasonings that take these products to another level. The Peri Peri Seasoned Chicken Breasts feature an exotic, bursting flavor. The Shawarma Seasoned Chicken Breasts also feature a distinct, pleasing flavor.

MEAT (FROZEN)

Winning Solutions to Spice Up Your Seasoning Selection Sfifififi,fiffififi-fififififififififififififififififi fififffffffffififiwffffhfififififififfhfififififififffifi ffpfififffifffipfififffi fififffififffifffffffifffifffffffifi pfifififififffffififipfffffifffiffifififififffifffifififffifffifi fifififififi fffifififififffffififffififififififffififffffifi Sfififf,fififffifififfiffhfififfifffffifffffifififiwfffffifi fififffififififffifffifffffiffhfififfpfffifififffififffffiff,fi fififififfhfififipfifififffifififffififffifffffffifffi fffififfhfifffififffffifififififififffifififffi fififffffiffff

One of the Leading Suppliers of High Quality Edible Nuts, Dried Fruits and Confectionery Products

Snacking Nuts • Traditional Nut Mixes Fruit and Nut Mixes • Popcorn Blends Chocolate Covered and Panning Organic and Gluten Free Options

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The Spice Lab | 4000 N. Dixie Hwy | Pompano Beach, FL 33064 954-275-4478 | sales@thespicelab.com | Spices.com

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Redland Foods Corp 40 Sonwil Drive • Cheektowaga, NY, 14225 www.redlandfoods.com 905 670 8050


MEAT (JERKY)

MEAT (JERKY)

GOLD: Fusion Ranch — Simms Artisan Jerky – Spicy Garlic Pork (Sold at Aldi) This bold-tasting jerky is near-perfectly seasoned for an onslaught of taste. The pork is tender, unlike other overly chewy jerkies. It is also on trend in that it contains no preservatives.

MEAT (OTHER PROCESSED) GOLD: Godshall’s — Artisan Butcher Korean Barbecue Flavor Uncured Bacon This value-added bacon is thick and juicy and a wonderful blend of somewhat spicy and sweet flavors. We are impressed that the manufacturer provides detailed, varied cooking instructions for the product, which comes in several flavors.

MEAT (OTHER PROCESSED)

SILVER: Salm Partners — Parkview Uncured Angus Beef Franks (Sold at Aldi) The “free from” angle weighs heavily here: uncured; nitrite-free; and no fillers, artificial color and flavors. That’s all good news, especially considering this is one excellent-tasting frankfurter.

OUR BREAD HAS RISEN ABOVE THE REST We’re proud to announce that our Spinach Herb Tortilla has been awarded StoreBrand’s 2018 Editors’ Pick for Best New Product. Committed to the same timeless techniques since 1984, we prepare our wholesome products in BRC-certified facilities to bring you fresh authentic flavors made in the spirit of baking cultures from around the globe. We also make products options that are certified organic as well as gluten-free so that all our bread-loving customers can enjoy their favorite baked goods regardless of dietary needs. From pitas, tortillas, naan to bagels, we are driven by our spirit of innovation to always create delicious, quality baked goods that bring a world of tastes to the table.

For more information, visit bakestonebrothers.com or email sales@pbf.bc.ca

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BRONZE (TIE): The Kroger Co. — Private Selection Natural Hardwood Smoked All-Beef Hot Dogs Made with Beef Brisket These delicious smoked hot dogs are a premium product with a terrific taste and mouthfeel. They would be great with a wide assortment of toppings but would be equally delicious eaten plain, without condiments. Salm Partners — Parkview Select Cuts Hot Italian Style Uncured Cooked Chicken Sausage (Sold at Aldi) We like a lot of things about this chicken sausage, including that it contains no artificial colors or flavors and no by-products or fillers. But what we liked most was its biting taste.

OILS AND VINEGARS GOLD: The Maple Guild — Maple Vinegar This Vermont-produced vinegar is made with organic maple sap that is allowed to naturally ferment for months, then aged in wine barrels from Napa Valley. The maple vinegar is unfiltered and contains prebiotic and probiotic benefits. “This product is authentic, interesting and flavorful,” commented one editor who judged the entries.

OILS AND VINEGARS SILVER: La Tourangelle — Uniquely J California Single Origin Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Sold at Jet.com) Made from five different kinds of non-GMO olives from a single farm in California, including Manzanillo and Koroneiki, this tasty olive oil is cold-pressed to preserve nutrients and is an excellent value at $13.99 for a full-liter bottle. BRONZE: La Tourangelle — Uniquely J Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (Sold at Jet.com) Expeller-pressed to preserve nutrients, this unrefined coconut oil has a fresh, pure coconut flavor and can be used in many ways such as for frying coconut shrimp or adding to baked goods.

PASTA AND MACARONI

PASTA AND MACARONI GOLD: Karlin Foods — Live Gfree Gluten-Free Deluxe Rice Shells & Cheese (Sold at Aldi) The whole-grain brown rice shells make for a delectable taste. The creamy cheddar cheese sauce is the icing on the cake, so to speak. In 10 minutes, consumers can prepare an outstanding side dish or snack, thanks to this product’s easy preparation. SILVER: TreeHouse Foods — Harris Teeter Traders Sprouted & Ancient Grain Blend Multigrain Pasta With a blend of sprouted whole wheat, semolina, quinoa, millet and sorghum, this pasta provides excellent flavor with or without sauce. As the product says on its packaging, “There’s a reason why ‘ancient’ grains have survived over the centuries.” BRONZE: Karlin Foods — Simply Nature Organic Deluxe Shell Pasta with Cheese Sauce (Sold at Aldi) This creamy, cheesy tasty pasta will definitely satisfy the organic crowd.

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PET FOOD

PET FOOD

GOLD: American Nutrition — Nature’s Source Dog Food in Three Flavors: Gluten-Free Salmon; Lamb & Brown Rice; and Chicken and Brown Rice American Nutrition recognizes that contemporary “pet parents” want even higher-quality food for their pets than for themselves. The company’s dog kibble comes in customizable formulas, including the three entered in this competition, which combine visible pieces of carrots, cranberries, peas and apples with lamb, chicken or salmon. “How can dry dog food look so fresh?” asked one judge. SILVER: Mountain Country Foods — Pure Being Grain-Free Dog Treats in two flavors: Chicken and Beef & Cheddar (Sold at Aldi) “My dogs love these treats,” said an editor who brought the sample home for her terriers, noting that the grain-free treats reflect consumers’ growing concern about feeding their dogs a less-than-natural diet. BRONZE (TIE): American Nutrition — Nature’s Source Chicken, Brown Rice & Pea Cat Food Cats, which can live well into their teens, benefit from and enjoy more natural food; this healthful premium kibble is priced 10 to 15 percent less than comparable quality national brands.

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ConSup North America — Pure Being Adult Dog Food (canned) in three varieties: Salmon & Potatoes, Beef & Chicken and Chicken & Vegetable Stew (Sold at Aldi) Dogs devour these delicious and nutritious meals, while their caregivers can rest assured that the moist dog food is clean label — without artificial flavors or preservatives. Sunshine Mills — Pure Being Natural Cat Food in two flavors: Salmon, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato; and Chicken & Chickpea (Sold at Aldi) Millennials seek unique flavor combinations for themselves and favor globally inspired high-protein cuisine. Hence, this cat food resonates with young adults who want only the finest products for their pets.

SAUCES, SALSAS AND DIPS

SAUCES, SALSAS AND DIPS

GOLD: The Kroger Co. — Private Selection Chimichurri Finishing Sauce Traditionally used in Argentinian cuisine, this small-batch steak finishing sauce took judges on an international taste adventure. A thick, spicy sauce, it combines the flavors of garlic, red wine vinegar and fragrant herbs to add pizzazz and uniqueness to any cut of steak. One judge remarked on the product’s versatility. SILVER: Italian Rose Garlic Products — Italian Rose Ghost Pepper Fresh Salsa This amazing salsa delightfully blends fresh and fire-roasted tomatoes with herbs and a blast of ghost chili peppers, a combination sure to entice millennials and others with adventurous palates.

SHELF-STABLE VEGETABLES

BRONZE: Good Foods — Little Salad Bar Southwest Guacamole (Sold at Aldi) Made with fresh avocados, this flavorful vegan, gluten-free dip is not only on trend, but also absolutely delicious, the judges agreed.

SHELF-STABLE VEGETABLES

SNACKS

GOLD: Seneca Foods — Baked Beans in Four Flavors: Original, Country Style, Savory Molasses and Sweet Bourbon The baked bean isn’t exactly a prominent 21st-century innovation. But it’s the flavors of these beans — not to mention the convenient packaging and short cooking time in the microwave — that bring this product all together to make it on trend. Oh, and these beans taste good!

SNACKS GOLD: Redland Foods — Culinary Tours Kettle Cooked Peanuts Peruvian Style Chili A bold, spicy taste and gratifying crunch that will command your attention. Peanuts offer a wonderful chance for manufacturers to innovate with the right taste and this manufacturer hit it out of the park. Culinary Tours is a Topco Associations brand. 36

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SILVER: Woodstock Farms — Organic Morning Commuter Trail Mix Snacking has never been more popular, and this product offers consumers a healthy alternative with an organic combination of apple cinnamon granola oat clusters, dark chocolate coffee beans for a hint of chocolate java, sweet cranberries, dry-roasted salted peanuts and crisp banana chips. BRONZE: Redland Foods — Culinary Tours Kettle Cooked Peanuts Rendang Curry A peanut and a trendy, savory flavor. This product meets all the qualifications for a successful private brand.

SNACK BARS GOLD: The Yes Bar —The Yes Bar/Macadamia Chocolate Snack Bar Yes, we are absolutely down with The Yes Bar being successful as a private brand. We love the healthy and on-trend ingredients: nuts, seeds, dried fruit and spices. It is also low in sugar. But what we love most is the magnificent and distinguished taste.

SNACKS BARS SILVER: Nutri-Nation Functional Foods — Elevation Better for You Bar by Millville/White Chocolate Macadamia Nut (Sold at Aldi) How can something that tastes this good be better for you? Just try this snack bar. Fiber and protein never tasted so good. BRONZE: Leclerc — Fresh Direct Just Nut Bars A great example of almonds, peanuts, dark chocolate, walnuts and seasoning coming together and just clicking.

SPICES AND SEASONINGS

SPICES AND SEASONINGS

GOLD: The Spice Lab — Himalayan Pink Salt There’s that old mantra: If it tastes good, it’s probably not good for you. But Himalayan pink salt tastes better than regular salt … and is cleaner and healthier too. The Spice Lab says its Himalayan Pink Salt is handmined deep in the Himalayan Mountains from salt beds formed in the Jurassic era more than 250 million years ago. Two words: Think pink. SILVER: Gel Spice — Stonemill Lemon Pepper Salt Free Seasoning Blend (Sold at Aldi) Don’t want salt but want taste? This seasoning blend gets the job done with its subtle but impactful lemon flavor. SB

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TOTAL STORE By Carolyn Schierhorn

Creating

THE COVETABLE

How retailers can leverage limited-time and exclusive offerings to generate excitement and tap into consumers’ fear of missing out From quirky one-off items to entire commemorative or seasonal product lines, grocery retailers in North America are starting to use limited-time private brand offerings to build buzz, drive demand and establish unique experiences for customers. Very few U.S. supermarket chains do this well, however, so those that get it stand out, observes Diana Sheehan, vice president of retail and shopper insights for Kantar Consulting. San Antonio, Texas-based H-E-B is “best in class,” she says, when it comes to creating must-have items that connect emotionally with consumers. Take the limited-edition Selena tote bag that went on sale at select H-E-B stores on March 2 — an exclusive item the retailer developed in partnership with the Selena Foundation. As Sheehan, who grew up near Corpus Christi, points out, everyone in south Texas is familiar with the late Selena Quintanilla, an acclaimed

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ABOVE: H-E-B created this limited-edition cereal in honor of retiring San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan. BELOW: Metro celebrated three key birthdays with the Collection range.

Tejana singer and songwriter who is stilled referred to as the “Queen of Cumbia” by her legions of fans. “That bag — it blew up my Facebook feed the day it came out because there were so many people asking which H-E-B has the bags. They sold out,” remembers Sheehan, who lives in the Chicago area but still has family in Texas. The $2 bags, in fact, were listed on eBay for as much as $50 barely 15 minutes after they first went on sale. While some customers were undoubtedly frustrated — H-E-B’s website even crashed because of excess traffic that day — those who successfully purchased the Selena bags became part of a special, enviable group with the right to brag about their beloved acquisition on social media. Similarly, when five-time NBA champion Tim Duncan, the San Antonio Spurs’ enormously popular and philanthropic power forward, retired in 2016 after a 19-year career with the team, H-E-B came out with a limited-edition private-branded cereal called H-E-B Slam Duncan O’s. “It was a limited run; and when it was out, it was out,” Sheehan recalls. “But during that time, it drove people to the store in that perfect way — connecting to that Texas core using a private brand product.” At Monrovia, Calif.-based Trader Joe’s, where more than 80 percent of the products are private brands, limited-availability SKUs are always on sale to add novelty and excitement to an already fun shopping experience.


TOTAL STORE

For example, the Trader Joe’s Fireworks Chocolate Bar, a spicy dark chocolate bar sold at checkout as an impulse item, was a big hit in 2016 but did not remain in stores long. The retailer’s multitudinous online fans have been speculating that the new Trader Joe’s Lemon Elderflower Soda is a limited-run item that pays homage to the much-anticipated May 19 royal wedding of Prince Harry and the ever-popular “American princess” Meghan Markle, who have announced that they will have a lemon and elderflower wedding cake. Montreal-based Metro, a Canadian grocery retailer, also uses limited-time products and lines to surprise and delight customers and get them talking. Last year, for example, the company offered a limited-edition glow-in-the-dark box of private brand facial tissues. The box was designed and printed using phosphorescent ink to create a “celebratory and festive customer experience,” Metro stated in a press release, noting that the retailer was the first company in North America and possibly the first in the world to launch a tissue box with this technology. “At night, I am always turning on the light to find my tissues,” explains Marie Horodecki-

Aymes, director of design and packaging for Metro Brands, who came up with the idea. “So it occurred to me that a tissue box with light would be perfect. “People were just crazy about it in our stores,” she adds, noting that it was a useful as well as fun and decorative product with a design suggestive of champagne bubbles. Although better known for food, Metro already had a reputation for high-quality store brand facial tissues in attractive boxes, so the glow-in-the-dark box took an already popular non-food product to a higher level of enjoyment, according to HorodeckiAymes. Yet the retailer had no intention of making the product permanent in part because of the complexities and higher costs involved in producing the item, which was priced like a typical box of tissues, but also because the novelty and freshness of unconventional SKUs is what drives demand.

In Ahold Delhaize USA’s Limited Time Originals Program, the highlighted flavors rotate every six weeks.

PLAYFUL TWISTS, STANDOUT COLLECTIONS

More challenging than developing unique individual short-run products is creating an entire limited-edition line of store brand SKUs,

WHAT DO ‘MUST HAVES’ HAVE IN COMMON? RETAILING EXPERTS OFFER THESE TIPS FOR DEVELOPING LIMITED-EDITION STORE BRAND OR EXCLUSIVE PRODUCTS:

1

Connect emotionally with your customer base by celebrating a local or regional hero or celebrity or by advancing a cause dear to your core shoppers.

2

When offering seasonal or holiday-themed store brand products, build a comprehensive line that includes innovative SKUs and new twists on the familiar so customers will be tempted to buy most of the items.

3

If you’re known for freshprepared food such as subs, homemade ice cream or chicken, drive demand with limited-time flavors or varieties and encourage customers to post images of themselves enjoying these offerings on social media.

4

Remember that young adult consumers treasure experiences over stuff. Limitedtime offerings should provide a fun in-store experience as well as bragging rights and Instagramworthy moments at home for those who purchase the coveted items.

5

Make customers feel like they are part of a cool, exclusive group when they purchase and consume or use the limited-edition product.

www.storebrands.com /May 2018 / Store Brands

41


TOTAL STORE each complementing the other and reflecting a unifying theme. This is what Metro has done with Collection, which is part of its premium Irresistibles private brand. The retailer created Collection last year to commemorate three major birthdays converging in 2017: Metro turned 70, while Montreal celebrated its 375th anniversary and Canada its 150th. The Collection range consists of 18 SKUs that are mostly fun and indulgent food items such as a pie, two varieties of cookies, two types of frozen seafood hors d’oeuvres and four potato chip flavors: Steak Spice, Classic Caesar, BBQ Chicken and Montreal Smoked Meat. The line also includes new twists on maple syrup, for which Canada is famous, and vinegar, which is also very popular in the country. It’s no coincidence that the SKUs in the range are suitable for a party, celebratory brunch or other festive meal, but they also represent categories in which store brand products are star performers. “We looked at the categories that our clients prefer and looked at what kind of twist we could give to each product and each category,” Horodecki-Aymes explains. “With our Collection, we’re offering them very exceptional new products that you will only find at Metro.” Launched last fall, the Collection line is still on store shelves. Metro will be analyzing sales data to see whether any of the items will become part of Metro’s Signature range. “We will see which products our clients fell in love with,” as Horodecki-Aymes puts it. In other words, limited-edition offerings can serve as a way to pilot test potentially permanent store brand items, taking some of the risk out of the product launch process while also fostering creative experimentation. In the United States, it’s not uncommon for supermarkets to offer seasonal store brand items. But Ahold Delhaize USA stands out from the rest with its Limited Time Originals Program — a program consisting of elaborate rotating flavor-based assortments of distinct private brand SKUs. Recognized by Store Brands as the Best Store Brand Marketing Campaign of 2017, the Limited Time Originals Program is offered across all of Ahold Delhaize’s U.S. banners, from Quincy, Mass.-based Stop & Shop to Scarborough, Maine-headquartered Hannaford. The program emphasizes a different flavor (or sometimes two flavors) every six weeks throughout the 42

Store Brands / May 2018 / www.storebrands.com

year and features 30 to 60 unique store brand items in that flavor profile at a time. Highlighted flavors have included Limoncello, Salted Caramel, Toasted Coconut, Twisted Chocolate and Hot, to name just a few. The Limoncello program, for example, ran in mid-summer last year and included a wide assortment of own-brand SKUs such as Limoncello Artisan Bread, Limoncello Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Limoncello Ice Cream Sandwiches, Limoncello Risotto and, of course, Limoncello Lemonade. The Limited Time Originals Program is about differentiating Ahold Delhaize’s banners from the competition, bringing innovation to consumers, and truly trying to inspire customers with uniquely flavored items, says Juan C. De Paoli, senior vice president for private brands at Ahold Delhaize’s Retail Business Services subsidiary.

“IN ORDER TO INNOVATE AND DEVELOP DISTINCTIVE PRODUCTS, YOU HAVE TO PUSH THE ENVELOPE.” — J UA N C . D E PAO LI , R E TA I L B US I N E SS SE RV I CE S

“In order to innovate and develop distinctive products, you have to push the envelope a little bit,” De Paoli notes. “If you don’t push the envelope a little bit, the innovation won’t happen.” The company decides what flavors to showcase by looking at trends and talking to customers, adds Jac Ross, senior director for own brands product development, innovation and integrity at Ahold Delhaize’s Retail Business Services. “But it’s not about a flavor profile … it’s having that twist to it,” she says. “That’s the key thing that makes it stand out and look different from other products out there.” First tested in 2014 and rolled out officially in 2015, the Limited Time Originals Program repeats successful flavors based on popular demand but will not turn the best-selling SKUs into permanently stocked products. “There are many items our customers want us to introduce as regular items,” De Paoli says. “But this [program] is a play on scarcity marketing — the idea of having items that our customers are looking forward to getting again in the future because they are not available today.” Paoli notes that scarcity marketing also encourages customers to stock up on their limited-time favorites, whether Limoncello blueberry pie ice cream or pumpkin pasta sauce. “Customers buy cases of it at a time because they know it’s going to go away,” he says of the pasta sauce. The fear of missing out also drives consumers to try limited-time offerings, especially after reading positive reviews about these products online. Social media has a tremendous impact on limited-time products, De Paoli observes. Shoppers will rave about an item on Facebook and other channels if they like it, and other customers will buy the product. “Customers trust other customers more than they trust anybody else,” De Paoli adds. The Limited Time Originals Program, he points out, has also had a “halo effect,” spurring shoppers to purchase other private brand products at Ahold Delhaize’s U.S. stores. SB


TRENDING

The time is ripe for retailers to strengthen their own-brand fresh organic and all-natural selections By Nevenka Jevtic Retailers of private brands should scrutinize nearly every element of the supply chain for inefficiencies to reduce costs

“Pressure.” Remember that Billy Joel tune from the 1980s? Retailers of private brands are still singing it today, but they have altered it a bit. They are now singing “Margin Pressure.” Jake Gilene, vice president of retail supply chain solutions for Alpharetta, Ga.-based CHEP, says margin pressure is the biggest challenge that retailers of private brands are facing in the supply chain. “Consumer behavior is ever-changing, and retailers have to become very price sensitive to maintain loyalty, even while raw materials and other costs are rising,” Gilene says. Changes in the supply chain are also creating other challenges, Gilene adds. “Retailers are focused on building more efficient networks, accelerating product cycles and reducing inventory levels while at the same time trying to ensure that their shoppers get what they want, where and when they want it,” he says. “You can imagine the incredible complexity this creates.” Today’s consumers can also find comparable branded products in more places, both online and in different store formats, Gilene states. “So the ultimate challenge for private brand retailers

is to deliver on the price leadership expected of them, while raising the quality and availability that helps drive consumer loyalty,” he adds. Jeff Liebesman, CEO of Orlando-based iGPS Logistics, which offers supply chain services, says the race for greater efficiency and cost-saving measures speeds up as manufacturing and transportation technology continues to advance, . “To get the edge over competitors in total cost of business, retailers have to take a wider, more comprehensive view of the supply chain,” Liebesman adds. “Whereas in the past it may have been sufficient to seek out the cheapest and most barebones transportation services, in today’s market the savings from that approach just isn’t enough.” Retailers of private brands need to analyze their supply chain as a whole to identify the best and most effective practices, Liebesman stresses. “This is not to mention the market’s continued globalization, which has significantly increased competition,” he adds. “Just about every element of the supply chain needs to be scrutinized for inefficiencies and new cost-saving measures.” Randy Fields, CEO of Park City Group/ReposiTrak in Salt Lake City, Utah, says another challenge for retailers has to do with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) new authority to regulate the way foods are grown, harvested, processed and shipped. www.storebrands.com /May 2018 / Store Brands

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TRENDING Fields’ company offers solutions to retailers and suppliers to stay in compliance with FSMA. “In the United States, retailers, wholesalers and distributors are now required to maintain certain documents from every supplier, including private brands, to verify their supply chain’s compliance with the FSMA,” Fields says. “These documents include facility registrations, foreign supplier verifications, food safety plans and sanitary transportation records.”

Jeff Liebesman, CEO iGPS Logistics

44

Gilene says that streamlining operations is essential to ensuring product availability at the point of purchase and that having the products on the shelves when consumers are shopping is a critical initiative for retailers. “Retailers and suppliers are hard at work trying to improve forecasting and transportation and reduce product touches, so goods get to stores quicker and with minimal damage,” he adds. “[But] unsaleables are still a key retail challenge.” Gilene says CHEP helps customers reduce product damage while improving inbound and reverse logistics; warehouse and in-store efficiency; and environmental sustainability. “For example, CHEP is working with a group of manufacturers and retailers — as well as the Grocery Manufacturers Association — to redefine optimal unit load guidelines as product moves through the supply chain,” he explains. “Compliance in this area is critical as retailers continue to invest in automation and reduce the number of touches required to get product to consumers.” With the greater competition and demand for efficiency, retailers are looking for supply chain partners that provide thorough operational feedback and data to maximize their services and savings to make compliance as stress-free as possible, Liebesman says. “At iGPS Logistics, our pallet pooling system is modeled around these needs, he adds. “On the tracking and information side, every pallet comes embedded with a uniquely tagged RFID chip to monitor shipments for speed and inconsistencies, and prevent product theft.” Liebesman says iGPS Logistics offers plastic pallets of uniform size and weight and with fewer incongruencies so it’s easier

Store Brands / May 2018 / www.storebrands.com

to predict costs and potential issues. Fields says retailers selling private brands need to look at the latest tools that help optimize inventory positions through the use of artificial intelligence and related technologies. “These solutions are more precisely predicting consumer demand so companies can ensure the right product is on the shelf when wanted,” he adds. “Track and trace plays an important role here because it enables the most comprehensive picture of the product supply chain in action, so the proper levers can be pushed to ensure the customer is satisfied when she leaves the store or hits the checkout button online.”

Gilene says CHEP recently worked with multiple retailers to help optimize platform choices in their private brands and self-manufacturing supply chains. “One of the specific problems we help with is replenishment,” he adds. “The CHEP carbon-neutral half pallet meets retailers’ promotional and replenishment needs at the store level. We are working with a large national retailer now to pilot in-shelf replenishment using the CHEP half pallet on its private label products in the baking category. Initial results show the CHEP carbonneutral half pallet is driving labor savings at the store level while improving on-shelf availability and sales.” Liebesman says the benefits of plastic pallets are viewed positively not just by manufacturers looking to improve efficiencies and food safety, but also increasingly by retailers and foodservice providers that see the plastic pallet’s higher quality, greater consistency and lighter weight as creating new opportunities to streamline their product flow and reduce cost. “The introduction of plastic pallets into the retailers’ supply chain reduces their need to constantly clean up the never-ending accumulations of wood debris and loose nails that are unavoidable with wood pallets across the floors of both warehouses and retail stores,” he says. “The lighter iGPS pallet reduces deadweight compared to heavier wood pallets for product transfers between depots and retail stores. Fields says Park City Group/ReposiTrak helped one of the county’s leading supermarket cooperatives to comply with FSMA and with implementation of an automated supplier approval program for all food and non-food suppliers, especially private brands, to collect more corporate and food safety documentation. “The coop now has an accurate list of suppliers, can more easily qualify new suppliers, and has increased the breadth of documents required to reduce risk on behalf of its retailer members,,” he says. “Supplier compliance is now improving every month and the company expects to near 100 percent within 12 months.” SB


FOCUS ON FRESH

Solving the

Six o’clock scramble

Updated flavor profiles, convenient packaging and prominent positioning are helping retailers differentiate their value-added meats and poultry offerings By Nevenka Jevtic

Dinnertime can be the most stressful time of the day. When the six o’clock scramble rolls around, most of us could use some help getting a healthy meal on the table quickly. Sure, you could go through the trouble of meal planning for the week or simply heat and serve something from the freezer. But today’s consumers want fresh and easy meal preparation options that serve up plenty of protein and flavor. Value-added meat and poultry items are fast becoming the new go-to dinner solution. These fresh offerings have at least one step of further preparation and include pre-marinated, pre-cut or pre-seasoned items such as meatloaf, meatballs, kabobs and chicken wings. Their convenience and ease of preparation is striking a chord with retailers as well. “Value-added meat dollar sales growth is currently outpacing the total fresh meat department,” says Jonna Parker, principal for Fresh Center of Excellence at market research firm IRI in Chicago. Value-added meat is up 2.5 percent while the fresh meat department is only up 1.1 percent for the latest 52 weeks ending March 26 versus the prior year, according to IRI point-of-sale data. Despite the faster sales growth, retailers can still maximize the opportunities and benefits of an expanded value-added meats and poultry presence within the fresh department. 46

Store Brands / May 2018 / www.storebrands.com

“From a sales perspective, value-added meat items tend to have higher consumption frequency as well as higher household penetration, so they can help drive sales in the department,” says Jill Tomeny, senior category manager of category solutions for Daymon, a retail services firm in Stamford, Conn., In fact, value-added meat and poultry can help support private brand solutions that cross and connect the entire store. “For example, a limited-time only program focused on maple flavor could encompass marinated meats, grocery BBQ sauces, bakery items and prepared foods,” Tomeny says. The result is a destination experience for shoppers built on signature private brand value-added items.

KEEP THEM COMING BACK

To be a regular dinnertime hero, private brands retailers will need to make sure they are hitting the mark on a few important targets, starting with pricing. “Price remains important to consumers, both per pound and total package price,” Parker says. “But the meat department must also offer high quality both in how it looks and how it tastes at home.” Grant Lorsung, president of Buena Park, Calif.based True Fresh HPP, which offers high pressure processing, agrees and says, “Having great quality,


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FOCUS ON FRESH exceptional service and a range of healthy and fresh options make consumers come back time and time again. Additionally, high-end products with chef-type options make return customers not only happy, but they spread the word to everyone they know.” And while freshness and quality of an overall private brand program will remain a consumer priority, a positive shopping experience is equally as important. “Consumers want clean, well-stocked departments along with knowledgeable, friendly service,” Tomeny says. “They’re looking for a wide variety of package sizes and cuts, as well as a selection of specialty meats having attributes such as grass-fed, antibiotic-free or organic.” Variety is a very important feature within valueadded meats and poultry. The right assortment will differentiate a retailer’s offerings and retain consumer interest. “Consumers are looking for a personalized experience and will frequent stores that have products — including fresh meat — matching their lifestyle and taste preferences,” Parker explains. For example, IRI Fresh Shopping Trends research shows consumers — especially millennials and households with children — seek both transparency in ingredients and convenient meals. “Just having the hottest prices or best freezerstocking sales is not enough,” Parker adds. “Helping them have an easy and delightful experience in-store and at home is critical.”

MOVING MORE PRODUCT

A few cuts of meat and poultry remain popular, namely stir fry/fajita chicken strips, corned beef, marinated pork loins, and cooked or smoked chicken leg quarters.

TAKEAWAYS • Value-added meat and poultry can help support private brand solutions that cross and connect the entire store. • Keep consumers coming back for more by offering great quality, exceptional service and a range of healthy and fresh options. • Fresh meats with special attribute claims like natural, local or antibiotic-free are growing in demand, so retailers will need to have a visible presence in these items. 48

Store Brands / May 2018 / www.storebrands.com

But the latest flavors to spark consumer interest showcase the influence of indulgence and hot or spicy tastes. “For both chicken and pork, barbeque/mesquite remain on top with Asian, Hispanic, American South and Italian flavor influences all appearing in the top 10 [flavors],” Parker says. When value-added meats and poultry offerings are changed up, consumers not only notice but they also appreciate the flavor variety. Customers, says Lorsung, always enjoy it when an item is modified a bit, such as increasing the spiciness a little or rotating the center of the plate product, from shish kabobs stuffed and topped with elegant compound butters to “a cross section of fresh-cut proteins.” Global barbecue, Latin and Asian flair, spicy or alcohol-inspired profiles are all trending, according to Daymon’s Tomeny. “Inspiration for value-added meat products that move can come from many places, including the prepared meals section of stores as well as top food service menu trends,” Parker notes. Just look at the explosion of meal kits. Their popularity shows that many consumers want to take active roles in cooking but need ideas and time savers — something to spark their creativity and taste buds. “Value-added meat can be a way to help [consumers] connect with that experience in the store,” Parker adds.

GETTING THE WORD OUT

When it comes to the overall meat and poultry category, even the most seasoned consumer occasionally needs some guidance or education about the products they purchase. And for retailers it is a can’t-miss opportunity to connect with their shoppers. “Consumers are looking for nutritional guidance when shopping for meat, as well as direction as to what cuts are best for specific cooking techniques,” Tomeny says. “Clear and complete information in this area helps with purchase decision.” Lorsung highlights the importance of the retailer’s own employees to be that educational resource. “In today’s market, the meat manager and butchers are masters of options, from training and educating to packaging and presenting to the consumer in a way that shows the advantages of buying a value-added item from the meat counter,” he says. Labeling is also crucial, he adds. Food safety awareness of all allergens and ingredients must be clear on the package. “On value-added meats, perhaps the most important thing to communicate is freshness and quality,” Tomeny stresses. “Understanding how, when and where value-


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FOCUS ON FRESH added items are prepared can reinforce the message.” From a packaging perspective, products sealed to prevent any potential leaks is essential. Other important packaging attributes include resealable items and packaging materials that can go right into the freezer.

PROMINENT POSITIONING

Although nearly all retailers offer some kind of valueadded meats and/or poultry items, some are still missing the mark when it comes to positioning these items as part of a total meal solutions program. “Help customers streamline meal planning, shopping and meal preparation using value-added meats as pantry items,” Tomeny advises. “Provide weekly rotating suggestions to help customers explore the range of your product line.” IRI’s Parker notes that retailers are experimenting with positioning value-added meat products in prime traffic locations versus the meat department. These alternative locations include near the produce case for grill-ready cuts in the summer, for example. “While these tests are difficult to measure in pointof-sale data, they do make sense to make the shopping journey easier for shoppers, and ultimately, grab

incremental sales,” she says. Offering up favorite flavors or formats that have local inspiration or appeal is one way to target a specific regional customer base. “Make sure you’re addressing the right household size in your portioning, addressing singles or large families where appropriate,” Tomeny says. “Seasonal rotation can also differentiate and create demand for specialty items.” Fresh meats with special attribute claims like natural, local or antibiotic-free are growing in demand, so retailers will need to have a visible presence in these items, including within value-added segments as well. “For example, offering marinated organic meats or antibiotic-free, ready-to-cook items adds to a product’s appeal and further differentiates your department,” Tomeny suggests. Although “local” is not a regulated claim and is hard to define, consumers remain interested in the stories behind the food at the store. “Being transparent about when local sourcing is available is another way to differentiate your store,” Parker says. SB Jevtic is a freelance writer from Schaumburg, Ill.

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PACKAGING PACKAGING

& DEPENDABLE

Flexible packaging offers many advantages, from easy customization and superb printability to shelf-life extension and sustainability By Carolyn Schierhorn

Whether a beautifully printed and designed stand-up pouch for premium private brand chocolates or a transparent bag showing off a colorful blend of dried fruit and nuts, flexible packaging has many advantages in merchandising store brand items. “Flexible packaging adds value to food and non-food products alike,” states the Annapolis, Md.-based Flexible Packaging Association (FPA) on its website. One key benefit is consumer convenience. Flexible packaging is lightweight, making products less burdensome to carry than canned goods or liquids in glass containers, and the packaging is easier to open and reseal than cans, boxes or other rigid packaging. Special features can be added such as zippers (including child-resistant zippers), Velcro closures, handles, spouts, vents and oven cook-in capability, points out Rebecca Casey, senior director of marketing for TC Transcontinental Packaging in Lenexa, Kan.

Flexible packaging also takes up less space for the consumer, adds Salvatore Pellingra, vice president of global application and innovation development for Cincinnati-based ProAmpac. Most important, flexible packaging is customizable and can help retailers differentiate their private brands from the competition. “Brand owners and retailers can have any shape or size to fit their product or needs,” Casey says, noting that high-definition flexographic printing and special coatings can help private brands stand out on the shelf. Retrogravure printing, which costs more, is also an option for premium lines and product runs that are large enough to minimize the added cost per bag, adds Aaron Funke, creative director at the Chicago office of Equator Design, a United Kingdombased packaging design and branding agency. “You can get detailed gradations in color as well as special finishes on those bags,” he notes. Determining the format, features and graphics for product packaging demands complex decisionwww.storebrands.com /May 2018 / Store Brands

51


FIVE

PACKAGING making, requiring collaboration throughout the supply chain and during each phase of the process. “At ProAmpac, we partner and collaborate with raw material suppliers, packaging machine companies and co-suppliers providing the latest technologies to differentiate brands,” Pellingra says. Casey notes that TC Transcontinental Packaging “works directly with brands in the early stages of design and pre-press to ensure their graphics align with their messaging and express their product quality.” “With the number of products continually expanding while shelf space shrinks and with shoppers making up their minds in just a few seconds, private brands need the right package design and graphics to give their brands the crucial visibility,” she adds.

PRESERVING FRESHNESS, PROVIDING VERSATILITY

Flexible packaging extends the shelf life and freshness of food, both in the store and at home after a product is opened. The packaging can protect the product by incorporating barrier materials for moisture,

FAVORABLE FEATURES OF FLEXIBLE

PACKAGING

The Flexible Packaging Association points to these advantages of flexible packaging: 1 Lightweight and easy to open, carry, store and reseal. 2 Extends the shelf life of many products. 3 Requires less energy to manufacture and transport, generates less greenhouse gas emissions on its way to market, and results in less consumer waste being sent to landfills. 4 Allows for superb graphics that stand out, enhancing a product’s shelf appeal. 5 So versatile that it can be used for many product categories, from beverages to snacks to pet food.

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PACKAGING oxygen and contamination — with each package tailored to meet the customer’s design and functional requirements, Casey explains. “A great example is our new Oven N Done product. This product provides a custom fresh meal solution that is convenient and hassle-free for consumers, using packaging innovation for the microwave or oven.” ProAmpac also has developed several packaging innovations that address consumers’ demand for freshness, convenience and transparency as well their penchant for snacking. “ProVue Shield — an economical moisture, oxygen and aroma barrier laminate — provides clarity for viewing the product combined with a barrier to keep snacks fresh,” Pellingra says. The company has also developed Pro LocknPeel, which allows a package to peel open easily, “ending consumer frustration getting into packages,” as Pellingra puts it, “but has a very high burst strength that provides for safe distribution.” Recently commercialized for salty snack applications, ProAmpac’s E-Z SnackPak is the only pouch that converts into a convenient tray after opening, according to Pellingra.

“We have also developed a surface treatment that provides flexible packaging with a ‘paper feel and look,’ ” he adds. “This is a step beyond registered matte coatings where a consumer can actually feel the graphic treatment on the packaging.”

APPLICATIONS ON THE RISE

Frequently used for shelf-stable snacks and frozen food, flexible packaging is making gains in several other product categories. “There is high growth in liquid applications replacing rigid [containers], as flexible packaging can often reduce packaging weight significantly,” Pellingra says. Another strong growth area is the pet aisle, even for wet dog and cat food. “Retort pouches provide easy opening and minimal packaging versus cans for shelf-stable wet products,” Pellingra notes. For dry pet food, “side-gusseted bags provide improved shelf-cube utilization and excellent billboards, and woven bags provide excellent toughness and minimize breakage for large dry pet food bags,” he adds. Designed for the pet category, ProAmpac’s Pro-Dura Premium bags are heavy-duty woven polypropylene bags with a unique surface laminate that “hides the weave,” creating a resilient high-quality billboard for large-format bags, Pellingra says.

LIFE-CYCLE SUSTAINABILITY

Plastic flexible packaging is often recyclable; but when it’s not, that can be a negative from a sustainability standpoint, Funke observes. In some municipalities, recyclers may only accept certain plastic substrates. However, there is much more to environmental sustainability than post-consumer recyclability. “In some cases you’re eliminating waste with flexible packaging,” Funke explains. “If you have a fully sealed plastic bag and you’re able to keep the product fresh in that one bag, you reduce waste by not having to put a plastic bag inside of a box because you are eliminating one of the pieces of that package.” To really appreciate the sustainability benefits of flexible packaging, it’s important to consider the substrate’s entire life cycle, according to the FPA. “Innovation and technology have enabled flexible packaging manufacturers to use fewer natural resources in the creation of their packaging, and improvements in production processes have reduced water and energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and volatile organic compounds,” the organization states. “Even more [significant], lighter-weight flexible packaging results in less transportation-related energy and fossil fuel consumption and environmental pollution.” Flexible packaging takes up much less space than rigid containers when empty, reducing the costs and carbon footprint involved in shipping the packaging to a filling location, Pellingra explains. “Of all packaging materials,” he observes, “flexible packaging takes up the least space at the start of life and the end of life.” SB 54

Store Brands / May 2018 / www.storebrands.com


CATEGORY INTELLIGENCE COFFEE AND TEA

DRIVING DISTINCTION

DO offer products with better-for-you ingredients, more functional benefits and a focus on more sustainable and transparent products.

Coffee can be as mundane as a two-hour college lecture. The same for tea. But let’s get one thing straight: In this new era of private brands — where retailers are being challenged to take their own brands to the next level through differentiation and exclusivity — these two beverage staples can’t afford to be humdrum. The good news for retailers is that manufacturers of private-branded coffee and tea products understand this and want to help retailers develop and offer the most distinctive own-brand coffee and tea products in town. Just ask Clay Dockery, division vice president of corporate brands for Suffolk, Va.-based Massimo Zanetti Beverage U.S.A., which manufactures coffee products for private brands. “There are numerous opportunities for differentiating on the basis of origin-based coffees,” Dockery adds. “We are seeing an increase in calling out specific growing regions within countries such as Costa Rica Terrazu or Brazil Bahia.” There are also opportunities to drive differentiated products within the flavored segment — inclusive of but not limited to seasonal varieties, Dockery notes. Retailers can also offer differentiation through package size, he adds. But Dockery points out that one of the most important elements of differentiation is through marketing. “In the private brand industry, your packaging is the landscape upon which you can share any information about the product you wish,” he

Don’t offer coffee and tea products that are only differentiated by price.

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says. “Retailers that have moved to certified coffee with logo treatment on the primary display panel and romance copy on the back or side panels are doing extremely well in gaining share in the category.” John Harper Crandall, vice president of sales for Johns Creek, Ga.-based tea provider Amelia Bay, agrees, noting that the key to successfully attain exclusivity and differentiation for private brands is through a great marketing campaign that highlights the authentic claims that manufacturers choose to target. “For many of our grocery store and retail chain customers, private label beverages represent some of the best-selling products in store,” he adds. Shannon Clayton, senior director of marketing/ beverage division for Oak Brook, Ill.-based TreeHouse Foods, says private brands offer the perfect vehicle for retailers to provide “the much sought-after point of difference” in the coffee and tea category, especially considering the category is a destination category where consumers have an emotional connection to products. “[Coffee and tea] are growing in the premium end of their segments as well as the ready-to-drink (RTD) format,” Clayton says. “Retailers with a premium tier in their private brand offering are best suited to capitalize on [this].” Kirby J. Harris, chief commercial officer of Dakota, Ill.-based Berner Food & Beverage, believes the rapid change and growth in the coffee and tea category is driving challenges for suppliers to be in a position to drive exclusivity and differentiation. But Harris believes retailers are in the “infancy stage” of tapping the category when it comes to differentiation and exclusivity. “They are highly aware of the opportunity but are playing catch up versus national brands,” he adds. “Similar to other categories, they are starting with an approach to national brand match in terms of quality while driving value for the consumer.” Citing research from market researcher The Hartman Group, Jerry Gilbert, vice president of retail sales/North America for Mississauga, Ontario-based Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee, notes that 93 percent of consumers shopped between two and 10 retail channels for groceries in a recent 30-day period, and only 7 percent of them were loyal to one retailer. “Differentiation is key to keeping loyal customers in the store and attracting new shoppers, but too


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CATEGORY INTELLIGENCE COFFEE AND TEA often private label products follow leading brands and are differentiated only by price,” Gilbert says. “Aligning unique blends [of coffee and tea] and attributes with benefits that consumers are seeking is essential in a differentiated private label program. It’s important to find the white space by understanding consumers’ needs and offering products that are not widely available.” Gilbert says some retailers strive for differentiation and exclusivity more than others. But, he stresses, this doesn’t make one retailer better than the other because it comes down to the role of the category and the role of the format. “Some retailers have set up a format to be a destination category/format by offering unique SKUs and typically a larger assortment,” he adds.

Total Coffee Private Brands

All Brands

Dollar Sales (in millions)

$1,379.7

$9,634.5

Change vs. Year Ago

+15.8%

+1.6%

Dollar Share

14.9%

100%

Unit Sales (in millions)

212.1

1,326.7

Change vs. Year Ago

+13.1%

-0.3%

Avg. Price Per Unit

$6.75

$7.26

Private Brands

All Brands

Dollar Sales (in millions)

$819.9

$4,031.0

Change vs. Year Ago

+19.49%

+3.15%

Dollar Share

20.34%

100%

Unit Sales (in millions)

98.5

432.7

Change vs. Year Ago

+16.03%

+1.9%

Avg. Price Per Unit

$8.32

$9.32

Private Brands

All Brands

Dollar Sales (in millions)

$91.9

$1,289.3

Change vs. Year Ago

+4.9%

-.40%

Dollar Share

7.1%

100%

Unit Sales (in millions)

38.8

376.0

Change vs. Year Ago

+0.8%

-1.6%

Avg. Price Per Unit

$2.37

$3.43

Single-cup Coffee

Total Tea

Source: InfoScan Reviews, IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm. Total U.S. multioutlet (grocery, drug, mass market, military and select club and dollar retailers) for the 52 weeks ending Feb. 25, 2018.

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“Whereas other retailers set up their category or format to be a routine purchase where their assortment is traditional in nature and follows a national brand equivalent aspect.” Dockery notes there has been tremendous growth in the RTD segment, but the most critical factor that retailers must recognize is that this revenue is incremental and not stealing dollars from other category segments. “As the category grows, so must the amount of space allocated so as to prevent rampant out of stocks,” he adds. “We continue to see macro trends that are indicative of future growth of valueadded ingredients, but that has yet to develop to a meaningful level. Flavors are a significant trend with opportunities to ‘localize’ your mix.” Clayton believes private brands are underdeveloped in the RTD segment, which equates to opportunity for retailers. “Iced coffee, cold brew and tea with botanicals are a few areas to explore,” she adds. There is room for innovation in coffee and tea through introducing better-for-you ingredients, different ethnic flavors, more functional benefits and a focus on more sustainable and transparent products, Clayton adds. Organic and clean ingredients continue to be a driver of customer requirements, Kirby says. “In addition, customers keep challenging the category to drive suppliers to reduce caloric and sugar volumes while increasing protein content,” he notes. Gilbert says consumers want to know that their coffee and tea is made of fresh ingredients and is less processed. They also want transparency in the origin of the product and the production process. “It’s important to communicate what is in the product and how the products are made,” he adds, noting that descriptors such as “100 percent single-origin,” “organic” and “free-from” will help communicate the authenticity of the product, while descriptions such as “freshly roasted,” “roasted on date” or “small batch” will create transparency in the production process. “Also, using blend names that include native regional flavors or other geographic descriptions will help consumers connect with the products on a more local level,” Gilbert says. Clayton expects to see more “craftsmanship” in the category, which could mean additional smaller niche brands. “As far as private brands, retailers could consider a more niche label that competes better against the brands in this space,” she adds. “Hy-Vee has started doing this with their private brand snacks (Peaceful Piranha) and a few other categories.” As a single-ingredient finished product,


CATEGORY INTELLIGENCE COFFEE AND TEA craftsmanship is critical, Dockery stresses. “Coffee is a very personal product, and consistency of flavor profile in every cup brewed is an absolute necessity,” he adds. “In a nutshell, coffee is both science and art in the roasting process. For packaging, it is critically important to ensure that the packaging helps facilitate the shopping experience. Clearly referencing whether the product is whole bean or ground in a premium bag and ensuring that roast level is called out in all segments is a must have to delight shoppers.” Coffee packaging with an artisan, hand-crafted feel has been a growing trend since the beginning of the Third Wave coffee movement, says Tori Gay, marketing manager for the Westrock Coffee Co., based in North Little Rock, Ark. According to the National Coffee Association (NCA), Gay says the Third Wave began in the 1990s when consumers first became interested in the character of coffee itself: where it’s from, how it’s created, who trades it, who roasts it, and how it’s brewed. More than 20 years later, the NCA says the Third Wave is continuing and that commercial scale coffee roasters have responded to the movement through altering their packaging on retail shelves to meet

the growing demand for a more artisan approach to everyday coffee consumption. According to Gay, design trends that reinforce a craftsmanship approach to coffee packaging include: • Custom lettering to mimic the feel of handprepared coffee packages. • Bold simplicity to remove the clutter from the packaging design to point out more unique features of the coffee itself such as direct trade, organic and shade grown. • Eco-friendly packaging to provide an opportunity for a personal statement by the roaster, illuminating social values and feeling more “custom.” Gilbert notes the importance of retailers and suppliers working together to innovate “at every level from production techniques at origin and roasting to new blends, flavors and packaging material.” “It’s important for the retailer and manufacturer to deliver new products that are relevant for retailers’ private label programs and to resonate with shoppers’ needs,” he says. SB Aylward, editor-in-chief of Store Brands, can be reached at laylward@ensembleiq.com

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59


CATEGORY INTELLIGENCE BAKED GOODS AND DESSERTS

BECOME A SAVORY STANDOUT Wellness-minded shoppers are having an increasingly powerful impact on the merchandising of baked goods and desserts. While many consumers still view most products as indulgence items, demand for healthier selections is on the upswing with such claims as natural, organic, low fat and low sugar becoming stronger sales triggers. Indeed, more shoppers are eschewing baked goods and desserts that are highly processed and contain artificial ingredients and flavors, and embracing selections with shorter ingredient lists and fewer preservatives, notes Euromonitor International Inc., a Chicago-based market research firm. Interest in selections with artificial, processed and sugary elements will further wane as wellness concerns become more prevalent, and additional manufacturers launch healthy and portable snacking products “that will likely serve to stem sales of indulgent cakes and pastries,” Euromonitor states in its December 2017 “Baked Goods in the US” report. “Desserts are more of an indulgence, but they can still have better-for-you elements, and many younger consumers are seeking those qualities,” adds Anne Mills, senior manager of consumer insights for Technomic Inc., a Chicago-based food

DO offer healthier selections with such claims as natural, organic, low fat and low sugar.

Don’t forget to offer baked goods and desserts as snacking items. 60

Store Brands / May 2018 / www.storebrands.com

industry research and consulting firm. “The brands that adapt to that will be more successful.” In a 2017 Technomic consumer survey, 29 percent of respondents, and 37 percent of people ages 18 to 34, stated that they are eating healthier desserts more often than two years earlier, and 26 percent indicated that they are more willing to try dairy-free desserts. Because many consumers also perceive baked goods and desserts with healthier elements to be higher quality, retailers are able to charge more for such options, Mills states. It is important, however, for merchandisers to justify higher prices by listing the attributes on packages, she says, and to ensure that products with cleaner labels still are flavorful. Many shoppers, for instance, perceive items that are low in calories, fat and sugar as being less tasty, Mills notes.

HOW TO STEM THE TIDE

Despite the influx of healthier alternatives including products with ancient grains, fruits and plant-based ingredients, merchandisers still face the challenge of sustaining category sales as economic and wellness concerns are causing many shoppers to reduce their spending, says Maeve Webster, president of Menu Matters, an Arlington, Vt.-based food industry consulting firm. “Consumers and retailers aren’t focusing nearly as much on baked goods and desserts as in other years,” she notes. Indeed, healthy intentions and concerns about allergies, sugar, fat and cholesterol are contributing to dessert avoidance, notes Kyle Chamberlin, project manager at Datassential, a Chicago-based food research firm. The top attributes for persons considering desserts are taste, freshness, value and indulgence, he says, while low sugar, low calorie and low fat are less-persuasive qualities. In a 2016 Datassential consumer survey, respondents most often listed ice cream as their favorite dessert, followed by cheesecake, cake or cupcakes, pies and cobblers, and brownies. Chamberlin recommends that merchandisers stress products’ clean labels and freshness, and use indulgent descriptors such as “rich,” “creamy,” “fluffy” and “moist” in their promotional messaging. Such elements


CATEGORY INTELLIGENCE BAKED GOODS AND DESSERTS can be particularly compelling to consumers who are hesitant to sacrifice taste or satisfaction, he notes. Yet, marketers still face the conundrum of having to promote baked goods and desserts without creating the perception that they are encouraging the consumption of unhealthy foods, particularly by children, Webster says. “Offering promotions that play to health and wellness in combination with the marketing of indulgent products can be helpful,” she states, “as well as creating deals that incorporate baked goods and desserts with lunch or dinner selections.” Retailers, meanwhile, can generate more interest in store brands by selling fresh, prepared selections at the in-store bakery, which, as a perimeter department, attracts considerably more traffic than the center

store, says Jan Marien, owner of Belleatalia LLC, a Dallas-based bakery product manufacturer. By offering selections with unique flavor combinations in the bakery, merchandisers can strongly differentiate the items from other baked goods in the store, adds Mintel, a global market research firm, in its June 2017 “In-Store Bakeries-US” report. “Even if such products have relatively familiar flavors, an in-store bakery variety affords the product a sense of artisan quality, and such a presentation may well encourage consumers to try flavors or flavor combinations they had not previously considered,” Mintel states. Many consumers also have fewer health expectations when shopping the in-store bakery, Mintel notes, stating that they are “much more interested in the more-indulgent, freshly baked and flavorful options that in-store bakeries can provide. Retailers capitalizing on these expectations can truly set themselves apart from their competition.” The merchandising of private brands at in-store bakeries, however, can create operational challenges, Marien says, including the need to sell products

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CATEGORY INTELLIGENCE BAKED GOODS AND DESSERTS

Refrigerated Pudding/Mousse/Gelatin/Parfaits Private Brands

All Brands

Dollar Sales (in millions)

$77.9

$692.2

Change vs. Year Ago

+29.8%

+1.7%

Dollar Share

11.3%

100%

Unit Sales (in millions)

85.5

363.0

Change vs. Year Ago

+83.8%

+11.1%

Avg. Price Per Unit

$0.91

$1.91

Frozen Cheesecakes Private Brands

All Brands

Dollar Sales (in millions)

$44.3

$127.3

Change vs. Year Ago

-8.0%

+0.9%

Dollar Share

34.8%

100%

Unit Sales (in millions)

3.8

18.2

Change vs. Year Ago

-11.7%

-2.2%

Avg. Price Per Unit

$11.51

$6.99

Frozen Sweet Goods (No Cheesecakes) Private Brands

All Brands

Dollar Sales (in millions)

$31.2

$224.0

Change vs. Year Ago

-3.1%

-4.8%

Dollar Share

13.9%

100%

Unit Sales (in millions)

4.7

51.0

Change vs. Year Ago

-6.8%

-7.6%

Avg. Price Per Unit

$6.58

$4.39

Private Brands

All Brands

Dollar Sales (in millions)

$87.8

$315.0

Change vs. Year Ago

+3.5%

-2.6%

Dollar Share

27.9%

100%

Unit Sales (in millions)

64.9

187.0

Change vs. Year Ago

+6.0%

-6.6%

Avg. Price Per Unit

$1.35

$1.68

Frozen Whip Toppings

Source: InfoScan Reviews, IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm. Total U.S. supermarkets, drugstores, mass market retailers, military commissaries and select club and dollar retail chains for the 52 weeks ending Feb. 25, 2018.

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within a day or two in order to avoid spoilage. Though baked goods and desserts with cleaner labels and fewer preservatives also typically have shorter shelf lives, such items remain appealing to millennials and other younger shoppers, he states. “Such claims as natural, GMO free, Kosher and organic are attractive because they offer added value, even if those elements are not the consumer’s main priority for choosing a product,” Marien says. “Every attribute helps.”

NEVER FORGET THE FLAVOR

In addition to offering fresh store brands at in-store bakeries, private brand differentiators can include products in different shapes and sizes and make available single-serve selections, which are attractive to younger shoppers who live alone and often visit stores daily to purchase fresh items, Marien says. He agrees that it also is crucial that all baked goods and desserts are flavorful, regardless of the wellness attributes. “You can sell products to a consumer once because of the health claims,” Marien says. “But if the selections do not taste good, there will not be additional purchases.” Indeed, while more shoppers are seeking clean ingredient labels, taste will always be paramount, adds Mike Pinkowski, president and owner of SatisPie LLC, a Rochester, N.Y.-based frozen pie supplier. “Dessert is an indulgence, so consumers are looking not only at what they eat but the satisfaction associated with their indulgence,” he notes. Private brand merchandisers can further drive sales by pricing selections lower than the national brands, and marketing the optimal array of store brands and national brands, he says. Retailers can gauge the popularity of specific private brands, Pinkowski states, by initially merchandising just one or two selections in a category. Changing consumer dining habits, meanwhile, also is helping to strengthen interest in baked goods and desserts, Mills says, as more shoppers are consuming the items throughout the day and not just with larger meals. “This aligns with the rise of snacking and increased likelihood of consumers to eat whatever and whenever,” she states. It also creates opportunities for merchandisers to identify and respond to specific snacking motivators and product needs by offering items in the pertinent size and packaging, and with the proper shelf life and health attributes, Chamberlin notes. SB Mitchell is a freelance writer from Wilmette, Ill.


CATEGORY INTELLIGENCE BREAD/DOUGH/CRUSTS

SOMETHING TO CHEW ON

DO offer flavorful breads with hearty textures featuring ancient grains, flax and chia seeds, sprouted grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables.

66

Bread trends emanate from the bakeries, and the bakeries keep raising the bar, reports global market research firm Packaged Facts. New products emphasize “more” — as in more nutrition, more flavor and more indulgence, according to the Rockville, Md.-based company’s March report, “U.S. Food Market Outlook, 2018.” Manufacturers are adding nutrition, flavor and hearty textures to breads with ancient grains like quinoa, amaranth, sorghum and buckwheat; flax and chia seeds; sprouted grains; nuts; fruits and vegetables. Whole grain offerings are becoming mainstream. More sweet and indulgent breads are being introduced. Artisan, gluten-free, organic, non-GMO and clean-label, free-from artificial ingredient bread offerings are still expanding. In addition, consumers are showing an increasing preference for bakery breads over packaged breads, Packaged Facts states. Bakery products continue to be one of the highest performing categories for ancient grain use, notes Don Trouba, senior director of go-to-market for specialty products at Denver-based Ardent Mills. “Varied grains bring distinct flavors, textures and colors to the category and bring new interest to conventional loaves and sandwich breads,” Trouba says. “Consumers also have a range of dietary concerns and preferences when it comes to healthful eating, and these demands are showing up in the bread category. Nutrient density, satiety, high protein and high fiber are big priorities right now.” Ardent Mills’ portfolio includes gluten-free grains, high-fiber grains, ancient and heirloom grains and organic options.

Store Brands / May 2018 / www.storebrands.com

Don’t underestimate indulgence in the category such as sweet and indulgent breads.

FIGHTING DECLINES

Retail sales of fresh bread reached $16.2 billion in 2017, and Packaged Facts projects sales of $17 billion by 2022. However, between 2012 and 2017, volume sales of fresh bread declined annually during the period by nearly 1 percent, the research firm reports. Nearly all Americans eat bread, but they are consuming less, and Packaged Facts predicts continued volume decline. Consumption is thwarted by health and diet concerns, changing eating patterns and ethnic influences, the report concludes. Fresher, less-processed bread products are driving sales, particularly rolls, croissants, sweet breads and buns (especially thin and flat buns), the report says. Healthier, more nutritious products with clean labels and all-natural ingredients are expected to drive market gains; premium prices will help spur dollar gains; and rolls and buns will continue to outpace the total market, according to Packaged Facts. To succeed in this increasingly competitive market, Packaged Facts advises retailers to focus on clean-label, better-for-you breads. Among the options the report suggests: • incorporate fruits, vegetables and even probiotic cultures to deliver a healthier product more packed with nutrition; • diversify grain offerings; • offer grain-free breads as an option for consumers following a “Paleo” diet; • procure raw materials from local producers; • offer artisan-quality products; • and merchandise bread products in the perimeter of the store, around the in-house bakery, deli, produce and meat departments so they can benefit from the “health halo” consumers associate with fresh foods.

BALANCING HEALTH AND COMFORT

Increasingly, better-informed consumers are going beyond the basics of health and nutrition, Trouba says. For example, consumers are becoming more aware of fiber’s importance in terms of gut health, satiety and sustained energy. Scientific evidence and Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved health claims link diets rich in fibercontaining grain products to the reduction in


Total Fresh Bread and Rolls chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer, Trouba notes. “Approved claims like this can be used on bread packaging to help consumers understand fiber’s benefits,” he explains. “Other benefits of fiber in intact forms include adding flavor, textural or culinary appeal. For example, we offer a number of colored barleys — purple, blue and black — that provide a unique burst of color in traditionally beige-colored foods.” At the other end of the spectrum, indulgent seasonal loaves have become increasingly popular, points out Jerome Davis, technical solutions analyst at Innovative Bakery (IBR), a division of Ardent Mills in Tualatin, Ore. “Familiar and comforting flavors like pumpkin spice bread and apple strudel bread are popular in the fall,” he says. “Peach cobbler and lemon crème are popular in spring and summer.” “New” ingredients and formats continue to emerge in the category, and older ingredients are coming back into fashion, Davis observes. “Right now, we are working with a quinoa crisp and some other puffed grains,” he says. “They add distinctive aromas, textures and flavors to the crust.” SB

Private Brands

All Brands

Dollar Sales (in millions)

$3,252.7

$13,113.3

Change vs. Year Ago

-1.1%

+0.3%

Dollar Share

24.8%

100%

Unit Sales (in millions)

2,073.8

5,633.8

Change vs. Year Ago

-1.7%

-0.8%

Avg. Price Per Unit

$1.57

$2.33

Refrigerated Pizza Crust and Dough Private Brands

All Brands

Dollar Sales (in millions)

$32.0

$95.7

Change vs. Year Ago

-4.1%

-1.5%

Dollar Share

33.5%

100%

Unit Sales (in millions)

14.2

39.3

Change vs. Year Ago

-5.5%

-4.4%

Avg. Price Per Unit

$2.25

$2.44

Source: InfoScan Reviews, IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm. Total U.S. multioutlet (grocery, drug, mass market, military and select club and dollar retailers) for the 52 weeks ending Feb. 25, 2018.

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67


CATEGORY INTELLIGENCE CHOCOLATE AND CANDY

MORE THAN YUMMY NEEDED

DO offer products that tell a story, as shoppers may perceive them to be premium.

Taste is tops when it comes to purchasing chocolates and candy. The satisfaction consumers receive from sweets is resulting in the merchandising of increasingly savory alternatives. Yet, changing shopper attitudes and lifestyles is triggering demand for products that also carry a healthy halo. Indeed, while such sensory characteristics as color, taste, aroma and mouthfeel will always be paramount, more shoppers also are seeking chocolates and candy with clean and simple labels and assurances that ingredients are non-GMO, organic or sustainably produced, says Marret Arfsten, product line and marketing lead for Wayzata, Minn.-based Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate. “It is no longer enough for chocolate and candy to just taste good,” she states. “Consumers are also looking to feel good about what they are eating.” In addition, shoppers are gravitating towards “food with a story” and chocolate options that they perceive as more “sophisticated” and “premium,” such as artisanmade and single-origin selections, Arfsten notes. To meet such interests and stand out in the hypercompetitive sector, store brands must be unique and not just national brand equivalents, notes Darin Ciavarella, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate retail channel lead. “This requires a new way of thinking and being able bring ideas to market faster than ever,” he states. “Retailers need to determine their brand ‘values’ and seek strong supply partners that can help bring those to life. Staying updated with trends and innovation techniques will be crucial to navigating changing consumer demand.”

Don’t forget that it’s not enough for chocolate and candy to just taste good. Many consumers want to feel good about what they are eating.” 68

Store Brands / May 2018 / www.storebrands.com

Such trends include greater shopper interest in products that, for instance, feature fruit or toffee instead of flavored substitutes, and their eschewing of artificial flavors and colors, corn syrup, and added sugars, says Christopher Ratliff, vice president of sales and marketing for Seattle Gourmet Foods, a Tukwila, Wash.-based chocolates suppler. Sellers of store brands, meanwhile, have more flexibility in developing and marketing newer and healthier options than national brand merchandisers as their products typically lack the strong identity of the national selections, he states. “Communicating changes to a legacy product or attracting new consumers to it is challenging because shoppers often believe they know what the item offers,” he notes. “Private label gives the chance to tell the story of a new product that has a brand identity that many people already know and trust.”

BE AN ATTENTION-GETTER

Private brand merchandisers, however, have their own marketing challenges, including making shoppers aware of their newer alternatives, Ratliff says. “The typical shopper has a predetermined notion of what in-store displays will feature,” he states. “They tend to find the same national brands organized in basically the same arrangements. Getting a store brand to stand out in the sea of familiar facings is difficult.” Retailers can respond by having separate displays for specialty or high-end private brand confections and traditional national brands, and using attractive packaging on store brands, Ratliff says “If the packaging doesn’t stand out and convince the consumer to pick the item off the shelf, it doesn’t matter how good the product is,” he states. Indeed, it is vital that the private label alternatives are highly visible as more shoppers are willing to consider new chocolate and candy brands, says Janet Sconza Angers, director of marketing for Oakdale, Calif.-based Sconza Chocolates. “This shift is creating an enormous opportunity for private label marketers to gain market share by offering high quality and innovative products that are not sold by the national brands,” she states. Sconza Angers says shoppers are paying more attention to where products are made, the sourcing of ingredients, proprietary formulas and the percent of cocoa in chocolates.


CATEGORY INTELLIGENCE CHOCOLATE AND CANDY “This is leading not only to exciting confectionery innovations, but greater disclosure of product information and the marketing of differentiating qualities,” she notes. Such qualities include betterfor-you elements and smaller pack sizes with lower calorie counts, she states. The greater shopper focus on ingredients is making it critical for private brand merchandisers to be transparent in their product merchandising and messaging, Sconza Angers says. “Consumers continue to challenge retailers to offer store brand confections that keep the category fresh, interesting and on trend,” she states, adding that retailers can follow the lead of the national brands and build interest through variety, quality and product value. Private brand merchandisers also should be willing to take risks in creating new options, which can include the use of unique recipes and packaging, says José Antonio Camúñez, sales director/America for Natra, a Madrid, Spain-based chocolates supplier. “The packaging and story behind the chocolate is what first attracts the consumer, but after that taste is key,” he states. “But there also is growing demand from millennials and Generation Z shoppers to consume healthier alternatives. They seek to combine ‘pleasure’ with sustainable, low calorie and clean ingredients.” He notes that many shoppers also purchase private brands because of the typically lower price and a grow-

Total Chocolate Candy Private Brands

All Brands

Dollar Sales (in millions)

$163.5

$11,053.7

Change vs. Year Ago

-0.1%

+1.8%

Dollar Share

1.5%

100%

Unit Sales (in millions)

56.3%

4,926.0

Change vs. Year Ago

-1.8%

+1.6%

Avg. Price Per Unit

$2.91

$2.24

Total Non-Chocolate Candy Private Brands

All Brands

Dollar Sales (in millions)

$368.5

$5,769.5

Change vs. Year Ago

-5.1%

+2.9%

Dollar Share

6.4%

100%

Unit Sales (in millions)

270.3

3,191.4

Change vs. Year Ago

-4.4%

+1.9%

Avg. Price Per Unit

$1.36

$1.81

Source: InfoScan Reviews, IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm. Total U.S. multioutlet (grocery, drug, mass market, military and select club and dollar retailers) for the 52 weeks ending Feb. 25, 2018.

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ing perception that the quality of such items is at least equivalent and often superior to the national brands.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Retailers can further spur sales of private brand chocolates and candy, which usually are impulse purchases, by situating selections in high-traffic areas, including near the front of stores, at the checkout and within a perimeter department, says Barry Rosenbaum, president of Hicksville, N.Y.-based Nassau Candy. He notes that though chocolates and candy appeal to all demographic groups, it is important that retailers gear selections such as specialty or value-oriented items to the specific shopper bases of each location. “There is no retailer challenge in merchandising private label chocolates as long as the product selection is correct; the packaging, graphics and messaging are right; and items are in the proper display areas,” Rosenbaum says. “The items will sell if retailers offer great quality products at competitive prices and have a credible private brand image.” Messaging can include the listing of attractive product attributes on packages such as being kosher or non-GMO project verified and having fair trade and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certifications, he notes. “They are all important and the consumer will give credit for those elements,” Rosenbaum says. “The shopper is looking for quality and value.” Packaging options, meanwhile, can include stackable tubs, which typically offer superior product visibility, and stand-up resealable bags that prominently display the brand and graphics, he states. Choosing the optimal packaging is vital as appearance also plays a crucial role in triggering sales, says Annette Warrell-Jones, marketing manager for Warrell Corp., a Camp Hill, Pa.-based candy supplier. She notes that chocolates which are visible in a clear bag should be free of scuff marks and highquality photography is critical for enabling the image of a product to “jump off the bag.” The incorporation of attractive and unique ingredients such as fruits, tree nuts and ancient grains also are strong attention-getters and differentiators, Warrell-Jones says. “That is what catches the interest of millennials, younger baby boomers, Generation X and Generation Y, shoppers,” she says. “They are more label-conscious, and retailers that provide an indulgent reward that has great health benefits is talking their language. The healthy elements make them feel better about indulging. But without a great tasting product, there will be no repeat business.”SB Mitchell is a freelance writer from Wilmette, Ill.


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CATEGORY INTELLIGENCE LAUNDRY CARE AND HOUSEHOLD CLEANING PRODUCTS

GET THE DIRT

DO remember that young adult consumers prioritize convenience even though they also care about sustainability.

The old adage “cleanliness is next to godliness” has been replaced by a more measured approach to removing dirt and stains from household surfaces and clothing, especially among millennials and younger adults. In fact, 61 percent of consumers between the ages of 23 and 40 who clean their homes “are skeptical about using disinfectants, driven by concerns about destroying ‘good’ bacteria,” states Mintel in a press release promoting the market researcher’s July 2017 report “Cleaning the House – U.S.” These younger adult consumers see promise in surface cleaners enriched with probiotics as a way to protect good bacteria, according to Mintel. Consumers aged 55 and older, in contrast, “give little thought to the chore” of cleaning and tend to use the same products out of habit. The unique concerns of millennials, who are known to be less loyal to name brands, may offer opportunities for private brands. Millennials as a group are also more fearful of chemicals and prioritize sustainability, and both of these predilections are heavily influencing the laundry and household cleaning product categories. But convenience may be an even more important priority for younger adults. Mintel’s “Cleaning the House” report points out that 73 percent of individuals aged 18 to 34 are willing to pay more for cleaning products that save them time or labor, while 71 percent of individuals aged 35 to 44 also feel this way. Indeed, demand for household wet wipes (for hard surfaces and floors) — arguably the handiest of cleaning products — is increasing by 4 to 5 percent a year, says

Don’t neglect the importance of fragrance, and consider adding seasonal variations, especially in household cleaning solutions.

Chris Dresselhuys, director of product management for Sheboygan, Wis.-based Rockline Industries, which manufactures a wide array of household cleaning wipes. “There is continued movement toward convenience products that enable quick cleaning,” he observes. Like household wet wipes, all-purpose cleaning solutions are gaining market share and growing faster than more specialized household surface cleaners. In the laundry care category, consumers also prioritize convenience. What’ more, younger consumers (aged 18 to 24) are less aware of the benefits of fabric softener and are wary of bleach, Mintel emphasizes in its August 2017 report “Home Laundry Products – U.S.” Young adult consumers seek labor-saving product innovations that also “protect and extend the life of clothing,” according to Mintel, which notes that adults aged 18 to 34 are more likely than other consumers to purchase single-dose pods. The market researcher also identifies “a growing trend to combine detergent and additives to offer an all-in-one formula that washes and brightens clothes, as well as leaves a lasting scent.” Indeed, in both the laundry product and household cleaner categories, scent is increasingly a factor in product selection. Fragrance is “the key emotional ingredient that drives store brand repeat purchases,” notes Lori Miller Burns, director of marketing relations and communications for Marietta, Ga.-based fragrance manufacturer Arylessence. “Bright, fresh, classic and clean fragrance types with notes of citrus, marine or herbal are a win with today’s consumer.” SB

All Purpose Cleaner/Disinfectant Private Brands

All Brands

Dollar Sales (in millions)

$51.4

$1,212.8

Change vs. Year Ago

+1.1%

+5.1%

Dollar Share

4.2%

100%

Unit Sales (in millions)

24.0

401.3

Change vs. Year Ago

-11.6%

+2.0%

Avg. Price Per Unit

$2.14

$3.02

Source: Infoscan Reviews, IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm. Total U.S. supermarkets, drugstores, mass market retailers, military commissaries and select club and dollar retail chains for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 31, 2017. Note: Does not include all cleaning product subcategories.

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CATEGORY INTELLIGENCE BABY CARE

BE GENTLE

Create an infant needs line that lets parents baby their babies Fewer consumers are more protective than new parents, and appealing to their tender instincts could help store brands corral a bigger piece of the baby care products market, category observers note. Private brand baby products capture a 15.5 percent dollar share of the market, according to market research firm IRI, referring to the 52 weeks ending Feb. 25. The baby care products that parents covet boast skincare benefits and are made from natural and organic ingredients, according to global market research firm Mintel’s March 2017 report, “Disposable Baby Products U.S.” Because infants are susceptible to dry skin as well as conditions such as cradle cap, eczema and diaper rash, parents are drawn to products that are hydrating and safe for sensitive skin, Mintel states. Retailers seeking to create baby care lines are looking for staples for a strong sell-through like diaper rash cream, all-purpose salves and balms and massage oils, says Amanda Chawansky, sales manager for Taos, N.M.-based Private Label Select. The company develops and manufactures natural and organic personal care and cosmetics products, including salves and balms for infants and mothers, for major retailers. On the mom side of this equation, retailers report strong sales of belly balm and nipple balm, she adds. Natural and Certified Organic baby care products still offer the best opportunity for private brand growth in the sector, Chawansky says. Parents and caregivers are motivated by safety, so third-party assurances like U.S. Department of Agriculture and NSF International organic certifications, as well as testing claims such as “Pediatrician Tested” are

essential for private brands to be competitive in the market, Chawansky notes. The combination of an informed consumer base and the demand for natural and organic products that exists across all categories means that the demand for natural and organic baby products will only continue to grow in the next year, she adds.

GREENING THE CATEGORY

“Green chemistry” will be the next big thing in the category, Chawansky predicts. “Green chemistry continues to evolve and solve formulation challenges, which allows for natural/ certified organic products to perform as well as, and often outperform, their conventional counterparts,” she explains. The introduction and availability of new botanically based ingredients, such as certified organic caprylic capric triglycerides (CCT), for example, allows manufacturers to innovate and create outstanding formulations, she says. CCT is a popular ingredient in skin-care products and soaps because it does not aggravate sensitive skin, absorbs rapidly and is non-greasy. “Eco-friendly packaging is slowly becoming more available as well, and we’re starting to see innovations such as squeeze tubes made of sugar cane,” Chawansky notes. “As retailers respond to demand created by brands in the baby care category, we see interest in a combination of category staples, such as diaper rash cream, along with innovation to allow them to compete with popular mass brands,” she observes. “Such innovations could include use of botanical materials rather than synthetic, while still offering strong performance.” SB

DO offer thirdparty assurances and testing claims on packaging that are essential for private brands to be competitive in the market. Don’t forget that parents are drawn to products that are hydrating and safe for sensitive skin.

Total Baby Care Private Brands

All Brands

Dollar Sales (in millions)

$136.7

$880.4

Change vs. Year Ago

-3.1%

+2.9%

Dollar Share

15.5%

100%

Unit Sales (in millions)

56.3

198.9

Change vs. Year Ago

-3.4%

+1.4%

Avg. Price Per Unit

$2.43

$4.43

Source: InfoScan Reviews, IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm. Total U.S. multi-outlet (grocery, drug, mass market, military and select club and dollar retailers) for the 52 weeks ending Feb. 25, 2018.

www.storebrands.com /May 2018 / Store Brands

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CATEGORY CLOSEUP

67%

of consumers have accepted that privatebranded frozen desserts are equal in quality to name-brand frozen desserts. This perception is based on reality, as store brand frozen desserts have been on a steady rise in terms of quality over the past three decades. Source: Mintel

$6.8

BILLION

How large the ice cream and frozen dairy desserts is after growing 7 percent from 2014-16. Source: Mintel

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Store Brands / May 2018 / www.storebrands.com

Frozen Novelties

20%

27%

Source: Packaged Facts

Source: Mintel

How much overall dessert sales that store brands account for in all frozen dessert sales at retail grocers.

of ice cream buyers agree that, even though they find these treats unhealthy, they buy them anyway.

“Many of the pleasures that consumers get from frozen treats, such as satisfaction of cravings and an enjoyable indulgence, simply outweigh healthrelated concerns for the vast majority of Americans.” — MIMI BONNETT, MINTEL

11%

of U.S. consumers who, even though they find them unhealthy, buy ice cream and frozen treats ice cream anyway. Also, 10 percent report say they actively avoid healthy versions because they are “meant to be treats.”

Source: Mintel


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Store Brands - May 2018  

Store Brands - May 2018