PLMA 2015 Salute to Excellence Award Winners

PLMA Salute to ExcellenceOutstanding store brands products can now be found everywhere across the country and just about anywhere across the retailing spectrum – a reality that is clearly underscored by the winners of PLMA’s Salute to Excellence award for 2015.

The Private Label Manufacturers Association has announced that 30 retail chains and wholesalers throughout the U.S. were selected as the winners of this year’s Salute to Excellence Awards. They ranged from national and regional grocery chains and wholesalers to iconic food and non-food specialty operators; from deep discount stores, convenience stores, and drug stores to operators with strong but less well-known store brand programs. Foodservice and online retail also made the list.

The annual PLMA awards give recognition to new store brands products that exemplify the high quality, innovation and value to consumers that are driving private label sales to new highs year after year.

The list of 2015 winners includes:

  • Ahold USA
  • Aldi
  • BJ’s
  • Brookshire Grocery
  • Costco
  • CVS
  • Delhaize America
  • Dean & Deluca
  • FreshDirect
  • Gordon Food Service
  • Metro Richelieu
  • Roundy’s
  • Rexall
  • Rite-Aid
  • 7-Eleven
  • Save-A-Lot
  • Sephora USA
  • Smart & Final
  • Target
  • Topco
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Ulta
  • Uniprix
  • Wakefern
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart
  • Wegmans
  • Weis Markets
  • Western Family
  • Whole Foods

More than 500 individual product nominations were submitted by supermarkets, drug chains, mass merchandisers and wholesalers from all regions of the country. Products were then subjected to evaluations and judging over a two-day period by eight jury panels consisting of industry professionals as well as consumers. The criteria for the judging include product concept, taste, texture & smell (for food items), packaging & presentation, and value for money.

“Great store brands products and programs have expanded well beyond the exclusive province of traditional grocery chains,” said Brian Sharoff, PLMA. “Retailers and wholesalers of all kinds, in foods and non-foods alike, have embraced store brands as fundamental to their competitive strategy. What we are seeing now is chains having built their store brand programs over the past few years are bolstering them with greater innovation, variety and the infusion of product ingredients of the highest quality. Our list of 2015 winners bears this out.”

Among individual store brands food products cited by PLMA were: Salt & Pepper Cashews; Organic Peanut Butter Dots; Kitchen Sink Cookies; Greek Yogurt Cheesecake, and Cheesecake Caramels. Also, Eggplant Parmigiana Polenta; Thick Cut Barbecue Chips; Yogurt Drizzled Bar, and Roasted Pine Nut Hummus. In non-foods, winners included a Digital Pacifier Thermometer; Express Dry Shampoo; Vanilla Amber Dry Skin Hand Cream, and a Digital Glass Scale.

A special display of the winning products will have prime placement in the lobby of PLMA’s 2015 Private Label Trade Show, November 15-17 in Chicago. PLMA’s Salute to Excellence Awards program also has its own showcase online. For a closer look at all the products and the trends, head to

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.