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Congratulations on 25 winning categories!

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When you choose to partner with Massimo Zanetti Beverage for your coffee program, you ensure that your brand delivers what today’s consumers demand. With triple certifications that promote that we adhere to rigid standards of sustainability, you can confidently trust that every coffee product on your shelf was grown, manufactured and packaged with care and consideration for our global resources.



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Rising Stars From chefs to analysts to product managers, meet the 2021 Rising Stars in Private Label growing private brands

26 52 16 JCPenney Q&A

A visit with the chain’s chief merchandising officer

20 Editors’ Picks

The best new products of 2021

52 Report: Home Goods The housewares and home goods category is thriving


Editor’s Note


Industry News





Store Brands (ISSN-0190-9851; USPS # 0488-370) is published monthly, except January, May, July, December by EnsembleIQ, 8550 W. Bryn Mawr, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631. Subscriptions: One year, $100; two years, $182. One year, Canada $118; two years, $215 One year, foreign $135; two years, $225. One year, digital $70; two year, $130.Single copies $14 US, Canada & foreign $16. 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 Chicago, IL and additional mailing offices. Printed in USA. POSTMASTER: send all address changes to Store Brands PO Box 3200 Northbrook, IL 60065-3200. Copyright 2020 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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LET’S TALK BEVERAGES SEPT. 29 MARKS THE NEXT STORE BRANDS INDUSTRY FORUM ON COFFEE, TEA, DAIRY, NONALCOHOLIC AND ALCOHOLIC TRENDS If you’re getting the newsletter and our online communications, you might’ve noticed that we’re getting hot and heavy into virtual events here at Store Brands. In June, I moderated our first Store Brands Industry Summit, featuring a keynote from IRI and leaders of industry from Albertsons, FMI, Raley’s, Sprouts, Tops, Wakefern, Walgreens, VMLY&R and more. We chatted about innovation, the state of the industry, the pandemic, among other topics. Then a month later I moderated a day of education dedicated to sustainability and private brands. Again, I was joined by the brightest minds like Denise Osterhues, president of Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation; Kendrick Repko, director of sustainable products, Ahold Delhaize USA; Christie Zimmerman, a products standards manager at Natural Grocers; Derrek Reitz, the sustainability specialist for Weis Markets; Bill Patton, manager of store optimization at The Giant Company; and Bill Wollrab, founder of AllPeople. And guess what, on Sept. 29, we’re at it again. We’ll be hosting a Store Brands Industry Forum on the beverage category. I will, once again, moderate four panels with supplier, retailer and expert panelists to open up about trends in drinks. At all of the events, I have to say the content and chats have been inspiring, and virtual or in-person, our goal is always about connecting readers, attendees and partners with engaging content and solutions. But, I’m also here to listen, so let me know how we can do better. The beverage panels will be structured by categories within the category, and the unique issues facing each. The event will touch on coffee and tea, no doubt leaders within the ethical sourcing space; dairy, an area that faced considerable challenges during the pandemic and has been innovating around non-dairy; nonalcoholic beverages like sparkling waters and functional juices; and alcoholic beverages, an area where wine, for example, has been the toast of the category. The style of these 30-minute fireside panels make for quick and insightful conversations — it’ll be easy drinking and go down smooth (I promise no more play on words). The beverage forum, like the other events, will include the four panels, a keynote address, and there are networking breaks to mingle in between sessions. During our last event, we limited the attendance, focusing on a retailer audience. For this beverage forum, we’re opening up ways for manufacturers to join the event, beyond sponsorship opportunities. I invite you to reach out to me and I’ll direct you to learn more. To register for the forum on beverages, head to I’m excited to quench your thirst for store brand success in beverages! And I look forward to brewing up questions and milk everything out of my 30-minute sessions. So let’s tip a few back on Sept. 29, come join me! (OK, I lied about the play on words thing.) 6

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An EnsembleIQ Publication 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Suite 200, Chicago, IL 60631

Publisher, Grocery Group John Schrei (248) 613-8672;

EDITORIAL Editorial Director, Grocery Group Mike Troy (813) 857-6512; Executive Editor Dan Ochwat (773) 992-4416,

ADVERTISING & SALES National Sales Manager Natalie Filtser (917) 690-3245,

PROJECT MANAGEMENT/PRODUCTION/ART Vice President, Production Derek Estey (877) 687-7321 x 1004, Creative Director Colette Magliaro Advertising/Production Manager Pat Wisser (973) 607-1322,

LIST RENTAL MeritDirect Marie Briganti (914) 309-3378,


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

CORPORATE OFFICERS Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Litterick Chief Financial Officer Jane Volland Chief Innovation Officer & Managing Director of Path to Purchase Institute Tanner Van Dusen Chief Human Resources Officer Ann Jadown Executive Vice President, Events & Conferences Ed Several Senior Vice President, Content Joe Territo

The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for product claims and representations.

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INSID For decades, foodservice and retail professionals alike have relied on the ibp Trusted Excellence® brand and those boxes full of high-quality beef and pork products, delivered with the consistency and uniformity you depend on. But we’re just as proud of what takes place before filling your box – superior customer service every step of the way, ensuring your order arrives on time and is exactly what you’re expecting. That sort of big thinking – inside and outside of the box – makes us your trusted source. ®/© 2021 Tyson Foods, Inc.

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Target Sets Sustainable Future for Owned Brands

Dollar General Expands Own Brand Beauty

Dollar General has expanded its Believe Beauty store brand with the introduction of Believe Skin, a line of products that are said to provide a modern approach to skin care with completely vegan and cruelty-free formulas, the company told Store Brands ahead of its July release. The Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based retailer launched Believe Beauty in 2019, consisting of more than 150 products across beauty categories from skin foundation to eyeshadow and brow kits. Like the Believe Beauty lineup of products, the Believe Skin products are priced at $5 or less. The retailer told Store Brands that Believe Skin will include 11 products such as a cleanser, moisturizer, exfoliating pads and more, and that the line was developed by Maesa, a beauty brand incubator for private retail and celebrity lines. Believe Skin hit shelves in late July in more than 17,400 Dollar General stores nationwide. The health and beauty private brands join the retailer’s emphasis on growing its assortment of OTC, cough, cold, dental, feminine hygiene products and health products as the retailer aims to become a health care destination. As part of this strategy, the retailer hired Albert Wu, M.D., to be its newly created vice president, chief medical officer. Wu will develop the chain’s health care services efforts by establishing and strengthening relationships with current and prospective health care product and service providers to build a comprehensive network of affordable services for Dollar General customers. 8

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By the year 2040, Target will have 100% of its store brand products be designed for a circular future — eliminating waste, leveraging regenerative and recycled materials, sourcing responsibly, and creating products that are durable that can be easily repaired or recycled. The strong commitment is part of the retailer’s latest sustainability strategy — Target Forward — that includes goals set around its owned brand packaging, product design, sourcing and inclusivity. The company said the program aims to elevate sustainable brands, innovate to eliminate waste and accelerate opportunity and equity. A few specific store brand goals outlined by the retailer include: • By 2030, Target aims to be the market leader for creating and curating inclusive, sustainable brands and experiences; • By 2040, Target plans for 100% of its owned brand products to be designed for a circular future, designing to eliminate waste, using materials that are regenerative, recycled or sourced sustainably, to create products that are more durable, easily repaired or recyclable; • By 2040, Target commits to being a net zero enterprise — zero waste to landfill in its U.S. operations and net zero emissions across both its operations and supply chain, inclusive of scopes 1, 2 and 3. The retailer also highlighted that the new goals above are part of a foundation already underway, including its Universal Thread and Everspring private brands following circular design principles, and it accelerated its commitments to sustainable packaging in 2018 by signing the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment.

of Target’s store brand products will be designed for a circular future.

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Survey Expects Big Increase in Back-to-School Apparel Buying According to a recent shopper survey, 85% of American shoppers expect to spend the majority of their back-to-school budgets on apparel, shoes, coats and functional wearable items compared with 18% feeling that way a year ago. The survey was conducted by Influence Central, a Boston-based influencer marketing agency, also finding that 83% expect to spend on supplies such as paper, notebooks, pencils, glue, scissors, etc., compared with 37% planning to use BTS spending in those areas. Nearly 60% expect to spend money on backpacks and lunchboxes vs. only 5% of respondents spending on similar items last year. Stacy Debroff, CEO, Influence Central, told Store Brands that supply side issues facing traditional brands — especially with them sourcing products from Asia from backpacks to clothing — retailers can get their private brand products to consumers at less expensive pricing, higher profit margins for the retailers, and leverage a supplier’s surplus if available. “Especially as we just heard from our consumer panel of over 350 back-to-school families that 85% plan to dramatically increase their purchases for this coming back-to-school

85% of American shoppers will spend majority of budgets on apparel.

year, this expansion of [store brand] products offers a huge sales possibility,” she said. Walmart launched an exclusive partnership with tween brand Justice to capitalize on BTS, and. JCPenney launched a new apparel brand dedicated to children in time for the season, too.

Just Right. Almondmilk in a new convenient size. The 96-oz. container from Country Pure Foods provides a value size for your brand in one of the fastest-growing plant-based milk package types.

Not too little. Not too much.

Visit 10 Store Brands July/August 2021 to learn more. ●

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ShopRite Bolsters Bowl & Basket With Fresh Chicken ShopRite’s Bowl & Basket private brand has introduced a line of fresh chicken — an assortment of more than two dozen chicken cuts such as breasts, thighs, fillets, wings, drumsticks, kabobs and more. The introduction marks a significant expansion of its flagship private brand Bowl & Basket into fresh poultry, as it grows its store brands including the Paperbird nonfood line and Wholesome Pantry, which received a makeover last year. The retailer is part of Wakefern Food, a retailer-owned cooperative based in Keasbey, N.J. ShopRite operates nearly 280 locations on the east coast. “Years in the making, the Bowl & Basket Fresh Chicken line will provide our customers with an easy, affordable way to create fast, tasty and healthy

meals that they can feel good about serving their families,” said Pam Ofri, director of product development and operations, Own Brands at ShopRite. The Bowl & Basket Fresh Chicken line will be supported by an omnichannel marketing campaign which will provide shoppers with additional guidance on meal planning, recipes and cooking tips hosted by the ShopRite’s dietitians across various social media platforms, as well as content from celebrity chefs.

International Food Fair fieramilano 22-26 October 2021

Adding value to taste #BetterTogether


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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.

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PRIVATE BRANDS AMID INFLATION While inflation takes hold, private brands have the formula to recover and expand growth

Kyle Patterson, vice president, client services, Daymon


climate of rising commodity pressures and inflationary forces has historically been a catalyst for reduced discretionary income, which in turn drives growth in private brands. In fact, the 2008 recession produced the largest private brand 52-week dollar share gain in recorded memory, with many predicting the post-COVID recovery period to be a blessing for private brand share. As commodities hit record peaks in May, the current Consumer Price Index (CPI) has risen to its highest level since 2008. While the signs are present to spur private brand growth, it has not happened yet, ending this May with more than a 1% decline in share compared to pre-pandemic levels. But why? Currently, private brand manufacturers are grappling with labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, backlogs of product and unprecedented commodity pressures. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported nearly 9.3 million job openings at the end of April, with manufacturing open job rates well above the national average and increasing. This loss in productivity is preventing many manufacturers from restocking inventory levels to 14

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keep up with demand. Additionally, freight and supply chain challenges continue to disrupt the flow of goods and raw materials globally. Month-long backups at ports have created costly downtime which has added to the pressures — and promises — of new machinery, and added capacity has been slow to materialize.

“WITH EXPANDING CPI, AND THE CONSUMER’S DOLLAR NEEDING TO STRETCH FURTHER, THE VALUE PERCEPTION FOR PRIVATE BRANDS IS GROWING.” Despite these challenges, there are signs showcasing the path forward for private brands. Expanded value perception and an increased willingness to shift brands bring good tidings to private brand programs. Nationally, the average retail price per unit has risen for both private and national brands but to differing degrees. Private brand retails are rising slower — expanding the price gap to national brands by nearly 7% in the past year. With expanding CPI, and

the consumer’s dollar needing to stretch further, the value perception for private brands is growing. Furthermore, pandemic purchasing proved the consumer’s willingness to alter their buying behaviors. As many as 70% of consumers purchased new or different brands during the pandemic. Also, 89% of consumers expressed they trust private brands as much if not more than national brands. Brand switching, expanded value perception, and continued fears over inflation and income security present an opportunity for private brands to establish trust and become a continued staple for consumers. However, the degree of future success will directly depend on how well retailers collaborate with their supplier partners and activate integrated marketing plans to position themselves to the consumer. Commodity inflation and supply chain challenges can be mitigated through cross-functional collaboration and a re-evaluation of the principles of lean manufacturing and lean inventory management. Extended lead times, long-term partnership commitments, and cooperative forecasting are just a few ways that private brand manufacturers and retailers can work together to increase product supply and mitigate cost pressures. Along with securing these partnerships, retailers need to re-evaluate how they are marketing to consumers in favor of a 360-degree approach. The surge of social media and online ordering has created an omnichannel necessity for retailers and their private brands, with nearly 40% of surveyed consumers still digitally shopping more than prepandemic. Retailers that connect their private brands with consumers through both a physical and digital lens have the opportunity to build loyalty and following across the entire path to purchase. Best-in-class retailers are reaching consumers with tactics including elevating their private brands on their website and social platforms, as well as promoting digital coupons that are accessible for use across all channels to incite purchasing. SB

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ichelle Wlazlo, EVP, chief merchandising officer, JCPenney, joined the retailer just two years ago, bringing more than 30 years of experience from retailers such as Target and GAP, and in her short time is facing a transformational shift in the company’s owned brands program. The retailer, rebuilding after its bankruptcy and restructuring, has embarked on bringing 13 refreshed or new store brands to the chain. Highlights include the Thereabouts children’s apparel line, the “most inclusive brand” its ever launched with materials accounting for kids with sensory needs, gender-neutral pieces and inclusive sizes. There’s also Ryegrass, a luxurious women’s line, the Xersion athletic line, Loom + Forge and Linden Street in home goods, Stylus in athleisure, and more. Wlazlo is making a mark, leveraging the retailer’s history in private brands. She spoke about it here:

STORE BRANDS: FIRST, TELL ME A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF; HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH JCPENNEY? MICHELLE WLAZLO: I joined JCPenney in March 2019 to lead the company’s merchandise strategy and operations including merchandising, planning and allocation, pricing, product design and development, and sourcing. SB: Tell me about the new owned brand launches, what has been the strategy? MW: One of the reasons I joined JCPenney was because of its expertise and history in building private brands. For the past two years, we have taken a very thoughtful approach to our private brand portfolio — we’ve clarified and defined the positioning of each brand, honed each distinctive identity, 16

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and filled in the white space with new brands to bring our customers more choice. This strategic work has resulted in offering exciting new merchandise from brands our customers love with products they might not expect from JCPenney. SB: How have the brands been performing? MW: We started our brand work with our women’s, active, and home categories, and we’re proud to see strong performance. In women’s, for example, we’ve taken the equity we’ve built around some of our iconic brands like Liz Claiborne, St. John’s Bay, and a.n.a and refined them to reestablish ourselves as a destination for women’s apparel. We also introduced two new women’s brands — Stylus and Ryegrass — which offer stylish, fashion-forward options in our all-day and on-point

categories to complement some of our legacy brands. Our customer has responded positively to the new merchandise mix, as our women’s apparel division continues to be one of our highest performers in the portfolio. I’m particularly proud of our new kids brand, Thereabouts, that launched earlier this summer. As our most inclusive kids brand yet, we wanted to develop a cool, hyper-inclusive children’s clothing line that also features adaptive apparel and accessories. Our team was passionate about creating a line that serves all kids and celebrates diversity of shapes, sizes, styles and abilities. We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response from our customers.

“With 25 significant private brands in our merchandise portfolio, our private brands will continue to be a key driver of business.” SB: What consumer insights are driving these categories? MW: Our customers inspire everything we do. As we’re developing brands, we involve consumer insights in all aspects of brand development — from initial research to brand strategy to product testing. By staying connected to their needs and how they shop, we can continue to deliver brands and products that serve a specific purpose for our customer. SB: How do these launches compare with how the retailer usually launches owned brands? MW: Each and every new private brand we launch is part of a strategic and thoughtful approach to round out the offerings within our portfolio for customers. This year alone you will see launches or significant relaunches involving 13 of our

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private brands across all divisions — six of which are entirely new — to provide a more well-rounded assortment for our customer. Retail is evolving faster than ever, and we are executing swiftly to ensure JCPenney continues to deliver the highest level of service and quality of products across every division. We’re excited to continue JCPenney’s evolution with compelling product offerings and services. SB: What’s the process to create these new lines; how are you sourcing them? MW: We first look at the brand assortment and determine what business they are serving. From there, we refine and reposition brands as needed to better serve the customer and identify opportunities for growth. In our home portfolio, for example, we had a great foundation of brands, but needed to offer more modern and casual choices in our assortment. From that need, Loom + Forge and Linden Street were devel18

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oped to service that aesthetic in our portfolio. Our newest private brand, Thereabouts, was similarly created out of customer need. We designed Thereabouts to empower children of all abilities to feel cool, comfortable and confident in anything they wear. SB: How important are JCPenney’s owned brands to its strategy going forward as it faces a new chapter post-bankruptcy? MW: Since emerging as a private company last December, our new ownership has been incredibly supportive of our efforts. They believe in our product assortment, brand strategies, and our dedicated customers. With 25 significant private brands in our merchandise portfolio, our private brands will continue to be a key driver of business. SB: Can you give us a sneak peek at anything new for 2021? MW: I am equally excited about JCPenney Beauty, our new, inclusive

in-store and online beauty experience that was announced recently and will debut later this fall. Similar to our overall customer-centric business strategy with private brands, we’ve built the next generation of beauty at JCPenney with our customers in mind. Building upon a legacy of serving millions of JCPenney Salon and beauty customers for more than five decades, customers can expect a one-stop shop of mass, masstige, and prestige products in a bright, welcoming space. The assortment will include everything from makeup, skincare, fragrance, and responsibly sourced, conscious products to hair products and styling tools. We’re partnering with likeminded beauty brands, including Thirteen Lune. Through this partnership, we have the opportunity to highlight diverse beauty brands established by Black and Brown founders and allies. We can’t wait to introduce our customer to a new beauty experience that better serves their needs and celebrates their authentic beauty. SB

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By Dan Ochwat

INNOVATION DURING TOUGH TIMES Retailers, suppliers found ways to inspire shoppers during the pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically challenged retailers and private brand suppliers with sourcing issues, health and safety, and getting product on shelves. In some cases, retailers slimmed down production lines, needing to cut back on new flavors or introductions to focus solely on the products needed most in stores. With that said, retailers didn’t give up on innovation entirely. If anything, it’s clear that retailers adapted innovation to meet new consumer needs stemming from the pandemic. For example, with restaurants having to close in-door


Store Brands

dining at times, and shoppers cooking more at home, retailers stepped up in seasonings, sauces and frozen meals with their own brands, providing global and restaurant-inspired flavors. Retailers and suppliers also answered a call from shoppers for healthier options during the pandemic, ramping up plantbased programs and functional foods. Store Brands’ annual Editors’ Picks program highlights some of these trends and more. Take a look at some of the brightest, innovative new products of the year:

July/August 2021 2020●●

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Alcohol GOLD Kalyana Wines. Wente; Albertsons. Three varietals that are early movers in the sustainable wine space. SILVER Sip Sip Hooray. BuzzBallz/Southern Champion; 7-Eleven. An RTD wine-based cocktail with a 13% ABV. BRONZE Signature Reserve Brut. Vintage Wine Estates; Albertsons. Premium but at a value, crafted in the labor intensive méthode traditionnelle practiced in the Champagne region of France.

Coffee GOLD (3-WAY TIE) Hy-Vee Roaster’s Reserve Blend Coffee Pods. Hy-Vee. A 100% compostable coffee pod � the ring, lid, filter and brewed coffee turn into nutrients for the soil. Wide Awake Nitro Cold Brew. Topco. A first-to-market cold brew in own brands. Casey’s Caramel Iced Coffee. TreeHouse Foods; Casey’s. Part of the c-store’s store brand relaunch, sales tripled of this version vs. the old one. SILVER (2-WAY TIE) Mill Espresso Capsules. Kruger North America. One of only a few aluminum Nespresso compatible capsules. Wide Awake Coffee Co. Limited Edition Flavor EcoPods. Topco. A limited line of flavors for the holiday, such as maple cream and peppermint stick. BRONZE Caffe Venezia Coffee Pods & Ground Coffee. Bay Valley (pods) and Distant Labs (bean and ground); Albertsons. Exhibited a strong trial rate and incremental sales.

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Dairy GOLD Peanut Butter Chocolate Milk. Weigel’s. Sold 7,500 units the first week, increased flavored milk business even more and was backed by successful marketing campaign. S I LV E R (2-WAY TIE) Lucerne Ultra-Filtered Chocolate Milk. Saputo; Albertsons. An innovative, lactose-free option. Full Circle Market Original Oat Milk. Topco. A milk alternative that showed steady sales increases since launch. B RO N Z E Friendly Farms Holiday Inspired Almondmilk Creamers. Jasper Products; Aldi. Seasonal flavors in a dairy-free option.

Juice G O L D (2-WAY TIE) Hy-Vee Kombucha. Hy-Vee. More than 150,000 units sold in the first year, the product has three more flavors coming based on popularity. Signature Select juices. Lassonde Pappas; Albertsons. Functional, immune-boosting drinks in flavors like Mango Carrot Passionfruit, Cherry Pomegranate Elderberry and Orange Carrot Pineapple. S I LV E R PurAqua Sparkling Frost. Refresco Beverages; Aldi. Refreshing waters and in great flavors like Cherry Limeade, Lemonade and Pineapple Coconut. B RO N Z E Casey’s Up 1L Electrolyte Water. Premium Water; Casey’s. A clean, crisp alkaline water with functional electrolyte.


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For you continued Excellence in delivering High quality Innovation

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Bread GOLD (2-WAY TIE) Earthly Grains Ready-to-Eat Cauliflower Rice. Culinary Specialties; Aldi. A tasty and very popular rice and pasta alternative product. L’Oven Fresh Keto Buns. Perfection Bakeries; Aldi. Another bread option that’s vegan and contains 8g of protein. SILVER (2-WAY TIE) Organic Pizza Crusts. Crusts Unlimited; Albertsons. A healthy option launched in middle of COVID-19 for the stay-at-home cooking trend.

This is just the tip of the innovation iceberg for Weigel’s. We are excited to continue launching new products that make our guests days a whole lot better.

Thank you, STOREBRANDS for selecting Peanut Butter Chocolate Milk as the Editors’ Best New Product of 2021. Our peanut butter chocolate cows are so proud.


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Signature Select Restaurant Classics Old Fashioned Brown Bread. Albertsons. Sweetened with molasses and topped with oats, the bread is in line with popular breads served at restaurants like Cheesecake Factory. BRONZE Simple Truth Original Puff Bunz. Kroger. Keto-friendly and convenient, free from over 100 artificial flavors and ingredients.

Cereal & Granola GOLD Food Club Peanut Butter and Jelly Puffs. Topco. A unique flavor all to its own in the category that has no national competition. SILVER Elevation Functional Protein Bars. Jimmy Bars; Aldi. An ideal snack for Keto-diet users — comes in cookies n’ cream and caramel chocolate nut. BRONZE Open Nature Almond Butter Granola & Seasonal Granola. Attune Foods; Albertsons. Perfect for healthy eaters, the nut butters are a trend in high-protein diets and the seasonal flavors of cranberry orange spice, ginger snap and more, achieved a 90% sell-through in 2021.

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Store Brands


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Cheese GOLD Hy-Vee Squeeze Cream Cheese. Hy-Vee. A first-to-market product, leveraging a convenient pouch with strong sales to date. SILVER (2-WAY TIE) Signature Reserve Original Fondue. Mifroma; Albertsons. Imported from Switzerland, a ready-toserve fondue that doubled its forecast in first year. Culinary Tours Gruyere Cheese. Topco. A European gruyere with packaging that calls out its origins. BRONZE Full Circle Market Italian Blend. Topco. A finely shredded cheese that scored month-over-month sales increases.

Condiments GOLD (3-WAY TIE) 365 by Whole Foods Market Oat-Based Whipped Topping. Whole Foods Market. A dairy-free whipped topping that’s new to the whipped topping category. 365 By Whole Foods Market Organic Cookie Butter. A creamy product filled with Speculoos Cookies that won a People magazine award. Full Circle Market Finishing Butters. Topco. An innovative, softened finishing butter just like the restaurant makes. SILVER Signature Select Spicy Honey. Sue Bee Honey; Albertsons. A unique enhancement for pizza crusts, chicken wings or salad dressings. BRONZE (2-WAY TIE) Private Selection Hungarian Sliced Wax Peppers. Kroger. The product is unique and elevates food occasions. Private Selection Green Tomato Burger Topper. Kroger. A small batch, zippy topper for pork, beef, chicken and plantbased burgers.


Store Brands

July/August 2021

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Cooking & Baking GOLD (2-WAY TIE) Signature Reserve Olive Oils. Agritalia; Albertsons. A range of olive oils from Spain, Italy and Greece. Signature Select Avocado Oils. T&M Imports; Albertsons. A range of smoky olive oils in flavors like lemon and roasted garlic. SILVER (2-WAY TIE) Open Nature Clean Label Cooking Sauces. Cal Chef Foods; Albertsons. A first-to-market in private label with flavors like Tikka Masala, Lemongrass Basil, Cilantro Lime and Korean Style Bulgogi. O Organics Sushi Nori. Oceans Halo; Albertsons. A unique product to round out a meal solution in the Asian set. BRONZE (4-WAY TIE) Full Circle Market Gluten-Free Baking Mixes. Topco. Includes a range of items like cheddar biscuits, cornbread, oatmeal cookies and more. Crav’n Flavor Break and Bake Cookie Dough. Topco. Raw cookie dough for classic cookies but without the mess. Food Club Plant-Based Sweeteners. Topco. Uses cutting-edge sugar substitutes in monk fruit and erythritol. Naturally Better Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour & Cake Mixes. XO Baking; Southeastern Grocers. Includes easy mixes for brownies, chocolate chip cookies and vanilla cake.


Store Brands

July/August 2021

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Dips & Sauces GOLD Park Street Deli Dips. Suter Co.; Aldi. Popular among the Aldi faithful, the innovative dips come in crab rangoon or lobster roll. S I LV E R Private Selection Mexican Style Street Corn. Kroger. Providing a culinary experience, the dip is rich in flavor with cotija cheese, paprika and lime. B RO NZ E (3 -WAY T I E ) Private Selection Applewood Smoke Honey Maple BBQ Sauce. Kroger. Made with wildflower honey, the unique sauce is sweet and smokey. O Organics Coconut Aminos All Purpose Seasoning Sauce. Big Tree Farms; Albertsons. Made from aging coconut tree sap, and with a savory umami flavor, the product brings an artisanal level of sauce to the pantry. Open Nature cauliflower dips. Lakeview; Albertsons. Three flavors entered its non-dairy offering, a cucumber dill, roasted red pepper and jalapeno cilantro.

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July/August 2021

Store Brands


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Frozen Foods GOLD (2-WAY TIE) Open Nature Savory Skillets. Cadence Kitchen; Albertsons. Leverages a high-tech liquid nitrogen process to lock-in flavor, the brand elevated the perception of the meat department. Leonetti’s Eggcellent Breakfast Stromboli. Leonetti’s Frozen Food. A new store brand offering that features the company’s proprietary stromboli dough to innovate in breakfast. SILVER (4-WAY TIE) Whole and Simple Enchilada Bowls. Florentine Foods; Aldi. Younger shoppers craved these convenient frozen meals. Priano Plant-Based Ravioli. Rosina Food Products; Aldi. A standout in one of its highest growth areas.


Store Brands

July/August 2021

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Crav’n Flavor and Full Circle Bowls. Topco. Ready to heat and eat, Topco introduced a range of burrito bowls and egg breakfast bowls these bowls come in a range of flavors like Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese, Prestige Roasted Garlic Petite Artisan Loaf. Rich Products; Southeastern Grocers. A premium bread with that is stone-hearth baked. BRONZE (2-WAY TIE) Kroger Pretzel Bun Egg & Sausage Sandwich. Kroger. A high-protein offering in the breakfast category with a tasty pretzel bun. Breadfruit Tostones. Xagro S.A. More than 30,000 cases sold in its first year, the tostones, traditionally made from plantains, are made with breadfruit, a super fruit.

8/17/21 10:13 PM

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8/10/21 10:05 PM

Frozen Desserts GOLD Prestige Real Premium Ice Cream flavors. Perry’s Ice Cream; Southeastern Grocers. A premium line that includes a frozen yogurt in a “vanilla orange honey” flavor, as well as ice creams in peach, cinnamon churro and more. S I LV E R (2 -WAY T I E ) 365 by Whole Foods Market Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Almondmilk. Whole Foods Market. The non-dairy frozen dessert is a new twist on an old classic. Simple Truth Dairy Free Sweet Caramel Frozen Dessert Bars. Kroger. Plant-based novelty bars made with sustainable dark cocoa. BRONZE SE Grocers Unicorn Shimmer, Super Kaboom ice creams. House of Flavors; Southeastern Grocers. Two fun, fruity flavors of ice cream ideal for kids (and adults).

Meat G O L D (3 -WAY T I E ) Park Street Deli Fajitas. ProPortion Foods; Aldi. In pork and chicken, heat and serve and ready in three minutes. Full Circle Market Meatless Burgers. Topco. Demand is high for meat-free options, this lineup includes veggie burgers, black bean chipotle burgers and islandinspired Caribbean plantain burgers. Full Circle Market Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon. Topco. The sustainably certified salmon is processed with a patented ultra-low temperature technology, and it offers a QR code on the package to trace it through the supply chain for total transparency.


Store Brands

July/August 2021

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S I LV E R SE Grocers Prestige Veal Cutlets & Naturally Better Lamb Loin Chops. Catelli Brothers; Southeastern Grocers. Under two of its more premium private brands, the retailer ushered its first own brands into the lamb space and veal from milk-fed, group-raised stock. B RO N Z E Naturally Better rotisserie chickens. Tyson Foods; Southeastern Grocers. Answering the dinner bell in a few flavors, chicken mojo, cajun, lemon pepper, traditional and BBQ.

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Nuts GOLD Whole Foods Market Midnight Double Feature Trail Mix Clusters. Whole Foods Market. The retailer took one of its most popular trail mixes and made them into on-the-go clusters. S I LV E R Casey’s Indulgent Trail Mix. Part of the redesign, the store brand has become the No. 1 selling trail mix. B RO NZ E (2 -WAY T I E ) Signature Select Bar Mix Sweet & Spicy. John B. Sanfilippo & Son; Albertsons. The mix added more variety to the category and added a convenient new pouch. O Organics Single Serve Snack Nuts. John B. Sanfilippo & Son; Albertsons. Getting healthier nut snack options into the hands of impulse shoppers, the nuts sat at check stands.

Salty Snacks GOLD Signature Select Potato Chips Wicked Hot and Chile Limon. Shearer’s Foods; Albertsons. Spicy and tangy, the own brand stood out against very limited competition from national brands. Signature Select Potato Chips. Super Pufft Snacks; Albertsons. An innovative range of chips in flavors like Baby Back Ribs, Red Thai Curry and All Dressed. S I LV E R Simply Nature Organic Veggie & Flaxseed. Snak King; Aldi. The chip is flavored with carrot, tomato, red beet, spinach, garlic and onion, for a gluten-free option. B RO N Z E Signature Select Pita Crackers. Handi Foods; Albertsons. In premium flavors like Caramelized Onion & Balsamic Vinegar, and Parmesan Garlic & Herb, the items elevated the category and sales quickly grew. Organic Kale and Organic Everything. RW Garcia. Two healthy cracker options that have distribution through several major retailers and pair nicely with cheeses.


Store Brands

July/August 2021

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Spices GOLD Spice Bazaar Deep South Flavors. The Spice Lab; Lowes Foods. Hot during the cook-at-home trend during the pandemic, the spices bring Souther classics home. SILVER O Organics seasonings. Red Monkey Foods. Kicking up grill season, a free range lineup that includes Smoked Paprika, Seafood Grilling Seasoning, Green Ancho Chile Seasoning and options for steak and chicken. BRONZE Full Circle Market Global Spices. Topco. Nine exotic spices that tap into global flavors from the Middle East, Asia, North Africa and Central America.

Sweets GOLD 6-count milk chocolate bars. Kruger North America. Individually wrapped bars ease portion control and has given its retailer’s own brands an opportunity to make a healthy margin. SILVER O Organic Cookies Variety Pack. Fantasy Cookie; Albertsons. Family packs helped diversify the O Organics line and be a destination brand for families packing lunches and seeking portion control. BRONZE (2-WAY TIE) Crav’n Flavor Animal Cookies. Topco. A perennial favorite among kids, these packs make lunch-making very easy and fun. O Organics mini cookies. Albertsons; Fantasy Cookie. In convenient pouches, Albertsons got its mini chocolate chip and two flavors of animal cookies out to kids for a healthier option.

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July/August 2021

Store Brands


8/17/21 10:19 PM

NON-FOOD Baby GOLD SE Grocers Naturally Better Organic Baby Foods. Fruselva USA; Southeastern Grocers. The food purees leveraged flavors that were healthy, organic and gave parents the convenience they needed in the packaging. SILVER Tippy Toes Coconut Delight Kids Body Wash and Shampoo. Topco. A gentle and nice-smelling shampoo and body wash that’s tear-free and hypoallergenic.

Congrats to team SEG on their 25 Editor’s Picks for Best New Products

Health & Beauty GOLD (2-WAY TIE) Simple Truth Nut Butter Scrub. Kroger. Beauty products made with real food ingredients, the line is incredibly innovative and takes the Simple Truth brand to new heights. Root to End. Maesa; Dollar General. Elegant and affordable, the line elevated hair care at the dollar chain and received excellent customer feedback. S I LV E R TopCare Castille Lavender Multi-Use Cleaning Soap. Topco. Clean label, made without animal testing, biodegradable, the soap is boutique level in a value own brand. B RO N Z E TopCare Mineral Continuous Spray Sunscreen. Topco. Easy-to-use with environmentally friendly ingredients, the product meets a category that is growing 170% year over year.


Store Brands

July/August 2021

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Hardware GOLD Hart 20V Cordless Stick Vacuum Kit with Brushless Technology. Walmart. The expansion of the store brand tool line included a vacuum series with battery charger, wall mount and tools. S I LV E R Hart 20V Heated Jacket Kit. Walmart. The Hart consumer products line also expanded into gear that leverages the battery source to heat up during extreme conditions; also comes in camouflage. B RO N Z E Hart Circular Saw Blade. Walmart. Another addition to the store brand that launched last year, a 7 ¼” 40T circular saw blade.

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Store Brands


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Household GOLD (2-WAY TIE) Naturally Better Paper Straws. Life Made; Southeastern Grocers. The product is made from food-grade safe paper. Naturally Better Compostable Bowls. Republic Plastics; Southeastern Grocers. Socially responsible and microwave and freezer safe. SILVER Progress Essentials Cling Wrap. TrueChoicePack. The wrap comes with built-in slide cutter that is no longer exposed and potentially dangerous; the design elevates a private label program. BRONZE Progress Essentials Pre-Cut Parchment. TrueChoicePack. The pre-cut parchment paper sheets fit standard-sized baking sheets and is designed to withstand high temperatures without burning or sticking.

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.

Magazines 38

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Digital Media Solutions


Custom Content

8/17/21 10:21 PM

Winner of 2021 STOREBRANDS Editor’s Pick Best New Products

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Medical GOLD (3-WAY TIE) Walgreens Red Light Therapy Wrap. Kaiyan Medical; Walgreens. A first-tomarket product in private label, the device emits energy in the red and infrared spectrum, giving topical heat to relieve pain. Walgreens Pulse Oximeter With Respiratory Rate. Choicemed; Walgreens. Launched during COVID-19, the product helped consumers monitor oxygen levels at home rather than filling up overwhelmed hospitals. Flesh-Tone Fabric Bandages. Topco. Designed to better fit unique skin tones of shoppers, the first-aid option was a first for the own brand. SILVER (2-WAY TIE) TopCare 1% Diclofenac Sodium Topical Gel. Topco. The own brand equivalent to the newly introduced Voltaren, it heals older Americans suffering from arthritis. TopCare Children’s Melatonin. Topco. One of the store brand’s most popular supplements, the product aids sleep for children with no side effects. BRONZE Walgreens Collagen + Vitamin C Gummies. DSM; Walgreens. The supplements include Collagen, Lutein, Vitamin C and Zeaxanthin, helping skin hydration, elasticity and wrinkles.


Store Brands

July/August 2021

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8/17/21 10:22 PM

Debuting this November in Orlando, Florida, the first annual Grocery Industry Week will be a place where grocery leaders converge to learn, network and celebrate the achievements of the grocery community. Grocery Industry week is an Invite Only event that will take place from November 2nd through the 4th at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, FL. Anchored by the 15th Annual Top Women in Grocery, Progressive Grocer has created the highly curated “Grocery Industry Week” as a way for grocery leaders across the retail grocery spectrum to come together to celebrate, source new ideas, network, collaborate and learn. PG is in the grocery industry’s unique position to be able to bring together leaders and decision makers at every level and category of specialization for 3 high energy days of celebration, collaboration, sharing and learning you won’t want to miss.

Learn more about attending and sponsoring:

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8/17/21 4:21 PM




ast year, Store Brands initiated its first list of Rising Stars, somewhat taking a cue from the traditional “40 under 40” lists that publications often do, but the spirit isn’t about a number but about who’s growing private label, where and how. The list of leaders here work at retailers, manufacturers and more, impacting store brands in a variety of ways, touching on food development and food science, how brands are marketed, and almost all impacted how the private brands navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s a list of Rising Stars for 2021:


Store Brands

July/August 2021

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DANIEL BRINCKERHOFF, senior analyst, strategic sourcing, Albertsons As the pandemic disrupted the supply chain, Brinckerhoff worked hard to keep Albertsons in stock, tirelessly making calls to suppliers to secure own brands products for hand sanitizer, baby wipes and PPE. He’s a leader within sourcing, handling general merchandise and personal care items for the Own Brands team and plays a critical role in securing competitive pricing and first-to-market innovation.

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Celebrating our

Kelsey Guttchen Associate Sourcing Manager

who make a difference!

Jeff Stewart

Senior Manager of Product Management

Shea Friesen Senior Marketing Manager

Ashley Edwards

Madison Miller

Daniel Brinckerhoff

Product Manager

Product Manager

Senior Analyst of Strategic Sourcing

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SHEA FRIESEN, senior manager, Own Brands marketing, Albertsons Driving store brand success at the retailer through innovative marketing, Friesen played an integral part in the clever Signature Select Soleil summer program — #siptothebeat — leveraging tie-ins with Spotify, Pinterest, Facebook and Buzzfeed to expand the reach. She’s also an own brands champion for Debi Lilly Design, Signature Select products and more.

KELSEY GUTTCHEN, associate sourcing manager, Albertsons Responsible for more than $1 billion in spend and working with more than 100 suppliers across the dairy and refrigerated categories, Guttchen serves an instrumental role within the supply network. Among her many roles, she works closely with the self-manufacturing team, optimizing the source or supply in dairy across seven self-owned manufacturing plants and works with teams to source innovation for private brand rollouts in the categories.

ASHLEY EDWARDS, product manager, Albertsons Edwards managed key categories that were impacted by COVID-19, such as vitamins as consumers became more active in preventive care. Edwards fought to keep product stocked and launched products and solutions in stores for people who couldn’t find solutions elsewhere.

MADISON MILLER, product manager, Albertsons Connecting all segments of the Own Brands organization, Miller single-handedly built a repository and training hub for associates and cross-functional partners to engage with and learn from. It’s a one-stop shop for team members to access learning and development modules. She’s also an essential participant in strategy around the meat and seafood department.


Store Brands

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JEFF STEWART, senior product manager, Own Brands, Albertsons With Albertsons for just over a year, Stewart’s already created new tools for the Own Brands product management team, helping identify product opportunity gaps in private brands and how to forecast new item opportunities. Stewart’s also leading long-term portfolio strategies for paper and pet products.

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TYLER YOUNG, sales manager, AWG Brands, Associated Wholesale Grocers

SARAH DIAMOND, associate marketing manager, retail transformation, Daymon

Rising to a sales manager role in just three short years at the company, Young took on responsibility for one of AWG’s highest priority external ad groups and has thrived. He brought to the project great initiative and inquiry, working to find the best solution for both AWG, AWG Brands, and the retailers he serves. He’s got his hands in many projects, driving the Meals for the Hungry program and led the company in retail acceptance of AWG’s Always Save bakery program.

Joining a month before the pandemic began, Diamond stepped right into a role supporting the company’s strategic advisory team to disseminate thought leadership around the pandemic. She also assisted the company’s public relations, supporting the writing of 50 media opportunities, 737,000 impressions and a 26% increase in media placement conversions.

MATTHEW CLAUSON, director, client insights, Daymon Clauson leads a team of more than 10 associates, bringing private brand industry insights to its manufacturer partners and leads the creation of Daymon’s custom research. During the pandemic he generated timely insights on private label and also conducted three projects with real-time consumer sentiments on private brands.

JESSICA BARADA, senior manager, client services, Daymon

REESE HANFORD, senior business manager, Daymon A fast riser, Hanford was elevated to his role overseeing the fresh and paper categories in 2021. There, he co-led the creation of an innovation program and is managing one of the largest growth areas for the company.

Barada’s contributions to Daymon have led to significant expansion in the agency’s client portfolio. Over the past year, she’s been dedicated to integrated national coverage assignments, and analytical and forecasting services. She’s been the point person for working with the associations PLMA and NACDS, and is involved in mentorship programs.


Store Brands

July/August 2021

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REBECCA PAK, business manager, Daymon Pak has a background in bioscience, bringing a fresh perspective to the food industry. She currently is responsible for coffee and beverage categories, where she’s seeking innovation and emerging manufacturers for the private brand space. In less than a year, she’s presented more than 200 new item proposals for her clients.

RIPKI PATEL, senior business manager, Daymon In her role, Patel manages a multi-million dollar store brand portfolio that supports more than 90 private brands. She’s a data mastermind for the company, and her primary responsibility is to drive a critical link of complexities for a strategic private brand cooperative client partner that has more than 45 retailer members across the country; her work impacts more than 200 business manager associates that are embedded at more than 25 co-op retailer member partners.


Reese Hanford

Jessica Barada

Matthew Clauson

Sarah Diamond

Rebecca Pak

Ripki Patel

John Politi

Autumn Underwood

Joey Valdez

Travis Wells


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Store Brands


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JOHN POLITI, senior manager, client services, Daymon

TRAVIS WELLS, business manager, Daymon

Following a career in foodservice and four years at Price Chopper in store operations, Politi has quickly adapted to private brands and has made immediate impact for eight of Daymon’s center store supplier relationships across North America. Politi’s clients in aggregate outperformed the market by 6.5% and maintained a steady hand on the volatility of the supply chain.

Underwood handles a unique role at Daymon, operating as the head of the photography studio required for packaging and marketing materials for the company’s clients, as well as custom photography for clients, recipe videos for private brand websites, and more. She had to create new safety protocols and workflows during COVID-19 and has worked with food banks to donate thousands of pounds of unused perishable and non-perishable items from photo shoots.

JOEY VALDEZ, senior client manager, Daymon With 10 years of experience as a frozen foods category buyer in foodservice, Valdez has transitioned smoothly at Daymon, managing one of the company’s biggest areas of business and seeing solid year-over-year growth in his position. He’s now been promoted to spearhead initiatives across all categories for the company’s largest client.


Store Brands

July/August 2021

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AUTUMN UNDERWOOD, photography manager, Daymon

With Daymon for two years, Wells transitioned to the company from nine years working in foodservice. He now manages retail categories that experienced extreme spikes in demand and faced massive supply chain issues from the pandemic. He worked tirelessly with top suppliers and retailers to review key metrics and drive actions that resulted in product being available. Wells also regularly volunteers at his local food bank, homeless shelters and the Boys and Girls Club.

COLLIN WOLHAR, director, research and development, DiscoverFresh Foods (formerly Duke Foods) Wolhar began on the second shift of the QA team at Duke Foods, recently rebranding as DiscoverFresh Foods, and has quickly risen the ranks. He earned his food scientist certification while working full time and he’s been a major cog in the development of private brand programs for Lidl, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Kroger and more. An example of attention to detail and flavor, Wolhar spent hundreds of hours on a store brand spinach artichoke dip, perfecting the recipe with outside partners and lab teams.

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KARLA BAYONA,, business development manager, H-E-B Bayona’s been with H-E-B for eight years after an internship in global sourcing. Recently, she championed a unique line of Iced Tea, Lemonade and Hydration Liquid Water Enhancers in private label, working through a very aggressive timeline. Bayona’s nominator said throughout the process she reiterated H-E-B’s core value proposition and represented the consumer’s voice as if it was her own.

ANGELA MONTALVO, business development assistant, H-E-B A recent graduate of the University of Texas, where she studied nutrition and advertising, Montalvo brings unique experience to her role at H-E-B. Like Bayona above, she recently brought several new innovations to the H-E-B store brand program in beverages, driving a line of Iced Tea, Lemonade and Hydration Liquid Water Enhancers. Montalvo helped design packaging, optimize flavor selection and more. Her nominator said, despite her short tenure, she understands the importance of competitive pricing, eye-catching graphics and a compelling value proposition

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Store Brands


8/17/21 12:56 PM

AMANDA KENNEDY, private label manager, Rouses Markets

BECCA MCKENZIE, own brands marketing specialist, SpartanNash

Taking on the marketing of Rouses store brands, over the past 18 months, Kennedy has enhanced the design of the store brand labels and researches each product in the portfolio to find a fitting vision to promote them. She’s also developed a strong social media platform for the brands that integrate elements from the marketing and in-store signage program. She rolled out several programs within a tight, eight-week timeline.

Just three years out of receiving a marketing degree from Western Michigan University, McKenzie is making a mark in private brands at SpartanNash, particularly though engaging social and digital marketing programs. She’s also driving cause marketing and opportunities for nonprofit organizations served by the retailer’s Our Family brand.

JAVIER CRESPO, director of culinary, The Perfect Bite Co. Be it Keto-friendly foods, vegetables with bacon, stove-top sauces or skillet meals, Crespo is delivering high-quality products for the frozen category. He’s a chef leading a team of innovators that bring restaurant quality to the frozen section, listening to buyers’ questions and asks and delivering flavor and results.


CHRISTOPHER CORADINI, category manager, grocery, Own Brands, Wakefern Food

REBECCA MONTEMARANO, lead innovation category manager, Own Brands, Wakefern Food

Coradini has launched several categories such as private label baby food in ShopRite, piloted a virtual workshop in the summer on Mexican foods that set the tone for future workshops, manages one of the more successful categories in own brands in salty snacks (up 200% in sales) and helped debut Paperbird Blue, a new household item. In less than 2 years at Wakefern, Coradini is driving major impact in private label at Wakefern.

With the private brand team for nearly two years at Wakefern, Montemarano has already moved up into a lead innovation category manager role, helping to get first-to-market own brands on shelves. From September 2020 to May 2021, she helped launch 120 SKUs, generating $5.3 million in sales. Montemarano dedicates herself to innovating, such as learning about restaurant trends in different states, and having meaningful talks with suppliers to uncover exciting ideas.

Store Brands

July/August 2021

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BRight FOR


DANA PONCZEK, senior product development manager II, private brands consumables, Walmart Ponczek brings to Walmart years of experience as a formulation chemist within the CPG industry, making her, as her nominator said, the “go to” expert in the categories she covers. Ponczek has brought new products to market across OTC, Rx, household and personal care, recently introducing the first store brand insulin for the underinsured customer. She’s also developed private brand categories that haven’t existed previously at Walmart within weight management and performance nutrition and helped new suppliers grow during the pandemic while in charge of PPE items like isopropyl alcohol, disposable gloves and face masks.

ALAN ADATO, merchandising and procurement manager, Yesway/Allsup’s Nominated twice, by two different colleagues, Adato doesn’t quite fit the age profile of a rising star, but he switched careers into food later in life and has only been with Yesway for less than three years. And, in the last 18 months, Adato has launched more than 400 own brand SKUs, working with suppliers of all sizes to bolster the Yesway and newly acquired Allsup’s private brand items. He’s billed as one of the hardest workers in the company, sourcing new own brands and even taking on additional projects such as working with Amazon Lockers.

With a heritage spanning 117 years, the Our Family® brand has thrived across many generations. Today is no different. The entire SpartanNash team is proud to congratulate

Becca McKenzie, OwnBrands Marketing Specialist, for her Rising Stars recognition from Store Brands Magazine. The future of one of America’s most enduring and beloved private brands is in good hands with rising stars like Becca and the entire team of dedicated professionals at SpartanNash.

Well done!

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Store Brands


8/18/21 11:11 AM





ed Bath & Beyond has been dominating the private label news cycle with its ongoing launches of 10 new owned brands scheduled to hit shelves into the next fiscal year. The chain’s launched store brands covering bath, bedroom, kitchen tools and housewares, all aimed at revolutionizing how shoppers view the store and the category. But it’s not just Bed Bath & Beyond looking to fuel the home goods category. Target reported in its first quarter report a record breaking 36%, year-over-year sales increase in its store brand sales, fueled largely by increases in home goods. That category was up 30% on the year. Part of this success comes through continued new partnerships in the area including a Pillowfort store brand tie in with author Christian Robinson, offering more than 70 exclusive, limited-time goods. There’s a partnership with Jungalow on home goods in its Opalhouse line, an exclusive partnership 52

Store Brands


July/August 2021

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with Levi’s that leverages the apparel company’s designs into a home collection, and a first-ever limited-time rollout with plant stylist Hilton Carter. “Because of our unique capabilities in product design, development and sourcing, our owned brand products offer an unbeatable combination of design, quality and value,” said Christina Hennington, EVP, chief growth officer, Target, during the Q1 analyst call. “These brands aren’t something that our guests pick up while they’re at Target, they’re a big reason why they shop at Target, which is why we continue to invest in them.” With Gap Home, Walmart launched a new home goods line featuring an exclusive collection designed by the famed apparel retailer. Additionally, Lowe’s has been putting a strong focus on shoppers reviving the home space, promoting its allen + roth, Project Source and Harbor Breeze store brands in curated programs selected by influential fashion stylists.

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Big Lots has pivoted its assortment to the home, too, introducing what it said is its largest assortment of patio furniture accessories and more for the home ever. The retailer touts the Broyhill and Real Living brands. Bed Bath & Beyond’s new lines so far include: Nestwell (bed and bath goods), Haven (primarily bath items), Our Table (kitchenware), Simply Essential (cross-category value products), Wild Sage (youth-inspired bed and home goods) and Squared Away (storage products). The retailer has said it aims to triple the sales penetration of its private label from 10% to 30% over the next three years.

Mixing It Up

Home mixology is also on the rise. A recent consumer survey by Drizly, a Boston-based alcohol e-commerce platform, reveals that more than half of those polled said that they made more cocktails at home during the pandemic, and among those who did so, more than half plan to continue doing so in the future. Drizly’s data indicates that sales of mixers, bitters and other cocktail ingredients spiked dramatically on the platform since March 2020. The category presents an additional opportunity for retailers. NPD data shows that beverageware blossomed during the pandemic, with sales of margarita glasses, martini glasses and pilsner/ pub glasses up 191%, 59% and 29%, respectively, in the three months ending August 2020 versus the prior year. “Barware and cocktails grew, especially things that allowed you to experiment.” Said NPD Group’s Joe Derochowski. “Highball tumblers and margarita glasses did tremendously well.”


According to data from The NPD Group, the housewares category saw a 25% spike in sales in 2020, fueled by a rise in cooking at home. “The housewares industry has been super hot,” said Joe Derochowski, home industry advisor at Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD. “Consumers turned pandemic-driven boredom into an opportunity to experiment with cooking. We’re starting to see a bit of a decline versus a year ago, but sales are still up significantly versus 2019.” IRI data shows that across all channels, dollar sales of non-electric kitchen tools for the 52-week period ended May 16, 2021, grew 21%, drinkware surged 20% and kitchen storage was ahead 12%. And as consumers continue to be more adventurous with food prep at home, specific housewares segments are likely to see continued upside. Sales of bakeware were particularly strong during the pandemic — NPD data shows the segment with 44% yearover-year growth in the three months ending August 2020 — and consumers have shown a continued interest in baking at home. In a 2019 podcast on cookware and bakeware trends, Erika Sirimanne, head of home and garden at Londonbased Euromonitor International, observed that consumers are focused on enjoying time spent at home, and are also craving simplicity, health and wellness at home. “This back-to-basics approach has stoked a demand for home baking,” said Sirimanne. While the pandemic shaped the kinds of foods people served — for instance, sales of mini Bundt cakes pans soared when sharing foods became taboo — as consumers ease restrictions on gatherings, Derochowski advised retailers to stay tuned to subtle changes in how consumers are preparing and serving foods, and adapt their assortments to reflect those new trends. While consumers will continue to be creative with their cooking, Leana Salamah, VP of marketing

at the Chicago-based International Housewares Association (IHA), sees the biggest opportunity in the return of at-home entertaining. “After 15 months of honing new cooking skills, consumers are ready to put them to use in gathering their families and friends back at their homes after this protracted separation,” said Salamah. “That represents an enormous opportunity for tableware, barware, textiles and prep-to-table items. In addition, it represents a major opportunity for kitchen electrics that facilitate gatherings — think raclettes and fastcook pizza ovens.” Salamah added that outdoor living in general is huge right now, “and consumers have gotten really creative with ways to extend the use of their outdoor space beyond the traditional seasons. I’ve seen a lot of new grilling products coming out that make cleanup much easier and that facilitate nighttime grilling, lots of grill lights, and even utensils that light up.” NPD’s Derochowski predicts that as people continue to entertain outdoors, housewares segments related to outdoor entertaining will present opportunities for retailers to capture even more housewares sales. “All the things related to outdoor entertaining, from décor to tabletop, are on the rise dramatically,” he said. Supermarkets are seizing the opportunity for incremental high-margin impulse sales as consumers head outdoors. Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans Food Markets recently featured melamine serveware and outdoor lanterns, retailing from $89.99 to $59.99, on an endcap at the back of the store. The display featured an outdoor table and chairs set with coordinating dishware and table linens. Other chains have found different ways to send that message. Storeentrance displays at a ShopRite store, operated by a member of Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern Food, recently featured portable grills, skewers and plasticware, in addition to condiments and snacks. SB

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Store Brands


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InstagramInspired Approach to Store Brands Target is on a streak in home goods, apparel and nonfoods areas, and the retailer has been looking to Instagram to promote the partnerships — both as a platform but also who to partner with. One recent partnership was the retailer’s first-ever exclusive partnership with a plant stylist named Hilton Carter. Interestingly, Carter rose to prominence via his Instagram account, posting since 2011 and amassing a following that is north of half a million people. Fittingly, Target promoted the products on Instagram via its account and sponsored ads, and via leveraging Carter’s reach to further the products. Similarly, Target released a private brand tie-in with Jungalow, accessing Justina Blakeney’s reach over Instagram, and combining its Pillowfort store brand with a collaboration with children’s author Christian Robinson. Also, interestingly, all three partnerships furthered the retailer’s commitment to source and design products from Black creators. The retailer’s almost sourcing partnerships through Instagram. Here’s a look at some of the ads:

Target’s Pillowfort tie-in with Christian Robinson leveraged his artoffun account. Fun Jungalow videos promoted the partnership.

This ad touted the limited-time availability. 54

Store Brands

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July/August 2021

Clever word play for Hilton Carter. ●

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