What\’s Happening at the PLMA Show in Chicago?


The annual PLMA show is just around the corner. What\’s special and headline-making? Get a glimpse of PLMA\’s 2015 show with Jodi Daley and PLMA president Brian Sharoff. Then, make sure to see PLMA\’s direct-from-the-show coverage starting Monday, Nov. 16. New products, new categories, new ideas in marketing and merchandising. All private brands.

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Christopher Durham

Martha Stewart & Christopher Durham to Speak at PLMA’s Annual Trade Show


The Private Label Manufacturers Association today announced its slate of speakers and seminars for its 2014 “Store Brands Reality Trade Show,” to be held November 16-18, in Chicago. Headlining the program will be a keynote speech by Martha Stewart, founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Emmy Award-winning television show host, entrepreneur, bestselling author and one of America’s most recognizable business and media personalities.

Product lines bearing the Martha Stewart name have provided major retail chains with exclusive lifestyle offerings in categories that range from cooking and entertaining to gardening, home renovation, crafts, healthy living, pets and much more. Their success has expanded the concept of store brands, while opening up new possibilities for the private label industry. Her namesake company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, today reaches approximately 100 million consumers every month and has a growing retail presence with 8,500 products in thousands of retail locations.

In addition to the PLMA Keynote Breakfast, Monday, November 17, PLMA announced speakers and topics for a series of seminars on Sunday that will examine the latest retail trends, industry issues, and the strategies that are driving store brands growth, as well as for the annual PLMA Live! Breakfast on Tuesday, November 18.

Leading off PLMA’s Sunday afternoon seminars is our very own Christopher Durham. He is the founder of this site and the VP of retail brands at Theory House, the branding and retail marketing agency. “Store Brands are for Everybody” will be the session title.

Three concurrent seminars will follow: addressing retailers’ quality control issues, organic and natural foods, and trends in store brands cosmetics.

  • What Your Q.C. Department Isn’t Telling You
    Moderator: Jim Wisner, Wisner Retail Marketing
  • Store Brand Organics: Where Value Meets Profit
    Moderator: Robert Vosburgh, News Director, PLMA Live!
  • Store Brands Cosmetics: More Than a Pretty Face
    Moderator: Len Lewis, Lewis Communications

The PLMA Live! Breakfast on Tuesday, November 18, will feature a presentation by Stephen Mader, Senior Analyst for Kantar Retail on the topic of Digital Retailing.

This year’s PLMA’s will be the largest in the show’s thirty-four year history, surpassing even last year’s record show for size and attendance and presenting more than 2,400 exhibit booths throughout three major halls at Chicago’s Rosemont Convention Center. Exhibiting companies will offer up tens of thousands of products across virtually every food and beverage category – including prepared foods, frozen and refrigerated, ingredients, snacks, gourmet and specialty – while on the non-food side, exhibitors feature health and beauty care, over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, vitamins & nutrition, household, kitchen and cleaning products, DIY and general merchandise.

Among the more than 4,500 visitors who attend the event each year are the leading U.S. supermarkets, drug chains, mass merchandisers, wholesale clubs, convenience and specialty retailers, in addition to wholesalers, brokers, importers and others.


CPG’s And The “Crisis of the similar”


U.S. consumers are pushing their shopping carts past many of America\’s “national brands” and feel little regret in doing so, according to Deloitte\’s American Pantry Study of more than 375 brands across 30 product categories.

71% of say they\’re spending less on food, beverage and household goods, but don\’t feel like they\’re sacrificing much.  In fact, only 31% of “national brands” are considered a \”must have\” – one that shoppers would buy whether on sale or not consistent with the last four years that Deloitte has conducted the survey.

\"Pat_Conroy_200x200_111712\"“National brands are pressured on all sides, from persistent consumer frugality and low brand loyalty to rival and store brand competition,\” said Pat Conroy, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. Consumer Products leader. \”While consumers initially resented buying less-expensive products out of necessity a few years ago, they have changed their tune. They have shifted from a feeling of settling for lower-priced brands to settling in to store brands distinguished by high quality.”

88% of respondents say they have found several private brands that are just as good as national brands and that allow them to feel as though they are saving money without giving up anything.

Across 28 of the 30 CPG (consumer packaged goods) categories studied, Deloitte found that most consumers perceive store brand quality to be the same or better in most of them. Consumers find the highest private label quality in categories such as bottled water, tabletop disposable paper products, food storage, deli meats, condiments and salty snacks. However, year after year, the study shows certain categories where consumers remain committed to their national brands and less likely to switch, even despite price increases, including beer, pet foods, soft drinks and coffee.

Same game, different approaches
According to the study, 91% of consumers noted that they have become more resourceful. This resourcefulness has manifested itself through different savings tactics across consumer segments.  Deloitte\’s analysis categorizes consumers into four groups:

  • Super Savers (26%): Super savers enjoy the hunt, and make a concentrated effort to use coupons and visit multiple stores. They describe themselves as price-conscious and deal-seeking, and are most likely to conduct product research and price comparisons through mobile and online channels.
  • Sacrificers (19%): Sacrificers are more likely than others to switch to store brands and only 16 percent describe themselves as brand loyal; however, these compromises are accompanied by feeling of resentment. Sacrificers report the lowest mean income among the consumer segments, and are most likely to have large household sizes.
  • Planners (23%): Planners are most focused on resourceful pantry management and planning ahead to maximize their budgets. Although coming from smaller households, planners are similar to super savers in that 60 percent describe themselves as “deal-seeking.”
  • Spectators (32%): The least affected by economic conditions, spectators are more likely to buy higher-priced products by a brand they trust rather than cheaper or store alternatives, with convenience carrying more importance than price when it comes to selecting a retailer. Spectators have the highest income average compared to the other segments.

Bringing scattered brands into focus
Deloitte\’s study found a narrow set of “national brands” winning the loyalty game primarily on trust, but also on price and product positioning.

The top 10% of must-have brands differed significantly from the bottom 10% of brands – most notably with a 27% point rating difference as a product that tastes or works better.  Additionally, the majority (68%) of the top 10% of must-have brands have a more focused price positioning and outperform those that are relatively scattered.

“Traditional thinking that targets consumers at multiple price points with good, better or best offerings often misses the mark,” added Conroy. “Given the bifurcation of consumers between higher and lower income levels, brands should instead address different shoppers’ ability and willingness to spend by moving to an OK, better and excellent brand portfolio.”

Trust also trumps other brand qualities when convincing a consumer to pay a little more, though health and convenience also earn points with consumers. Nearly 8 in 10 (78%) consumers indicate they have purchased a higher-priced newly-launched product in the past year. Among them, 54% selected a more expensive product because it was a brand they trust, followed by healthier option (38%) and a company they trust (30%). Nearly 3 in 10 (28%) skipped a lower-cost alternative for one that was easy to prepare or use.

Conroy noted, \”CPG brands are suffering from a crisis of the similar, where consumers don\’t see a lot of difference between branded products on the shelf. Rather than exit a crowded category, brands should consider new growth opportunities where categories are beginning to blur – such as extending their products into new meal times, form factors and store aisles, or making a move to support from-scratch cooking or prepared meals.\”

For more information about the 2014 American Pantry Study, including in-depth survey findings, please visit:


A look at Safeway Select

Check out a couple of the recent designs for Pleasanton California based grocer Safeway by the design agency Anthem. The design work continues to expand the premium tier private label Safeway Select. The Chocolate Bars and Soda recently won awards our international Private Brand brand design competition – The Vertex Awards.\"Safeway

Safeway SELECT Chocolate Bars
The design extends the artistry of Safeway Select to its line of dark chocolates ensuring that critical cacao information was clearly communicated across the line. The flowing bands of color convey a certain gift-ability, while delivering on flavor differentiation and a product imbued with delicious variety.

\"SafewaySafeway SELECT French Style Sparkling Sodas
The design extends Safeway Select to its line of French Style Sparkling Sodas. The design accentuates the structure especially at its shoulder and hips while ensuring the products effervescence and natural flavors are tastefully delivered with a slight French flair.

\"SafewaySafeway Select Balsamic Vinegars
Safeway hoped to create a “table-worthy”, elegant redesign of its Safeway Select line of balsamic vinegars. The team’s strategic approach was to create an elevated, premium design system for the Select brand that holds together as a family, yet speaks specifically to each variety. The artful yet clean aesthetic, combined with understated yet upscale typography, commands an exciting and unique presence within the balsamic vinegar shelf set.

All Other

Private Label => Store Brands Changes Name

\"StoreLate last week at the Store Brands Decisions Summit trade magazine publisher Stagnito Media announced today that it would change the name of its private label focused publication Private Label => Store Brands and its corresponding website and events to the much more concise STORE BRANDS.

Stagnito Media acquired the Private Label magazine from E. W. Williams Publications in 2012 and combined it with (its then) existing Store Brands magazine to form Private Label => Store Brands. Stagnito also recently acquired Tesoro Media’s the Store Brands Decisions website and corresponding Store Brands Decisions Innovation & Marketing Summit as a complement to its extensive portfolio of industry awards and events.

“Store-branded products are one of the fastest-growing segments in the CPG retail marketplace,” said Harry Stagnito, President/CEO, Stagnito Media. “This name change is a reflection of that growth, and it speaks to the store brand segment’s evolution from a purely price-based proposition into one of true, branded value.”