Store Brands - Oct 2019

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Organic update

Private Label Trade Show preview

Flexible packaging October 2019 |



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Volume 42 No. 10 October 2019


Editor’s Take


New Horizons


Around the Industry


End Cap



Cold brew coffee


Indian food


Nut butters

COVER STORY Second to none

The 2019 Top Women in Store Brands are the best at what they do, no matter the gender

FEATURES 28 TRENDING Make the price right Retailers that continue to offer lower-cost store brand organic selections are in position to bolster their market share

33 PRIVATE LABEL TRADE SHOW PREVIEW Behind the curtain Check out some of the companies that will exhibit at the upcoming Private Label Trade Show

38 PACKAGING Stand-out features Flexible packaging can help private brands differentiate and be more sustainable

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, $125; two years, $146. One year, Canada $190; One year, foreign $275. Payable in advance with a bank draft drawn on a US bank in US funds.Single copies $20. Foreign, $85. Reprints, permissions and licensing, please contact Wright’s Media at 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 3200 Northbrook, IL 60065-3200. Copyright 2019 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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Expanding our assortment and our capabilities

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

Group Brand Director


John Schrei


EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief

Lawrence Aylward

(330) 635-2586

Managing Editor

Gina Acosta

(813) 417-4149

Digital Editor

While wandering the trade show floor at the Fancy Food Show this summer, I happened upon the RIND Snacks booth. I wasn’t the only one. Several people were stopping at the booth to sample the company’s trendy skin-on superfruit snack. New York-based RIND Snacks offers four SKUs — Tropical Blend, Orchard Blend, Tangy Kiwi and Straw-Peary. The snacks, which contain no preservatives, are “powered by the peel” and feature a tangy and chewy taste. They’re so good, they taste like candy. But they are far from candy. The products, which are air dried using use low-heat commercial dehydrating equipment, are high in fiber and antioxidants. They contain no added sugar. As a journalist covering the private brands industry, I immediately thought that RIND Snacks would make a heckuva store brand for a retailer aiming to differentiate. The product has all the attributes that would make a great modern-day store brand. Is it cool and different? Yes. Is it free-from undesirable ingredients but still taste good? Yes. Does it offer sustainable attributes? Yes. Would it be regarded as premium? Yes. I sought out the founder and owner of the company, Matt Weiss, to ask him if his product was available as a private brand. The good news? Possibly, if Weiss can find the right retail partner. The bad news? Not yet, as Weiss wants to establish the brand of his year-old company first. The product also has a great story behind it, something that modern private brands are also searching for. Weiss says he was inspired by his great-grandmother, Helen Seitner, to launch RIND Snacks. In the 1920s, Seitner operated her own natural foods store in Flint, Mich. She would purchase whole fruits and vegetables for juicing and not let anything go to waste — roots, rind, stem, seeds and all. “She left a big impression on me,” the 41-year-old Weiss says. With RIND Snacks and in tribute to his great-grandmother, Weiss says he’s created a product that offers functional benefits and helps fight food waste at the same time. “The rind is where the greatest concentration of fiber and nutrition is [located], and yet it’s the most commonly discarded food scrap,” Weiss says. “The two biggest contributors to lost produce are overripe produce and edible peels that get discarded. We like to say ‘keep it real and eat the peel.’ ” RIND Snacks sources its fruit from small family farmers in California’s central valley. The Orchard Blend features persimmon, apple and peach; the Tropical Blend contains orange, pineapple and kiwi; the Tangy Kiwi includes kiwi; and the Straw-Peary Blend combines red apple, bosc pear and strawberry. “We don’t do anything to the fruit,” Weiss says. “We let nature’s candy really shine by adding no [other ingredients].” Even though Weiss isn’t quite ready to go the store brand route with RIND Snacks, his story serves as a reminder of what could make a great private brand product. And while he has developed an innovative and excellent product that hits on the major trends of healthy eating and sustainability, he has brought something intangible to the process: passion. Every product developer will agree that a dose of passion is a key ingredient for success. “I found what I’m passionate about, and I’m going for it,” Weiss says. “You only go through Lawrence Aylward, Editor-in-Chief this rodeo once.”

Louisa Hallett

(904) 294-6764

Contributing Writers

Rich Mitchell, Dana Cvetan, Nevenka Jevtic

ADVERTISING & SALES Associate Brand Director

Maggie Kaeppel

(708) 565-5350

Senior Sales Manager

Judy Hayes

(925) 785-9665

Regional/International Sales Manager 248-514-9500

Tammy Rokowski

Senior Sales Manager

Theresa Kossack


Business Development Manager 773-992-4410

Natalie Meehan

CUSTOM MEDIA Director of Client Services, Enterprise Solutions Kaeli Elisco (224) 632-8221

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REPRINTS, PERMISSIONS AND LICENSING Please contact Wright’s Media at or (877) 652-5295.

EVENTS • MARKETING • DIGITAL • RESEARCH • CIRCULATION CORPORATE OFFICERS Chief Executive Officer - Jennifer Litterick Chief Financial Officer - Dan McCarthy Chief Operating Officer - Joel Hughes Chief Innovation Officer - Tanner Van Dusen Chief Human Resources Officer - Ann Jadown Executive Vice President, Events & Conferences – Ed Several


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PLMA’s 2019 Private Label Trade Show

Store BrandsMake Things Happen For Retailers Store brands build your image. They define who you are.

For Manufacturers They open the door to an exciting world of business opportunities.

For Everyone Store brands separate you from your competitors!

Nov. 17-19 • Chicago Visitor registration is now open. Telephone (212) 972-3131 or online at Presented by the Private Label Manufacturers Association

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Sarah Alter is president and CEO of the Network of Executive Women (NEW), a learning and leadership community representing 12,500 members that represent 900 companies and 22 regional groups in the U.S. and Canada. Learn more at



A RISING TIDE LIFTS ALL BOATS IN A CULTURE OF EQUALITY, EVERYONE RISES Editor’s note: This is the fifth of six columns that Store Brands is running in 2019 from the Network of Executive Women (NEW).

Many of us have followed the progress the U.S. women’s national soccer team is making for equal pay. In doing so, I’m reminded of research findings released last year by Accenture, “When She Rises, We All Rise.” Based on survey data from more than 22,000 working men and women across 34 countries, Accenture’s findings define the characteristics in corporate culture that drive equality. Policies and programs that advance women are key to females advancing, to receiving equal pay and to the kind of gender diversity that equals good business. But the Accenture report found that beyond those, a culture that supports equality means everyone rises. In those cultures, women are four times more likely and men are two times more likely to rise to senior management positions.

behaviors and collective employee opinions, Accenture pinpointed 40 that are statistically shown to influence advancement, including 14 that are the most likely to make positive change happen. And here’s the link to what the U.S. women’s soccer team is fighting for: When companies make these factors the most common ones in their culture, it impacts women’s pay. Using these findings, businesses have a concrete way to begin to adjust pay gaps in a way sports has yet to do. I read profiles recently on the 30 highest paid tennis players of all time. Number one was male tennis player Novak Djokovic, who clocked in at $131 million. Female player Serena Williams was the fourth highest paid player, with $88.7 million in winnings. That’s quite a gap, considering Williams has won

POLICIES AND PROGRAMS THAT ADVANCE WOMEN ARE KEY TO FEMALES ADVANCING, TO RECEIVING EQUAL PAY AND TO THE KIND OF GENDER DIVERSITY THAT EQUALS GOOD BUSINESS. What I love about this study is the science. This is not about broad generalizations; there is a formula that works. Out of more than 200 personal and workplace factors studied, like 8

23 Grand Slam titles (72 overall titles), compared to Djokovic’s 15 Grand Slam and 74 overall titles. Businesses can begin to make progress now by creating a culture

of equality. The Accenture report’s findings group the 40 advancement/ equality factors into three categories, and here I’ll quote from the report: Bold leadership: A diverse leadership team that sets, shares and measures equality targets openly. Comprehensive action: Policies and practices that are family-friendly, support both genders and are bias-free in attracting and retaining people. An empowering environment: One that trusts employees, respects individuals and offers freedom to be creative and to train and work flexibly. These are areas so familiar to the Network of Executive Women, which I lead. We see concrete actions in these areas of the business lead to concrete results with our member companies — companies like PepsiCo. In its Frito-Lay business, PepsiCo has paired future women leaders with sponsors at the vice president level or above, in 18-month sprints. In 2018, the program — in its third round — was showing great results. Women in it were being promoted at a 70% higher rate than female employees overall. The important thing to note is that in addition to this program and others to champion women, PepsiCo is making cultural changes to support an environment in which all can rise. Both are required to exact real change. I mentioned at the beginning there are 14 cultural drivers most likely to enable positive change. You’ll see that some of them are specific to women (pay-gap goals, a women’s network) but others are targeted at men, like males being encouraged to take parental leave. And some apply to both genders, from remote working opportunities to broader diversity targets. As you can see, the report is aptly titled. When she rises, we really all do rise. As you look at your own company, how many of these factors play a prominent role in shaping your culture? Maybe that’s a conversation to start. SB

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Walmart’s private brands on the upswing But executive vice president said program still has ‘a long way to go’

Walmart’s Steve Bratspies said the retailer’s private brands program has come a long way, but it still has a ways to go. Bratspies, Walmart’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, spoke at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference Sept. 4 in Boston. He answered questions from Karen Short, a Barclays Capital analyst. Bratspies, who began at Walmart in 2005 and assumed his current role in 2015, said he didn’t think the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer did a good job of running its private label program until the retailer began operating the program “with the same discipline that a branded manufacturer would.” He said Walmart now thinks about product quality, pricing, packaging and promotion, display, sourcing and driving innovation the way a branded manufacturer does. “We’ve built that capability in-house,” Bratspies added. “And it’s made a huge difference in our business in our ability to go to market.” Walmart customers have responded, and they are buying more of the retailer’s private brands, he added. “It’s not only the grocery side of the house, but it’s in the general merchandise side of the house,” Bratspies added. “We just relaunched three new apparel brands this year, which are making a difference in our business. We’ve had great success back in sporting goods with Ozark Trail, and Hyper Tough in the hardware business. So we’ve got great private brands. We’re managing them much better than we have in the past.”


SHORT TAKES Target debuts Good & Gather Target debuted its new Good & Gather store brand on Sept. 15 across its physical and digital platforms. The Good & Gather line will include more than 2,000 products across food and beverage — from dairy to produce to readymade pastas and meats to granola bars and sparkling water. All of the products under the Good & Gather brand will be made without artificial flavors and sweeteners, synthetic colors and high fructose corn syrup, and are backed by a money-back guarantee. The assortment will also include new and trend-forward products such as avocado toast salad kits and beet hummus alongside everyday staples such as milk, eggs and cheese, according to Target. Minneapolis-based Target will phase out its other own grocery brands, Archer Farms and Simply Balanced. Target will also scale down the number of items it sells under its Market Pantry brand. The addition of Good & Gather to Target stores also means the company is increasing the amount of shelf space it devotes to private label products.

Steve Bratspies says Walmart’s customers are buying more of its private brands.

Kroger extends line with Simple Truth Plant Based

But there’s still work to be done, Bratspies said. “We’ve come a long way,” he added. “We made a huge difference, but there’s a long way to go. And I think we can get a lot better. I think we’ve got work to do on consistency of quality. I think our quality has moved, but we can go and we’ll find a product that we’re not happy with all the time.” Bratspies said millennials are more receptive to private brands than the generations before them, which has helped Walmart build its private brands program with them. “But I would tell you they’re receptive to private brands because private brand offerings out there — not only ours but even our competitors — are just better than they used to be in the past,” he noted. SB

The Kroger Co. is taking a big bite into the plant-based foods market. The Cincinnati-based retailer, is rolling out an extension of its popular Simple Truth private brand called Simple Truth Plant Based, which includes fresh meatless burger patties and grinds as well as plant-based cookie dough, pasta sauces, sausages, deli slices, dips and other items. Kroger said its team of chefs, food scientists and nutritionists collaborated to develop the collection’s recipes that offer 100% plant-based alternatives. “As more of our customers embrace a flexitarian lifestyle, choosing to prioritize healthier food choices and reduce their environmental footprint, we are excited to meet their needs,” said Gil Phipps, Kroger’s vice president of branding, marketing and Our Brands,

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AroundtheIndustry SHORT TAKES Continued Albertsons Cos. debuts Certified Plant Based private brand line

Albertsons Cos. promotes White, Coester Two executives have helped grow retailer’s Own Brands program Albertsons Cos. promoted Geoff White to executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. White had been president of the retailer’s Own Brands, the Boise, Idaho-based retailer’s line of private brands, since 2017. A few days after White’s promotion, Albertsons Cos. promoted Chad Coester to senior vice president of Own Brands. Coester was most recently the group vice president for the Own Brands team, Under White’s leadership, Albertsons Cos.’ Own Brands penetration grew from 23% in fiscal year 2017 to 25.3% in the company’s most recently reported quarter. O Organics and Open Nature represent 23.6% of the total natural and organic sales at Albertsons Cos., a 152 basis point growth from the first quarter of fiscal year 2018. In 2018, the Own Brands team launched Signature RESERVE, an ultra-premium label that features globally sourced ingredients. “Geoff is a customer-centric leader who brings a unique combination of creativity and analytics to achieve growth,” said Vivek Sankaran, president and CEO of Albertsons Cos. “I look forward 12

to working with him to transform our merchandising capabilities.” White began his career with Albertsons Cos. as a general clerk at Safeway in Burnaby, British Columbia, in 1981. As a member of White’s team, Coester helped lead the effort to optimize and grow the Own Brands portfolio to nearly 11,000 products across 550 categories. He also helped lead the continued success of national marketing and merchandising campaigns that highlight key growth brands, like O Organics and Open Nature, two of Albertsons Cos.’ most popular private brand lines. “Chad brings infectious energy to everything he does,” White said. “His versatile background and deep commitment to innovation will serve him well as he leads our extraordinarily talented Own Brands team.” Albertsons Cos. operates stores across 34 states and the District of Columbia under 20 well-known banners including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs, as well as meal kit company Plated based in New York City. SB

Albertsons Cos. has become the first grocer to introduce private branded Certified Plant Based foods in collaboration with the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA). PBFA, which has offices in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, worked with the grocer on the certification and launch of the new product line, which is also USDA-certified organic. On the packaging for each food item, the Certified Plant Based seal is prominently displayed. The products are part of Albertsons Cos.’ popular O Organics line. Albertsons Cos. also added 55 new items to its line of frozen Own Brands entrees, including organic plant-based meals and premium high-protein power bowls.

Walgreens testing home delivery by drone Walgreens is aiming for the sky to offer improved product delivery. The Deerfield, Ill.-based drugstore chain announced in September it is partnering with Wing Aviation LLC to “offer unparalleled speed and convenience of store-to-door delivery of health and wellness, food and beverage and convenience items — via state-of-the-art drone technology — in minutes.” Walgreens begin offering the service to eligible residents of Christiansburg, Va., this month as part of a pilot program. Wing Aviation LLC is the first drone operator to be certified as an air carrier by the Federal Aviation Administration. The company is part of the Alphabet family of companies, which includes Google. The companies will utilize the pilot program to further explore the future of health and wellness product and retail delivery through the air, offering product availability and home delivery minutes after orders are placed via the Wing app.

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AroundtheIndustry SHORT TAKES Continued

Why online grocery sales continue to grow Online grocery sales continue to climb higher — they have soared more than 15% on a year-over-year basis and now account for 6.3% of total grocery-related spending by U.S. households, according to Brick Meets Click’s recently released analysis on the state of the U.S. e-grocery market. Barrington, Ill.-based Brick Meets Click, a firm that provides strategic guidance about how the U.S. grocery business is evolving, said that online providers are improving the grocery shopping experience for consumers, which led to 81% of consumers saying


they would use a specific service again, up from 69% in 2018. Improving the ability to find products that a customer wants to purchase is a key factor, and the percentage of customers who found everything they wanted to buy rose to 90% in 2019, a 12 percentage points gain versus last year, according to Brick Meets Click. “There’s still a fair amount of purchase trial — occurring as consumers search for acceptable online shopping alternatives,” said David Bishop, a partner at Brick Meets Click. “For example, we found that approximately one-third

Dollar General CEO cites importance of private brands During a conference call with investors in September to discuss Dollar General’s second-quarter results, Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos noted that the retailer’s private brands continue to be an important area of focus. “Our goal is to drive overall category awareness and adoption with our customers through improved and more impactful displays, and consistent messaging in-store as well as across print and digital media,” Vasos said. “I’m pleased with our continued progress across these fronts, which contributed to our strong second-quarter performance.” Vasos singled out Dollar General’s Good & Smart private brand, which is part of its “Better For You” initiative, which launched in 2018, to include healthier snacks and

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AroundtheIndustry fresh products. Good & Smart features food and beverage products that are low in sodium, calorie, fat and sugar levels and made without artificial sweeteners. “This product line provides customers with a variety of better-for-you options at low prices, and is now available in approximately 3,900 stores with plans for further expansion as we move forward,” Vasos said.

Copper Moon names Jim Jordan as VP of private brands Copper Moon Coffee, a Lafayette, Ind.-based specialty coffee roaster, named Jim Jordan as its vice president of private brands. The company said Jordan’s appointment will allow the operations to grow its private label brand and co-manufacturing business. Jordan comes to Copper Moon Coffee with an extensive background in both private label and co-manufacturing sales. Prior to joining Copper Moon, Jordan served as a vice president of sales and marketing for a private label company in food and beverage.

of the active households’ most recent online order was the first time they used the service.” Several factors are driving the growth of the U.S. online grocery mar-

ket, according to Brick Meets Click, including that household penetration has risen more than 5 percentage points over the last year to nearly 25% of all U.S. households. SB

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Top Women in Store Brands

2019 Top Women in Store Brands



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THE STORE BRANDS INDUSTRY WOULD BE A LESSER PLACE WITHOUT THEM, A MUCH LESSER PLACE. THE “THEM” ARE THE NINE WOMEN BEING HONORED AS THE 2019 TOP WOMEN IN STORE BRANDS. These women epitomize what every company in America wants in an A-list employee, no matter the gender. The women being honored this year are diligent, industrious, committed and conscientious, among other superlatives that could be used to describe them. Each year, Store Brands and Women Impacting Store Brand Excellence (WISE), a professional development organization, solicit nominations from the private brand industry to identify and honor a select few of these women through the Top Women in Store Brands program, which was created to provide welldeserved recognition for female professionals who have achieved exceptional success and bring a passion for store brands to their day-to-day activities. To select the honorees, a committee consisting of representatives from both Store Brands and WISE reviews

nominations submitted by representatives within the store brand industry. The committee carefully evaluates the nominations, assessing each nominee’s accomplishments. This year’s categories of recognition include six Functional Expertise areas: research and development/quality assurance; supply chain/procurement; operations; sales; marketing merchandising; and corporate services. There is also an award for Innovation as well as a Sparkplug award, the latter given to a woman who is relatively new to store brands and has made a noticeable impact. And there is the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. The award winners will be recognized during WISE’s annual meeting and luncheon on Sunday, Nov. 17, at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont, Ill. The event coincides with the opening day of the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s Private Label Trade Show. For more information about the meeting, visit Now, it’s time to introduce this year’s honorees ... / October 2019 / Store Brands

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Top Women in Store Brands

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD HOPE SCHOEFFLING/ CAMERICAN INTERNATIONAL Hope Schoeffling has been climbing the proverbial career ladder in the food importing business for nearly 40 years. Her first rung on the ladder was as an executive assistant for a food importing company in the late 1970s. Her current rung is as the vice president of retail sales for Camerican International, a Paramus, N.J.-based 103-year-old company that supplies frozen and canned fruit, vegetables, seafood, grains and specialty items to the food industry, including for private brands. Schoeffling is responsible for developing private brand programs for a variety of imported products with U.S. retail and wholesale grocers. Her career climb has been impressive, which is why she is receiving this distinguished honor, awarded to a woman who has spent the majority of her career in store brands and has “made her mark” through professional achievements, as well as through personal contributions to her employer(s), colleagues, community and the industry. “Hope is a woman of high character with a strong work ethic and a passion for what she does that inspires the trust and loyalty underpinning the long-term relationships she has developed,” commented Larry Abramson, CEO of Camerican International, who nominated Schoeffling for this award. Schoeffling knew nothing about food importing when she began her career with a start-up company. Through various career promotions, she gained experience in customer service, sales, procurement and other aspects of the business. “It was a lot of fun doing all the different jobs you had to do in a small company,” she says. Schoeffling joined Camerican International about 15 years ago to help build retail sales. At the time, the company was strong in the foodservice space but not the retail sector. Schoef-



fling helped changed that. She and others have grown the company’s retail sales more than fourfold since she began. One of Schoeffling’s accounts is Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans Food Markets, a regional grocer well known for its private brands. Schoeffling is so respected by Wegmans that the retailer awarded her its Wegmans Superstar Pin in 2009, which is usually reserved for Wegmans employees. “Wegmans felt that Hope’s commitment to the success of its private label business was so remarkable that she should be considered as part of the team and, as such, deserved this recognition,” Abramson says. Schoeffling says the key to forming trusting business relationships with retailers like Wegmans is exceptional communication, including conveying information that is both positive and negative. “If you’re constantly just giving people good news and you try to hide the bad news, they aren’t going to trust you,” Schoeffling stresses. “If you let them know the bad as soon as it happens, they will understand the situation better.” Funny thing, Schoeffling says when she was younger she never thought she wanted to sell imported food when she grew up. “I’m not a sales person by nature,” she adds. “I fell into this, but thank goodness it was there for me to fall into. Receiving this award is an extreme honor as I know there are so many others equally or more deserving.”



Curiosity and empathy. That’s where Robin Beck draws her ideas to innovate for the products she develops as a senior scientist for Minneapolis-based Target. Beck puts on her curious hat to learn more about what Target customers want in various products. She also empathizes with their needs. “I love hearing and learning from people and their experiences of what makes their lives challenging and easy,” Beck says. “The

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Top Women in Store Brands

challenges our guests face is what drives me to want to make products that help make their lives easier.” Beck, along with many internal and external partners and plenty of Target customers, worked to develop a new baby diaper as part of Target’s Cloud Island brand. The diaper debuted last January. “Through conversations with our guests, they shared over and over again that they are looking for premium, high-quality baby products at affordable prices. So we set out to create just that,” Beck says. The diaper features a newly developed and trademarked Tri-Wrap fold, which has no middle crease and allows the diaper to cradle closely to a baby’s body for less sagging and a better fit, providing premium leak protection, Beck explains. In addition to the improved fit, the compact fold makes the format smaller, which means diapers come in smaller packaging compared to regular diapers, creating less waste. It’s also the only diaper of its kind on the market, be it a brand or private brand. The new innovation is said to be an “owned brand game changer” by industry experts, according to Target. Beck’s partners in the project rave about her passion for product design. They say her dedication to her profession led her to develop “an effective product that is affordable and designed with a purpose.” For her groundbreaking effort, Beck is receiving this award, given to a woman who has brought game-changing innovation to her company and/or the store brands industry through the introduction of new products, packaging, technology and other functional areas. During the development of Cloud Island diapers and other products in the line, Beck says she consulted with thousands of parents to learn their wants and needs. “I got to shop with them, they tested prototypes, and I even visited them in their homes to see firsthand how they use our products,” says Beck, who is in her ninth year at Target. But launching any product is a team effort, Beck affirms.


“There will be some bumps in the road along the way, so having a great team made up of people who collaborate and trust each other makes a big difference,” she adds.




RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT/ QUALITY ASSURANCE JULIE JEVINS/ ALBERTSONS COS. Soup’s on for Albertsons Cos., thanks in big part to Julie Jevins, the senior manager of product development for the Boise, Idahobased retailer. Jevins was hired by Albertsons Cos. in 2018 to lead the product development and commercialization of a new soup production facility in Riverside, Calif. The plant produces 25 soups that are sold under Albertsons Cos.’ Signature Café private brand line at all of its banners, including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco and others. The plant supplies 70% of Albertson Cos.’ chilled soup. “This work was not just simple duplication of formulations, but involved adaptation to different manufacturing equipment and challenging reformulations that matched consumer-driven target attributes,” said Vien-An Friedel, director of product development for Albertsons Cos., who nominated Jevins for the award, given to a woman who has made a significant professional contribution to her company and/or the store brands industry through her accomplishments in research and development and quality assurance. “Julie has proven herself to be able to work under very tight timelines and tremendous pressure to deliver results,” Friedel adds. When the plant first opened and began making soup for testing in June 2018, there were only five employees, including Jevins, who remembers gathering ingredients and

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GREAT LAKES C H E E S E weighing them, and slicing cheese by hand because the plant wasn’t yet equipped with a slicer. They were cooking soup in 3,000-pound batches. “We were working around the engineers who were installing the first six kettles,” Jevins says. “We trialed all the soups.” In September 2018, the plant was ready to produce saleable soup and went live. Friedel says Jevins and her team got the plant up and running in a fraction of the normal commercialization time it usually takes in the soup industry. “It’s a lot less stressful now, but I’m glad I went through [the early stages] because now I understand the pressures the employees in the factory face,” Jevins says, noting the plant now employs more than 100 workers. “If I’m asking them to do something, I know I’ve done it myself.” Jevins credits several groups from Albertsons Cos. for the project’s success, including the plant’s employees and members of the operations and quality assurance teams as well as the Albertsons Cos.’ Own Brand and product development teams. Even though the plant has been running for more than a year, Jevins continues “to operate in excellence mode on multiple levels,” Friedel says, noting that Jevins has been on a mission to improve processes. “Last spring Julie partnered with our strategic sourcing partner to start work on an initiative that is scoped to save over $1 million annually in ingredients alone,” Friedel says. Jevins has been in the food industry for 35 years. A native of the United Kingdom, she worked in private label for several U.K. retailers before coming to the U.S. nine years ago, where she continued her career in private label. While the U.K. is viewed as being ahead of the U.S. in the growth and development of private branded consumer packaged goods, Jevins says the U.S. market is making significant gains. “I think market share in the U.S. will keep growing,” she says.

CONGRATULATES Lisa Schechterman Director of Marketing, Great Lakes Cheese

Top Women in Store Brands Marketing & Merchandising



SUPPLY CHAIN AND PROCUREMENT JILL TRUITT/TREEHOUSE FOODS At a time when consumer product groups are facing service, cost and inventory issues, the TreeHouse Foods supply chain has changed for the better thanks to Jill Truitt, the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company’s vice president of contract manufacturing. So says Alexis Ward, TreeHouse Foods’ IT director, who nominated Truitt for this award, given to a woman who has made a significant professional contribution to her company and/or the store brands industry through

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Top Women in Store Brands

her accomplishments in supply chain and procurement. Truitt leads logistics for TreeHouse Foods in transportation and warehousing. Even with order lead time times shortening and demand volatility at an all-time high, Ward says Truitt’s leadership and management of warehouse and freight led to improved service levels and freight complexity design, among other positive improvements. “Jill embodies the notion of servant leadership,” Ward says. “She recognizes that success can only be achieved through people so she selflessly supports her internal and external teams, putting them in a position to win.” Truitt says her management style is influenced by the company’s leaders and the culture they’ve implemented at TreeHouse Foods. She says the company’s leaders can often be found in plants talking to employees on the line about their concerns and how to improve operations. “When you see that, you behave the same way,” Truitt adds. “I feel like we have amazing leadership.” Ward says that while Truitt challenges her team members, she helps them accomplish the goals she puts in front of them. “She enables them to celebrate achievements they never thought possible,” Ward adds. It all boils down to excellent customer service. “Jill understands that if she takes great care of her team members, they will help her take great care of our customers,” Ward says. “And when it comes to serving customers, Jill is relentless.” Truitt acknowledges that her team members possess different skill sets, and her goal is to utilize each person’s skill set for the sake of that person and the team. “It’s OK not to know something,” Truitt says of her team members.” But [I tell them] to ask questions because more times than not somebody else has the same question.” Not everyone can get the best out of the people they manage, but Truitt has been able to do that. More importantly, she celebrates their achievements. “When you work hard on something, the best reward is when other people recognize that,” Truitt says. “And when people work hard, it’s rewarding to see what they are capable of doing.”





Fast and furious. That’s how Sarah Fair likes to roll in her job as director of Daymon Creative Services. “It’s definitely an industry where you have to have your foot on the gas pedal, and that’s a really fun environment to work in,” Fair says. “And Daymon fosters that environment.” Stamford, Conn.-based Daymon is a company that specializes in building successful private brands programs for its partners. Daymon Creative Services is an agency within Daymon that offers full-service private brand package design solutions. Fair has been with Daymon for about five years, and has led the account management and packaging management teams at Daymon Creative Services team for about two years. But in that time she “has significantly improved all processes across the creative teams,” says Aimee Becker, Daymon’s senior vice president of strategic advisory, who nominated Fair for this honor, awarded to a woman who has made a significant professional contribution to her company and/or the store brands industry through her accomplishments in operations. “Sarah has been instrumental in turning around teams and in driving process improvements,” Becker adds, noting that Fair is also part of Daymon’s Strategic Advisory Leadership Team and considered a leader in the Daymon organization. “Through Sarah’s accomplishments, our partners are seeing benefits of getting new and differentiated products to market faster, and helping retailers and manufacturers control their costs of goods.” Fair previously worked for a manufacturer and a retailer in the consumer packaged goods arena. She says she understands the pain points that both endure, which has helped her in her current role. Fair says the pace is faster in the agency world because it has to be. First, it’s highly competitive. Second, deadlines have to be met on time because there’s a lot on the line, such as a clients’ products making it to store shelves on schedule.

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“We dedicate ourselves to being as fast as possible,” Fair adds. “Because that’s what private brands require.” While it’s fast, it’s rewarding. “Last year we demonstrated a 26% improvement in speed to shelf for our clients, which had an enormous impact on [our clients’] incremental sales,” Fair says. Every day is different, which Fair enjoys, but the working environment is always dynamic. “We are constantly evolving our processes, strategies and services to look at how we can make private brands better for consumers and retailers,” Fair says. “But it’s thrilling and exciting.” Fair says Daymon is a roll-up-your-sleevesand-let’s-get-it-done type of company. “That works well for me because that’s my personality as well,” she states. “This is an industry of constant change, and you can’t be complacent.”




In January, Lisa Eatherton celebrates 10 years at John B. Sanfilippo & Son Inc., where she is the business manager for the Elgin, Ill.-based processor and distributor of peanuts, pecans, cashews, walnuts, almonds and other nuts for private brands and brands. It will be a happy anniversary, considering Eatherton’s latest year at the company has been her best ever in terms of sales and increased business. Eatherton is responsible for growing snack and trail mix sales for her customers’ own brands and the company’s brands. In the company’s fiscal 2019, Eatherton, whose clients include some of the top private branded retailers in the country,


s n to ry . ng OKA Products has over 18 years production and distribution experience in the food and beverage industry. Our high quality portfolio of brands offers innovative products options at the best possible prices. We also do private labels projects leaded by our company Private Projects. Since consumers are always looking for new brands that are nutritious, great tasting, and high in quality, we made sure that OKA Products ticked all those boxes. We offer premium products with the highest profit margins on the market

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increased those sales by a whopping 39%. For that, she is being honored with this award, given to a woman who has made a significant professional contribution to her company and/or the store brands industry through her accomplishments in sales. “They are a lot of fun to work with,” Eatherton says of her accounts. “They are leaders in innovation and quality.” Eatherton was nominated for the award by two of her co-workers: Polly Rowland, senior director of sales, and Christopher Gardier, senior vice president of consumer sales. “Lisa has successfully taken programs that were performing poorly and turned them into growth programs for her retailers,” Gardier commented in nominating Eatherton. “The innovation she has introduced to her retailers, whether it be in product, packaging or merchandising programs, has brought new shoppers to the category — all having had a positive impact on store brands.” Rowland said in nominating Eatherton that she is known for her attention to detail, her ability to anticipate and solve potential problems, and her commitment to the success of her customers. Eatherton says her favorite part of her job is working with her customers to help them grow their businesses. “My job is to make things go smoothly for them,” she adds. “What I focus on is building trust so we can plan together and achieve goals together. It’s about collaboration.” During her 10 years at John B. Sanfilippo & Son Inc., Eatherton has watched and played a part in the growth of private brands. “Private brands are no longer just viewed for their opening price points or just as value items,” Eatherton says. “They help retailers differentiate. They drive loyalty.” Incidentally, Eatherton is a big fan of what she sells. “I love nuts and trail mixes. It’s fun to go out to different places and see what’s in the market,” she says. Eatherton says her achievements would not have happened without the support of others, including the company’s crossfunctional team, its leadership team and her retail partners. “It is a team effort,” she adds.





In nominating Lisa Schechterman for this award, given to a woman who has made a significant professional contribution to her company and/or the store brands industry through her accomplishments in marketing and merchandising, Great Lakes Cheese Co.’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing El Khattary said,” You haven’t met fearless until you’ve met Lisa Schechterman.” Schechterman, the Hiram, Ohio-based company’s director of marketing, welcomed Khattary’s observation. “When it comes to operating without fear, my belief is that we are all committed to the same end goal and that is delivering quality products to our retail partners,” Schechterman says. “So fear can’t hold me back if I want to serve them in the best fashion that I can.” Schechterman joined Great Lakes Cheese, which offers a variety of cheese products for private label, in 2012 as the product marketing manager. Khattary says Schechterman eagerly took on more responsibilities as the business grew and was promoted to director of marketing. “Lisa has done a tremendous job identifying opportunities in the marketplace and ways to ensure we stand out from the competition,” Khattary says. Schechterman says her title is about more than just marketing. “My day to day is really in the world of product development and product management,” she adds. “I’m charged with bringing new products to the private label space to meet the demand of innovation.” Schechterman admits to having a “disruptive” personality. She’s not afraid to rock the boat a bit to get others thinking, including her nine team members.

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“I have no problem asking the hard questions,” she says. “But I try to do it in a fun way, so it’s not off-putting to others. I’m extremely inquisitive.” Her approach has helped Great Lakes Cheese identify new opportunities in the marketplace so the company can differentiate itself from its competition, Khattary says. In the past year, with the opening of Great Lakes Cheese’s specialty plant in Wausau, Wis., Schechterman launched a full snacking portfolio that includes products for private label made with non-cheese ingredients, a new endeavor for the company. “That’s a big strategic play for us, considering we’ve been a cheese company for 60 years,” she says. Schechterman has also been instrumental in the commercialization of new and unique packaging formats such as stand-up pouch shreds, pre-sliced snack packaging and a premium shingle slice package new to the U.S. dairy industry, Khattary notes. “Anytime you can solve a customer’s problem with innovation, it’s an easy win,” Schechterman says. The bottom line is Great Lakes Cheese being an ambassador for retailers in helping them understand their opportunities in store brands, Schechterman adds. “Private label has really changed over the last five years,” she says. “It was [growing] when I got here [in 2012], but we have retail customers with goals to achieve 75% penetration in the natural cheese category, which is huge.” Schechterman’s personality is a perfect match for an industry that is embracing innovation. “It has been super exciting,” she says.


LISA John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc. is proud to recognize Lisa and all the women at JBSS who bring our core values to life every day.


CORPORATE SERVICES AWARD ANITRA FARM ER/TOPCO ASSOCIATES LLC Anitra Farmer is a change agent. And at Topco Associates LLC, where Farmer is director of human resources and facilities, she has changed the perspective of human resources across the organization, says Danell O’Neill, Topco’s senior vice president of human resources and corporate communications, who along with Topco’s senior staff nominated Farmer for this award, given to a woman who has made a significant professional contribution to her company and/or the store brands industry through her accomplishments in corporate services, including human resources. Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based Topco is a $14 billion memberowned retail cooperative that provides aggregation, innovation and knowledge management solutions for food industry member owners and customers. Since joining the company

LISA EATHERTON Business Manager at John B. Sanfilippo & Son, Inc.

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more than two years ago, Farmer has helped the business evolve into “a collaborative culture” by redefining jobs, advancing skills and creating new organizational models that have helped Topco better support the cooperative with brands, products and overall solutions, O’Neill says, noting that Farmer has led the charge to change the profile of human resources from operational transactions to strategic business partner. “I wanted to create a space where people felt safe in HR,” Farmer says. “HR often gets a bad rap of being like the principal’s office.” Farmer wanted her department to be a “human resource,” which it has become. Shortly after arriving, she sought to gain the trust of employees and leaders alike. She wanted them to tell her about the company’s culture — “the good and the bad,” she says — with the goal of transforming Topco’s high-performing culture through strategy development and building leadership capabilities. O’Neill says Farmer is turning managers into leaders through her unique skillset of offering gentle but firm guidance. “She has created an environment of trust and partnership instead of dictatorial and siloed leadership, improving communication and collaboration across the business,” O’Neill adds. “Her approachability and cool-headed way of taking on sensitive business matters has earned the respect and credibility throughout the entire organization.” Farmer says she wanted to find out from Topco employees, especially the company’s leaders, what makes them tick. Sometimes it requires asking tough questions, but only to help them become better leaders. “I would ask them about their worlds — what’s exciting, what’s frustrating and what’s challenging,” she says. “I would get them to open up so I could help bridge the gap between what is happening within our business and how it impacts our associates.” Through her work, Farmer has coached, guided and mentored managers


to learn new skills and capabilities, exploring their vulnerabilities and helping them expand upon their strengths to become strong organizational leaders, O’Neill says. Farmer, who previously worked as an HR manager in the health care industry, says human resources is ultimately about the golden rule. “It goes back to treating people the way you want to be treated,” she adds.


SPARKPLUG AWARD ANGELA LEPORE/ SIMMONS PET FOOD Angela LePore left the Chicago area in 2015 after graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in animal science to go work for Simmons Pet Food in the small town of Emporia, Kan. But LePore, accustomed to the big-city life, wasn’t so sure about working and living in Emporia, where there are no Cubs, Bears and Chicago-style deepdish pizza. “When I first started with Simmons, I had to keep reminding myself no matter how difficult it was being so far from my family and my home that I needed to give the job at least one year,” she says. LePore ended up falling in love with her job as a senior food technologist for Simmons, the largest private label co-manufacturer of wet pet food in North America. LePore works with the company’s private brand customers to develop new pet food products based on customers’ brand philosophies and innovation requirements. “Coming to work every day is easy when you love what you do,” LePore says. “Being part of the Simmons team is exciting and rewarding. We have such a great work environment that is full of people who are truly passionate about what they do.” In nominating LePore for the Sparkplug Award — given to a woman who is new to store brands (one to five years) and has already made a noticeable impact via professional achievements and personal influence

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for her company, colleagues, customers and/ or the industry — Leah Lambrakis, vice president of the company’s research and development and innovation, said: “Angela was the technical lead in many new key initiatives that Simmons Pet Food rolled out in 2018, and she took each on with drive and passion. She was relentless in making each a success not only for Simmons but most importantly for our customers.” One of the things driving LePore’s success is her love of animals. She and her mother breed Newfoundland dogs. LePore has two Newfies of her own, who live with her in Emporia. She approaches her job much like a restaurant chef would in creating nutritional and palate-pleasing food for diners. For her, creating food for pets is an emotional connection. She understands how pet owners use food to bond with their pets. To be a part of that con-


nection is something she takes earnestly. LePore’s enthusiasm also extends to the retailers she works with to create the formulations they’re seeking. Lambrakis says LePore has embraced the role. “She fully owns the process, from concept to commercialization,” Lambrakis adds. There’s no doubt that LePore has added a spark to Simmons Pet Food’s business. “I try to be enthusiastic with our customers,” she says. “When you’re passionate about something, it can impact the way people react. There is something to be said about creating new products for customers that gives you this sense of accomplishment when you see them on retailers’ store shelves. “My job allows me to be creative in an industry where innovation is such a driving force,” she adds. “I’m thankful to be part of a team that allows me to explore my creativity on a daily basis.” SB


Jill Truitt 2019 Top Woman in Store Brands

Jill is a senior leader in Fortune 200 TreeHouse Foods Inc. Jill’s commitment to driving supply chain improvements has delivered superior results for TreeHouse. Jill’s leadership and management of warehouse operations and freight has seen service levels improve, freight complexity decline and the use of carrier spot market decline to industry leading less than 3%.

Thank you Jill for your passion and commitment to excellence.



Baked Goods • Beverages • Condiments • Meals 800-236-1119

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PRICE RIGHT Retailers that continue to offer lower-cost store brand organic selections are in position to bolster their market share BY R I C H A R D M IT C H E L L

Retailers of store brands continue to be in a prime position to grab an ever-increasing share of the organic food and beverage sector. With many potential shoppers eschewing organic products because of cost concerns, retailers that take advantage of falling organic ingredient costs by bridging the price breach with conventional items can boost activity, analysts state. “While a segment of the population will pay a super premium for organics, the overwhelming majority of consumers are only going to pay a slight premium,” says Jonna Parker, principal in the Fresh Center of Excellence for market research firm Information Resources Inc. (IRI). “Balancing that price gap is essential.” Indeed, private brands, which have been the main driver of organic product launches in recent years, are strongly situated for expansion, reports market researcher Mintel. “With consumers across demographics seeking more


affordable natural and organic products, store brands have the advantage over name brands in being able to offer better prices,” Mintel notes in its July 2019 “The Natural/Organic Food Shopper US” report. “As consumers become more convinced of the quality of these products, there is potential for private label organics to continue moving in on name brand shelf space.” The expansion of organic into a wider array of food channels is further strengthening sales opportunities, Mintel notes. “From traditional supermarkets to warehouse clubs, the growing mainstream presence of natural and organic products has introduced new audiences to brands they may previously have not been exposed to,” Mintel states. THE ORGANIC CUSTOMER While only a tiny segment of adults exclusively seek organic and natural selections, according to Mintel, almost

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TRENDING education levels and ethnicities are increasingly choosing organic products, says Carl Jorgensen, executive vice president with Linkage Research & Consulting Inc. He adds that older consumers also have a growing awareness of organic. A 2019 Linkage study found that 78% of baby boomers report familiarity with the term “organic,” versus 75% for Generation X, 65% for millennials and 59% for Generation Z. In addition, a 2018 Lifestyles and Attitudes survey of 500 U.S. respondents by market researcher Innova Market Insights found that 35.6% would be willing to pay more for selections produced via organic farming. Innova’s 2018 Diet Trends survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers reveals that 51.6% agree that organic food and beverage items are healthier than non-organic options. “That is good news for supermarket retailers planning on increasing space for organic products,” says Tom Vierhile, Innova vice president of strategic insights for North America.

half of all consumers purchase a mix of conventional and organic/natural items, and the majority of consumers purchase organic/natural products at least some of the time, “which bodes well for the future of the market.” Shoppers most likely to buy organic are heads of households between the ages of 36 and 45, are highly educated, digitally savvy, and have incomes of $125,000 or higher, Parker reports. “It’s important to learn what those shoppers are buying and insure there are organic options in those categories,” she notes. There also is greater interest in organics from millennials and Generation Z as such persons “have lived with organics their whole life,” Parker states. “The teenage and early 20s generation can be the next organic growth pocket. They are interested in snacking, small meals, epicurean experiences and spicy, hot and unique flavors, and there are many opportunities to combine organics with those attributes as well.” Yet, wellness-focused shoppers from all income and

HOT CATEGORIES Among categories, vegetables, seasonings, and plain pasta and noodles had the largest number of organic private label new product launches from Jan. 1, 2016, to Aug. 26, 2019, Innova reports. Fruit-based snacks and cheese (semi-hard and hard), meanwhile, were the fastest-growing organic store brand categories with compound annual growth rates of 107% and 106.2%, respectively, a four-fold increase from 2016 to 2018. In addition, the bread products and juices/nectars categories had compound annual growth rates of 98.4% and 85.9% as organic store brands, which were more than a three-fold increase. On the flip side, the slowest growing of the top 30 private label organic launch categories include baby meals, with a 6.5% contraction, tea with a 6.3% decline and spoonable yogurt with a 5.4% contraction. “When consumers think of organic, they tend to think of categories like vegetables as a jumping off point, which may explain why it is the top category in the U.S. for private label organic,” Vierhile says. He adds that the fastest-growing categories for private label and organic tend to be more value-added and in some cases are more likely to appeal to children. “Having children, in fact, is often the trigger event that encourages consumers to go organic so it may not be surprising to see more child-oriented categories posting healthy growth numbers for private label organic,” Vierhile notes. Jorgensen adds that produce, eggs and chicken are the leading organic store brand categories in the fresh section, and that snacks, condiments and dressings / October 2019 / Store Brands

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(Top) Albertsons Cos. offers about 1,500 organic products under its O Organics private brand, which continues to grow. (Top right) The Kroger Co. recently unveiled Simple Truth Plant Based, a line of plant-based food products that are now part of the retailer’s $2 billion organic and natural brand. (Right) Trader Joe’s offers hundreds of organic products, including shelf-stable soup. “are where the hot growth action is” in the center store. Because it also is important that consumers seeking organic products are able to easily locate the selections in stores, Parker says it is preferable for retailers to integrate organic items with conventional options instead of having a separate organic section. “Consumers don’t want to have to run all over the store to find organic products,” agrees Angela Jagiello, director of education and insights for the Washington, D.C.-based Organic Trade Association. “Merchandising by category not only eliminates the scavenger hunt, but makes comparing labels and prices much less of a chore for shoppers.” The organic status of products “also should be apparent at a glance,” Jorgensen adds. “The more categories that are covered by an organic private brand, the more opportunities there will be for retailers to develop loyalty and basket size.” HOW TO MERCHANDISE Merchandisers can effectively spotlight organic products with shelf tags or other case signage, and also use online promotions to attract younger and more digitally savvy consumers, Parker says. “Communication and making organic options very much apparent in the aisle is crucial,” she states.


Because there often are organic private branded products with a common brand name found in many product categories, store brands are in better position than national brands to resonate with shoppers, Parker says, noting that “building a brand and showing that connection across the aisles is an asset that is underutilized.” Telling a story on the packaging also can make the brand more appealing, she states. Such stories can build trust by, for instance, telling how the retailer takes the utmost care in selecting partners to manufacture its organic products and also follows stringent quality guidelines, Parker says. “Don’t be afraid to educate on-pack, in-store, or through social media channels about the benefits of organic,” Jagiello adds. “Differentiating the products helps shoppers understand why they are unique and why they command a premium — even in private label. Also, educating about the features and benefits of organic helps retailers garner organic credibility with shoppers.” To optimize organic sales, it’s essential that the products stand out from the growing array of other better-for-you

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KEY TAKEAWAYS • With consumers across demographics seeking more affordable natural and organic products, store brands have the advantage over name brands in being able to offer better prices, market researcher Mintel states in its July 2019 “The Natural/ Organic Food Shopper US” report. • While only a tiny segment of adults exclusively seek organic and natural selections, almost half of all consumers purchase a mix of conventional and organic/ natural items, and the majority of consumers purchase organic/ natural products at least some of the time, “which bodes well for the future of the market,” market researcher Mintel reports. • Shoppers most likely to buy organic are heads of households between the ages of 36 and 45; are highly educated; digitally savvy; and have incomes of $125,000 or higher, according to Information Resources Inc. • 78% of baby boomers report familiarity with the term “organic,” versus 75% for Generation X, 65% for millennials and 59% for Generation Z, according to Linkage Research & Consulting Inc. • Innova Market Insight’s 2018 Diet Trends survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers reveals that 51.6% agree that organic food and beverage items are healthier than non-organic options.

items, including options that display plant-based, cage-free, nonGMO, Paleo and regenerative claims, Jorgensen notes. “Organic is in danger of being drowned out by the noise,” he states. “There is an overall shortage of organic products as supply has failed to keep pace with demand. Retailers that can build a reputation of having a wide selection of organic items are positioned to win.” Such retailers include Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Cos., which offers about 1,500 products across 180 categories under its private label O Organics brand. Albertsons is steadily growing its O Organics line and benefits from the increasing availability of organic ingredients, which is reducing the cost barriers of producing USDA-certified organic products, says Geoff White, Albertsons Cos.’ executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. “It has allowed us to expand our O Organics portfolio throughout the store,” he states. “While most shoppers enter organic categories in fresh produce, dairy and baby products, offering O Organics across the entire store gives us many opportunities to tell shoppers about the benefits that organics provide.” Albertsons Cos. promotes O Organics with multiple marketing and merchandising campaigns throughout the year that include the use of in-store signage and samplings, social media through influences, digital messages and loyalty card offers. But despite the growing popularity of organic, some consumers will not be swayed by product claims regardless of the marketing angle, Mintel states, including those who think the claims are misleading or meaningless and who value taste over ingredients. “Among consumers who purchase natural and organic products, those who understand the nuances of these claims are in the minority,” Mintel reports. “Claims confusion may undermine the value of natural and organic products, as well as give more credence to nonGMO claims even in cases where they have little or no meaning.” It’s important, therefore, for organic retailers to experiment with merchandising to determine the method that resonates best with their customers, says Doug Baker, vice president of industry relations for the Arlington, Va.-based Food Marketing Institute (FMI). “Shopping organic is more of a consumer belief state that reflects their personal commitment to the environment, their perception of well-being or even awareness of social issues,” he notes. “While younger generations tend to buy more organic products, it is definitely not exclusive to them.” Determining the optimal amount of organic private label products to offer in stores, meanwhile, will result in part from the study of customer demographics and shopping habits, Baker states. “The number will fluctuate from store to store within a company or banner,” he notes. Merchandisers also can help gauge the need for specific private label organic options by studying frequent shopper card data, Parker says. If a consumer bought organic salad, for instance, retailers can view other items in the basket and decide if organic selections should be available in those categories as well to prevent organic-minded customers from shopping elsewhere, she notes. SB Mitchell is a contributing writer to Store Brands. / October 2019 / Store Brands

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CHECK OUT SOME OF THE COMPANIES THAT WILL EXHIBIT AT THE UPCOMING PRIVATE LABEL TRADE SHOW The theme for this year’s Private Label Trade Show is “Store Brands Make Things Happen.” Considering what’s going on in the private label industry, the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) couldn’t have picked a better subject. According to PLMA’s “2019 Private Label Yearbook,” total sales of private branded consumer packaged goods increased 5% across all retail channels in 2018 when compared to the previous year. Sales were $130.3 billion in 2018 compared to $124.1 billion in 2017. Sales of brands climbed 1.2% in 2018 when compared to 2017. Total sales of brands were $567.3 billion in 2018. The statistics are based on Nielsen data. Private label market share has reached nearly 25% of unit sales in the U.S. and is expanding faster than national brands, according to PLMA. “Retailers coast to coast have committed themselves to an aggressive store brands strategy while specialty chains are using their own brands to create shopper loyalty unheard of only a few years ago,” PLMA stated. Buyers from every channel will be at the 2019 Private Label Trade Show, set for Nov. 17-19 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill. More than 1,500 companies from 40 countries will be exhibiting their products, including 25 international pavilions. Exhibitors range from small- and medium-size companies to well-known national brand makers who also supply store brands.


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Catania Oils

Furlani’s Food Corp.

Catania Oils is a privately held fourth-generation family business that expanded from its modest roots to a multimillion dollar supplier of quality oils for retail, food service and bulk customers. The company provides both branded and private label oils. Check out the company’s Bag-in-Box Fresh Harvest Extra Virgin Olive Oil and its small retail private label capabilities during the show.

Furlani is North America’s leading manufacturer of valueadded bread. Its specialties are garlic bread, garlic toast, biscuits and breadsticks. It is the largest supplier of frozen grocery private label programs and the “Side-Bread Experts” to the foodservice trade. Furlani’s Food Corp. 877-317-7146 Booth #3719

Catania Oils 800-343-5522 Booth #2211


Great Lakes Cheese For 60 years, Great Lakes Cheese has been committed to its customers’ success by investing in people, technology and facilities, and practicing sustainable, ethical sourcing processes to deliver awardwinning, natural and process bulk-shredded, sliced and snack cheese. Great Lakes Cheese 440-834-3552 Booth #F9510

★★★ 34

Global Tissue Group Inc. Through excellence in product delivery to innovative manufacturing processes, Global Tissue Group (GTG) has become a leading converter of household paper products. GTG is one of the few converters to provide three levels of paper quality: standard, premium and ultra-premium. With all the success in innovation, GTG is the low-cost provider of highquality store brand paper products for all retail channels. Global Tissue Group, Inc. 631-419-1300 Booth #H1506


Italian Rose Garlic Products LLC Italian Rose is the leading producer of fresh, refrigerated, produce-based salsa and bruschetta. The company also manufactures dips, sauces and garlic products in both South Florida and Southern California. Fresh, natural and organic recipes are available. Italian Rose Garlic Products LLC 800-338-8899 Booth #F7610



J&J Snack Foods Corp. J&J Snack Foods Corp. is the leading snack foods manufacturer. Our growing portfolio of products includes soft pretzels, frozen beverages, frozen juice treats, churros, funnel cake and other snack foods. The company’s growth is a result of strategic, innovative and niche product offerings for consumers to enjoy across both national and international markets. J&J Snack Foods Corp. 888-JJSNACK Booth #F1317


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LET’S TALK MARGINS. AT PLMA ISLAND BOOTH H 2105. As your private label paper partner, our job is to help drive your margins in the paper aisle. By helping to rationalize and build your paper program with our flexible manufacturing capabilities. By producing the best quality private label household paper products at the best price. And by delivering your products exactly when and where you need them. Let’s discuss how we can help. E-mail Steve Saraf, VP of sales, at to schedule a convenient time, or simply stop by our booth.

Full range of ultra, premium, FSC


Certified, recycled, and traditional paper grades

Paper towels, bath tissue, napkins and facial tissues Flexible, custom manufacturing, packaging, and display units

Pre-packaged Azure, Daisy, Delicate Touch and Earth First control brands for lower volume requirements.

Visit us at


PLMA Island Booth H 2105 or


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Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA Consumers are realizing that purchases give them the power to vote. By purchasing products that are Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ and organic, they fight poverty and help the farmers grow healthy, safe food. Increased focus on environmental concerns urges companies to re-evaluate packaging offerings. MZB strives to inspire the need to protect the planet and farmers with packaging and premium coffee options. Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA corporatebrands 757-215-7300 Booth #F7405


Oka Products Oka Products has over 18 years of production and distribution experience in the food and beverage industry. Its high-quality portfolio of brands offers innovative product options at the best possible prices. The company also does private label projects led by the company’s Private Projects. Since consumers are always looking for new brands that are nutritious, great tasting and high in quality, the company made sure that it ticked all those boxes. It offers premium products with the highest profit margins on the market. Oka Products 305-614-1192 Booth #F1455


Private Brands Consortium (PBC) Inc. PBC is your “One Stop Shop” for dynamic private label categories such as baby and toddler foods and snacks, toddler formula, aseptic broths and plant-based beverages and meal replacements. With more than 30 years of experience and inhouse research and development, the company is committed to offering its customers the highest value and outstanding customer service. Private Brands Consortium (PBC) Inc. 514-768-4122 Booth #2146 x 2247



Red Gold

Resolute Tissue

Seneca Foods Corp.

Four generations of the Reichart family have been producing premium-quality tomato products for over 75 years. In 1942, the family began producing tomato products for the soldiers overseas. Since then, Red Gold has become the largest privately owned tomato processor in the nation. The company partners with family farms to sustainably produce premiumquality canned tomatoes, ketchup, sauces, salsas and juices.

Resolute Tissue is a vertically integrated tissue producer. Featuring SFI Certified Fiber Sourcing, it produces a range of bath tissue and towel products from ultra-premium to value for leading retailers’ private label needs. Additional capabilities include color emboss and scented cores.

Seneca Foods ensures U.S. farm-fresh goodness through its 26 facilities located in prime American growing regions. A leading global provider of packaged fruits and vegetables, Seneca’s flexible packaging solutions meet evolving consumer needs: from traditional cans and frozen foods to convenient pouches and plastic cups. Organic options are also available.

Red Gold 765-557-5500, Ext. 1310 Booth #F7205

★★★ 36

Resolute Tissue 844-973-0258 PLMA Private Meeting Room, Hilton Rosemont


Seneca Foods Corp. 608-757-6000 Booth #200


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The Fremont Company

U.S. Alliance Paper Inc.

The Fremont Company has been manufacturing ketchup for over 90 years. It is one of North America’s leading private brand ketchup producers and the only one focused exclusively on its partners’ brands and businesses. The Fremont Company specializes in meeting the unique needs of selective American retailers, consumer packaged goods companies and international retailers/brand owners.

U.S. Alliance Paper, one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of private label household paper products, will showcase its custom manufacturing capabilities and its premium and channel-specific control brands for lower-volume retailers during the show. The company will also discuss opportunities and options for its customers to help grow their margins while satisfying both their brand-loyal and value-conscious consumers.

The Fremont Company 419-334-8995 Booth #F2308


U.S. Alliance Paper Inc. 631-254-3030 Booth #H2105 Island


Westrock Coffee Roasting LLC Westrock Coffee is a vertically integrated coffee company working in every part of the supply chain from the farmer to the consumer. Its unique business model allows it to offer high-quality products, pricing and service while creating positive change around the world. Westrock Coffee Roasting LLC 501-975-1514 Booth #F3246

★★★ / October 2019 / Store Brands

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Flexible packaging can help private brands to differentiate and be more sustainable By Lawrence Aylward



lexible packaging companies say they can help retailers and manufacturers of private branded consumer packaged goods with the key elements of which they are looking to improve their products, including making them more distinct and sustainable. Let’s start with distinct, which is the gateway to differentiation. “Many retail brands are offering premium quality private label products that need to stand apart,” says Nathan Klettlinger, the market manager of food for Cincinnati-based ProAmpac. “Whether it be shape, size, color, texture material or finish — flexible packaging offers a multitude of options for standout packaging.” Differentiation through convenience can also be achieved, says Rebecca Casey, vice president of marketing and consumer market development for Chicagobased TC Transcontinental Packaging. Casey says retailers and manufacturers can use flexible packaging to meet their consumers’ needs and lifestyles with convenience features such as easy to open, resealability, portability and one-handed use. Dave Johnson, director of global business development/flexibles for Crystal Lake, Ill.-based Aptar, notes that the surface area on a flexible package can create a billboard effect, which catches consumers’ attention and makes the product stand out on the shelf. “Essentially, the package isn’t only more visually appealing, but it also delights consumers with superior functionality and overall packaging experience,” Johnson adds. With its high-end flexographic printing possibilities, flexible

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packaging is an excellent tool for communicating a brand message, Casey notes. “It not only meets the needs of retailers to attract consumers with great design and graphics, but also to educate consumers on the product,” she adds. At Elkay Plastics based in Commerce, Calif., Director of Strategic Marketing Glen Adamik says the company spends a lot of time on achieving variety and availability to help its customers of private brands to differentiate. “Variety helps brands apply their products to bestfit packaging, which could be meaningless without just-in-time availability, which is why the strong relationships we’ve established with local distributors is so important,” he adds. Weijia Zhang, business development manager for Brampton, Ontario-based Peel Plastic Products DOLLAR GENERAL USES FLEXIBLE PACKAGING FOR PRODUCTS IN ITS GOOD & SMART PRIVATE BRAND.

SFI-01867 / October 2019 / Store Brands

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Limited, says demand for flexible packaging is increasing and has been adopted across more product categories than ever. “As more retailers enhance their private brand offerings to match or beat national brands, flexible packaging has been seen as an easy way to commercialize,” he says. “Coupled with the fact that it is lightweight and operationally efficient, it presents a win-win for retailers and manufacturers alike, who are dealing with significantly more SKUs than ever.” Sustainability is a major component of flexible packaging and a big reason that more retailers and manufacturers are interested in using it. Flexible packaging companies say that it requires less packaging material, less energy to manufacture and less fuel to transport than other materials. “Consumers are very aware of the growing global concern regarding the environment and the impact that packaging has on our planet, and they want to be part of the solution for a better environment,” Casey adds. “As a flexible packaging manufacturer, we offer products that have less of an environmental impact throughout their entire life cycle than other existing packaging options.” TC Transcontinental Packaging uses a circular approach in every step of its product design to be more sustainable, Casey says. “To ensure long-term change, we believe that all the players from across the supply chain should be involved and accountable to create the perfect sustainable packaging,” Casey adds. “We believe we need to work as a team with the CPG companies to reach this objective together.” Klettlinger says ProAmpac recently introduced the ProActive Sustainability platform, which encompasses the various ways the company reduces its environmental



FLEXIBLE PACKAGING IS LIGHTWEIGHT AND OPERATIONALLY EFFICIENT. impact at its sites and increases the sustainability of its flexible packaging portfolio. “We have packaging products that are recyclable, compostable, contain post-consumer content and contain renewable bio-based resins,” he says. “Depending on the customer’s strategy, we have a variety of options to help retailers and manufacturers meet their sustainability goals.” Zhang says Peel Plastic Products Limited has been actively working on sustainability solutions. “We have helped a number of brands to launch with sugarcane based bio-plastics as a carbon footprint reduction,” he adds. “We are commercializing postconsumer recycled material in flexible packaging. And we have just also launched a full suite of recycle-ready box, quad and stand-up pouches for brand owners focused on recyclability. Most importantly,

and a common theme across all three solutions, is that we want to make sure our packaging still provides equal on-shelf presence, the same at-home convenience, and uncompromising product protection and shelf life.” For all the flexible packaging companies, sustainability is an ongoing goal. In March, TC Transcontinental Packaging joined the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. By doing so, the company has committed that 100% of its plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and it will achieve a 10% use of post-consumer recycled content on average by weight across all plastics in the company’s product offering. TC Transcontinental Packaging recently launched a sustainable line of packaging for private branded CPG products called vieVERTE,

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which means “green life” in French and is a tribute to the company’s Quebec roots. The products in the line are engineered to provide an end-of-life solution for flexible packaging, Casey says. “vieVERTe sustainable products provide all the benefits of flexible packaging including barrier, strength, performance, shelf stability and graphic appeal, while supporting a responsible end-oflife solution,” she adds. One of ProAmpac’s latest developments is the ProActive Recyclable R-1000 standard and high-barrier film for form/fill/ seal applications. “A fully recyclable film prequalified with the How2Recycle program for in-store drop off, R-1000 is engineered to run at higher speeds on form/fill/seal machines compared to traditional PE films,” Klettlinger says. ProAmpac’s ProActive Sustainability, a registered trademark, is a dedicated initiative to deliver greener materials and packaging solutions to the market place, Klettlinger notes. There are four main product development areas — recyclable, post-consumer recycled content, renewable and compostable. Recently, ProAmpac has had commercial success delivering a high-barrier pouch that contains 25% post-consumer recycled material, Klettlinger says. Aptar’s STANDCAP pouch technology, which provides a controlled and hygienic dispensing experience, provides 99% product evacuation and minimizes product waste. The STANDCAP pouch takes less material to produce and reduces fossil fuel consumption by 65%, greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 78%, and water usage by 81% when compared to glass containers, Johnson says. Elkay Plastics recently introduced

a coated-paper-based line of fully compostable and marine-safe packaging called Composta, which comes in both flexible pouches and films for on-the-shelf display, as well as rigid food containers for grab-n-go items. “We’ve approached greater

sustainable packaging with a no-half measures mindset in that we’ve gone beyond recyclability to packaging that is responsibly sourced from renewable materials, uses natural inks and is fully compostable,” Adamik says. SB

At Seneca, we're still doing things the way we always have - the right way. Think globally, grow locally.


of our produce is grown by AMERICAN FARMERS

Please visit to learn more about our company, people and products. / October 2019 / Store Brands

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SMOOTH MOVE Cold brew coffee is no mere fad. Steeped 12 hours or more in unheated water, cold brew has amassed a loyal following among the younger set for its smooth texture and sweeter taste compared to drip and iced coffee. Its expansion from specialty coffee shops onto grocery shelves in ready-to-drink (RTD) cans and bottles has contributed to the sector’s impressive growth in recent years, according to market researchers. “It’s really the younger consumers driving this market,” says Caleb Bryant, associate director of food and drink for market research firm Mintel.

Coffee Private Brands

All Brands

Dollar Sales (in millions)



Change vs. Year Ago



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Change vs. Year Ago



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DO consider offering a store brand line of cold brew coffee if you aren’t already. Cold brew is here to stay and is growing.

DON’T discount the convenience factor of RTD cold brew coffee. Consumers want more convenience. 42

Cold brew has provided an entry point into the coffee market for young consumers not only because they like its more pronounced coffee flavor, but also because it’s available nearly everywhere (like convenience stores), Bryant notes. A third of Gen Z (coffee drinkers 22 and younger) have had cold brew in the last month, Bryant reports. Cold brew has been popular with millennials (aged 23 to 38) for a while, but Gen X consumers (aged 39 to 54) are not immune to its charms either, Bryant adds. “There’s an opportunity to target Gen X — they are interested in premium coffee drinks,” he says. “A premium RTD cold brew positioned in the right way could definitely appeal to Gen Xers.” Younger consumers favor a wide variety of coffee drinks, including flavored RTD beverages (cold brew among them), and are responsible for driving major shifts in coffee consumption trends, Mintel observes in its July report, “Coffee U.S.” The New York Times saw this coming. Cold brew changed the coffee business, and the United States is becoming a cold-brew nation, as many millennials make it their drink of choice, the newspaper declared in a June 5, 2017, article written by Oliver Strand. Asked which RTD coffee beverage they drank most often, flavored cold brew coffee was the choice of 32% of those aged 18 to 34, 26% of the 35 to 44 age group, 22% of those aged 45 to 54 and 6% of the 55 and older group, according to a Lightspeed/Mintel online poll of 2,000 adults conducted for the report. INNOVATION, CONVENIENCE Convenience and the popularity of innovations such as cold brew drove significant growth in the coffee market (and in particular the RTD coffee market) from 2013 to 2018, according to Packaged Facts’ “U.S. Food Market Outlook, 2019 (Coffee).” Sales of all RTD coffee increased a whopping 84% from 2014 to 2019, Bryant reports. RTD coffee sales increased another 11% from 2016 to 2018, reports Packaged Facts. This compares to an increase of slightly more than 1% in traditional ground and whole bean coffee for the same period. Innovations (and millennials) are driving the growth of cold brew, agrees Tyler Kneubuehl, director of marketing and analytics for Berner Food & Beverage in Dakota, Ill.

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ALL COFFEES ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL. Massimo Zanetti takes pride in providing high quality coffee while improving lives and protecting the planet.


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9/23/19 8:16 AM 10/6/19 7:18 PM

CATEGORY INTELLIGENCE COLD BREW COFFEE Refrigerated Ready-to-Drink Coffee Private Brands

All Brands

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Private Brands

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Source: Market Advantage, IRI Liquid Data, 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 August 11, 2019.

Berner makes milk-based RTD coffee and tea beverages for private label retailers, including cold brew coffee in caramel, vanilla and mocha flavors; iced lattes; coffee energy beverages; and coffee nutrition beverages. As consumers continue to shift away from traditional carbonated soft drinks, sales of RTD coffee drinks are expected to continue to grow, Packaged Facts states. Increasingly, consumers are reaching for higher-priced, gourmet, small batch, local, niche and artisanal coffees, Packaged Facts adds. It’s even possible that RTD coffee could end up leading the entire coffee segment, given its strong following among influential and growing groups such as young consumers, Hispanics, lower- and middle-income consumers, Mintel projects. Cold brew’s unique flavor profile has much to do with its success, Bryant says. “Taste is most important. The customization aspect is also important,” he adds. “You can get it flavored, unflavored, sweetened or unsweetened.” There’s also an uptick of interest in cold brew that has some type of texture component, whether it’s creamy nitro cold brew, sparkling cold brew or citrusflavored sparkling cold brew, the latter which seems to be functioning as a direct competitor to soda pop, Bryant notes. Its variations allow it to appeal to different consumers and consumption occasions.

BIG DIFFERENCE Your customers want to know more about their cup of coffee. That is why our team works from crop to cup to create some of the finest coffees in the world on behalf of our partners. We source, roast, package, and distribute ground, whole bean, liquid, and single serve coffee. Visit to learn more.

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“Carbonated and nitrogenated offerings are affecting mouthfeel and unique flavors (including cayenne) are also driving innovation,” Kneubuehl says. Innovations in flavor and textures, which are ongoing throughout the Starbucks chain, are “all building on what has been the success of cold brew,” Bryant adds. Flavor innovation in the packaged retail market is ongoing as well, Bryant says, pointing to examples like Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coconut Cream Lattes (in original and caramel spice flavors). “By and large, consumers do prefer a flavored coffee,” he adds. The Kroger Co.’s Simple Truth Organic private label offers RTD cold brew vanilla Arabica and cold brew black brew Arabica Fair Trade coffee in 12-ounce cans. The label also includes 32-ounce jars of refrigerated, preservative-free cold brew concentrate in original, toasted coconut, French vanilla, Kona blend and French roast flavors. Innovations around dairy substitutes, such as oat milk, are another important trend, and health-conscious consumers are taking notice, Kneubuehl adds. And now for something completely different: convenience store chain 7-Eleven’s private label Fizzics Sparkling Cold Brew Coffee, launched in mid-2018, adds a twist with self-chilling cans. The cans cool the coffee in 75 to 90 seconds after the user turns the can upside down and twists the base until a hissing sound is heard. The cans are recyclable, but increase product costs and retail price, Packaged Facts reports. Future innovations to look for include draft latte cold brew (a creamy coffee milk drink served on tap that was introduced by La Colombe Coffee Roasters) and more complex flavors such as salted caramel, whisky, oak and botanicals, Packaged Facts says. Flash brew and cannabidiol (CBD) coffee are also future trends to watch out for, Mintel notes. In private label, “we’ve seen the most success come from introducing a National Brand Equivalent (cold brew) and then spinning unique products off of that,” Kneubuehl reports. Cold brew is a good fit for private brands because it can come in at a slightly lower price point than name brands, allowing consumers to try out new products without much risk, Bryant adds, pointing to a Mintel survey that showed about 21% of consumers think cold brew coffee is too expensive. “I definitely think it’s something that’s here to stay. If it was a fad it would have died away by now, but instead we’re seeing growth and innovation,” Bryant adds. “It’s not going anywhere anytime soon,” Kneubuehl agrees. SB

Vi Bo P sit ot LM us a h #F A t 23 ! 08


Ken Pond Plant Manager and Ketchup Expert 22+ Years Experience


EXPERTS! Meet our new Plant Manager, Ken Pond. For over 22 years, Ken has learned everything there is to know about the formulation of ketchup. It’s a science & an art. What does that mean for our private brand ketchup customers? Everything. Ken, along with our entire team of Ketchup Experts, can expertly craft your ketchup brand into serving your customers what they crave. Better-for-You ingredients and a high-quality taste that your customers want along with the flexibility and complete focus that you need. Partner with The Fremont Company for all of your private brand ketchup needs and give your customers what they want. CAPABILITIES INCLUDE:

Organic | Non GMO | Kosher | Better for You | Export

The Fremont Company • Renee Hicks • 419.455.4384 / October 2019 / Store Brands

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DO offer innovative products that up the ante on flavor exploration to drive shopper engagement and reinforce program exclusivity.

Indian food evokes the senses like no other cuisine. Just ask those adventure-seeking millennials — they are big fans. Who can blame them? The warm smell of spices, the heat of the sauces and the colorful ingredients all combine to create rich and flavorful meals. With the increased interest and acceptance of ethnic and exotic foods, the general Asian food category is poised to take off. Just look at the numbers. According to recent data from market researcher Information Resources Inc. (IRI), sales of all brands for Asian food were up almost 9% in the 52 weeks ending Aug. 11, 2019 (see table). But the real story is the growth in private brands. Sales were up 19%, while unit sales managed to grow 14.5%. The search for flavor discovery is driving innovation across categories. But while Indian food specifically is no longer a niche concept, the right balance is still needed to help reduce the risk of trying something new. “To overcome this challenge, we are seeing more and more retailers and manufacturers take an 80/20 approach to global flavor,” says Nicole Peranick, senior director of retail transformation at Daymon, an agency that specializes in building private brands programs for its clients. “That is, 80% approachable and 20% innovative to intrigue, but not turn off,” Peranick explains. These product types allow consumers to experiment with Indian foods and flavors through more approachable formats. “Think cardamom-pistachio ice cream, tandoori

DON’T forget the convenience factor. Packaging formats like heatand-eat and frozen single entrees are important for success.


Store Brands / October 2019 /

chicken pizza with naan as the crust, butter chicken spring rolls, pakorabreaded chicken strips, ‘bowlified’ Indian dishes and street food shareables,” Peranick suggests. She predicts that private brand innovation that ups the ante on flavor exploration in this way will drive shopper engagement and reinforce program exclusivity. While the bold flavors of Indian food may be on trend, the same can also be said for the quality and type of its ingredients. As a result of its overall health perception compared to the typical American diet, retailers and manufacturers are incorporating Indian spices and staples to enhance the wellness profiles of their products. “Thanks to a host of wellness ties and connectivity to its indigenous Ayurvedic diet, traditional Indian spices and staples are becoming more commonplace as retailers and manufacturers incorporate them as key ingredients into everyday products to enhance their wellness profiles, as well as to dedicate more space on shelf to integrate these items into standard assortments,” Peranick says. Deepak “Deep” Amin, CEO of Deep Foods Inc. in Union Township, N.J., agrees. “Indian diets traditionally utilize ingredients that are on-trend such as turmeric, ginger, coconut and cumin,” he says, “which are being recognized for their health and wellness benefits.” Much of traditional Indian diets focus on gluten-free, vegetarian, and plant-based foods that are high in fiber and low in saturated fat, he points out. “Chickpeas, for instance, are nutrient-dense and are often used in the cuisine like in our plant-based chickpea masala,” Amin says. “You can also find the use of iron and calcium-rich spinach in dishes like our spinach paneer, among others.” But those flavor-craving millennials are still short on time. Preparing Indian food can be time-consuming and complicated. Packaging formats like heat-and-eat and frozen single entrees would fit right in to their onthe-go lifestyles. Trader Joe’s Yellow Tadka Dal features yellow lentils in a sauce of tomatoes, green chili peppers, butter, oil and features various warm spices. The private branded vegetarian product is available in a 10-ounce, microwaveable pouch. In the frozen section, garbanzo beans are the star of Trader Joe’s 10-ounce channa masala and are sautéed



with onions, tomatoes, peppers and spices including cumin and fenugreek. Deep Foods’ Amin draws a correlation between global cuisine in restaurants and what consumers are shopping for in the frozen aisle. “We’re finding the fast-casual restaurant experience allows consumers the opportunity to try a cuisine that can oftentimes be complex for the home cook to replicate if [that person] isn’t familiar with the cooking process,” he explains. Filling the freezer case with frozen private label Indian food makes it more accessible to those consumers craving more adventurous eating experiences. Amin anticipates the mainstream grocery sector will be widely impacted by the rising popularity of Indian cuisine resulting in expanded offerings. “With popularity strong in commonly recognized items like tikka masala and spinach paneer,” he explains, “we forecast the growing interest in exploring ethnic cuisine will drive expanded attention to regional specialties such as chickpea masala, lamb lindaloo and cauliflower korma, among others.” For retailers who are still contemplating incorporating Indian food into their own branded offerings, what are you waiting for? Consumer interest is there, but restaurants are not fueling the trend as much as social media.

“Thanks to social media and the growing impact of the influencer community,” Peranick says, “many food trends are starting online as everyday consumers become home inventors and showcase their new and innovative food creations on social media to inspire others.” The old days and ways of tracking food trends is firmly in the past. “Consumers are breaking all the rules, and progressive retailers are being agile in evolving their private brand programs accordingly,” Peranick says. “The time is now to accept, embrace and evolve. Those who don’t will be left behind.” SB

Asian Food

Private Brands

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Dollar Sales (in millions)



Change vs. Year Ago



Dollar Share



Unit Sales (in millions)



Change vs. Year Ago



Avg. Price Per Unit



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 Aug. 11, 2019.


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DO consider nut butters flavored with maple syrup, chocolate and other sweets to differentiate. DON’T forget to promote the health and wellness features of nut butters, especially the protein aspect.

In a category that’s all good-tasting, plant-based nutrition that provides bang for the buck proteinwise, nut butter varieties are popping up to fill all sorts of niches. For the price-conscious, nothing beats mass-produced peanut butter. For the purity-conscious, there is natural peanut butter made without added oil (partially hydrogenated or otherwise), though it separates and requires stirring. Almond butter is more naturally sweet, reducing the need for added sugars. Seed butters don’t trigger peanut and other tree nut allergies. For on-thego consumers and athletes, there are single-serve packs. For those with a sweet tooth, there’s any number of nut butters with added maple syrup, chocolate, hazelnut spread and other dessert-y additions. Variety itself is a trend in the food business, says Diane Longanbach, a Michigan State University (MSU) extension educator and an MSU product center innovation counselor. Longanbach works with start-up food and value-added agriculture companies in 17 Michigan counties to assess their development phase and to provide guidance in product development, business planning, processing, labeling, pricing and other advice. Nutrition-packed nut butters and seed butters are being marketed to athletes and health and fitness-oriented consumers “because they are a protein and a (good) fat bomb,” Longanbach says. They are also a natural for kids and smoothie lovers. Overall, “more and more consumers, it seems, want a meat alternative,” Longanbach notes. “Nut spreads have an opportunity to grow beyond breakfast and the sports world into other uses for fueling in-between meals.” Seed butters have the potential to take off as an al-

Nut Butters Private Brands

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Dollar Sales (in millions)



Change vs. Year Ago



Dollar Share



Unit Sales (in millions)



Change vs. Year Ago



Avg. Price Per Unit



Source: Market Advantage, IRI Liquid Data, 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 August 11, 2019.


ternative for people with peanut and tree nut allergies, Longanbach adds. Naturally Nutty Foods in Williamsburg, Mich., makes small batch, gourmet, organic and natural pumpkin seed butter, sunflower seed butter, peanut butter and almond butter in a variety of flavors. The company’s butters contain organic ground flaxseed and hemp seeds and chia seeds for a nutritional boost. Katie Kearney, a vegan mom who wanted healthier, purer versions of peanut butter for her family, developed her own recipes and founded Naturally Nutty along with husband Tim Kearney in 2007. She serves as company president and Tim serves as vice president for the company, which offers products for private brands. The company’s health-forward nut and seed butters are made without using additional oils and with a short list of ingredients, which their customers appreciate, Tim Kearney says. Naturally Nutty also keeps the use of added salt and organic sugar in its butters to a minimum. “Our benchmark is 5 grams of sugar or less per two tablespoons [a typical serving], Kearney says. “We have some products with 1 gram or zero grams” of sugar per serving. Seed butters have been Naturally Nutty’s fastestgrowing product category, Kearney says. “The seed butters have a good flavor and texture. We have a lot of customers who prefer sunflower butter to peanut butter,” he adds. Because people are so used to peanut butter, it can be difficult to get them to try another type, Kearney admits. That’s why sampling is so vital. Consumers who try alternatives sometimes find they prefer the subtler flavor of non-peanut butters, he says. Adding flavors to nut and seed butters is a good product differentiator for private label, Kearney adds. “If you can do some flavors, even if they’re milder flavors, those are always nice additions,” he adds. Naturally Nutty makes flavored butters, including organic honey-roasted cinnamon peanut butter, organic vanilla peanut butter, butter toffee peanut butter and cherry butter toffee peanut butter, among others. Packaging has a lot to do with a product’s success, both to attract the consumer at the shelf and to facilitate the consumption itself, Longanbach notes. “We encourage companies to put as much money into graphic artwork as possible and sample the heck out of [the product] in stores,” she says, adding that sampling allows retailers to tell their stories and put a face to their products. SB

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$11.3 $517.7 MILLION

Dollar sales of private branded potato chips from Jan. 27, 2018, through Jan. 27, 2019. Sales increased nearly 5% from the previous year. Source: Information Resources Inc.


The estimated size of the U.S. salty snack market, and it’s expected to grow to $180 billion by 2022. Source: Mintel

Potato Chips


The estimated size of the U.S. potato chip market in sales by 2025, growing at a compounded annual rate of 4.4%. Source: Research and Markets


The percentage of Americans who say they snack during the day. In 1970s, 60% of Americans said they snacked during the day.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING “The worst thing about television is that everybody you see on television is doing something better than what you’re doing. You never see anybody on TV just sliding off the front of the sofa, with potato chip crumbs all over their shirt.” — Comedian Jerry Seinfeld

Source: Source: USDA



The number of pounds of potato chips, or about 6.6 pounds per person, eaten by Americans annually.


The day designated as Potato Chip Day. Source:

Source: Associated Press


The year chef George Crum served paper-thin potatoes cooked until they were crisp to a customer in his Saratoga Springs, N.Y., restaurant. “Saratoga Chips” became a menu favorite, but potato chips didn’t gain widespread popularity until they were mass-produced in the 1920s. Source:


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Solving Big Problems, Inspiring Bold Ideas EnsembleIQ is a premier business intelligence resource that believes in Solving Big Problems and Inspiring Bold Ideas. Our brands work in harmony to inform, connect, and provide predictive analysis for retailers, consumer goods manufacturers, technology vendors, marketing agencies and service providers. EnsembleIQ’s integrated suite of solutions-based, total-market resources give you all the tools you need to achieve a strategic market advantage, giving you the insights, positioning, focus, and access, along with a team of dedicated strategic consultants to help you bring it all to life.


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