Innovation And New Trends at PLMA’s Private Label Trade Show

More than 11,000 attendees, including retail executives and wholesalers, buyers and other visitors from the food and beverage industry, are meeting at the PLMA’s 2018 Private Label Trade Show at the Rosemont Convention Center in Chicago.

The trade show has three exhibition halls where more than 2,700 exhibit booths featuring manufacturers of food, snack and beverage, household and kitchen, GM, and health and beauty products. More than 40 countries are represented, including more than 20 national pavilions.

Founded in 1979, the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) includes members that range from multinational corporations to small and medium sized companies. PLMA provides services to more than 4,000 member manufacturers from over 70 countries.

While exhibits overall have seen gains of +5% annually since 2015, participation by exporters through PLMA international pavilions has increased +40%. This welcome expansion has been boosted by nonfoods in particular, where international pavilions experienced an increase of +75% over the same period.

Grocery retailers across the country are turning to innovative store brands products to attract loyal shoppers as competition heats up between brick and mortar and online retailers. Gone are the days when supermarkets offered only commodity products that imitated national brands.

This trend is most evident in PLMA’s 2018 Salute to Excellence Awards program, where more than 500 new store brands food and nonfood products were evaluated by panels of industry professionals and consumers. Judges selected 53 products, 38 food and 15 nonfood items, for Salute to Excellence Awards.

In grocery, some winners feature unusual flavor combinations, such as Metro’s Irresistibles Green Tea and White Chocolaty ice cream bar and Albertsons Signature SelectTM Chipotle Craft Beer BBQ Sauce.

Others reflect the latest consumer trends, such as Aldi’s Earth GrownTM Quinoa Crunch Veggie Burger, Sobey’s Compliments Naturally Simple Ancient Grain Steel Cut Oatmeal, Walmart’s Great ValueTM Ciabatta Pizza Crusts, and 7-Eleven’s 7-Select© Go! Smart Clean & Green Cold Pressed Organic Juice.

Some offer distinctive ingredients, including Wegmans for Pasilla Pepper Adobo Bold Roasted Chili Paste. Products emphasizing international and multicultural flair were winners, too, like Kroger’s HemisFaresTM Cornicabra Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Wakefern’s Shop Rite Trading CompanyTM Imported Artichoke Hearts from Peru, or Lidl’s Preferred Selection British Vintage Cheddar Cheese.

“What is really amazing is how good retailers have become in spotting trends and developing new products,” said PLMA president Brian Sharoff. “Ten years ago, all you heard were complaints from national brands about how private Label was nothing more than copy-cats. Now it is the retailers and their store brands suppliers who are pioneering and leading the way.”

All the winning products are on display at PLMA’s 2018 Private Label Trade Show, from November 11th to 13th at the Rosemont Convention Center near Chicago.

The event is the largest private label exhibition in North America, attracting more than 11,000 attendees, including buyers, visitors and exhibitor personnel.