Epic's Top 5 Takeaways from the PLMA Show


Nov 16, 2022

The Epic Sales Partners team travelled to Chicago to attend the PLMA store brands show that highlights innovation and new products. This sold-out show was the first since 2019. The store brands category continues to gain strength, capturing a 20% share of unit sales and an 18.4% share of dollar sales (Source:  PLMA).

Many retailers, such as Kroger, Albertsons and HEB, are focused on driving share to over 30%. Growth in store brands over the first eight months of 2022 was 9.4%, nearly twice the rate of national brands (Source:  IRI).

Here are a few team takeaways from the PLMA show:

  1. “Premiumization” – Suppliers and retailers are focused on store brand quality and sophistication. They are capitalizing on consumer taste trends and accelerating their introduction of new items to become a leader rather than a close follower. Examples of the Salute to Excellence Award winners included Price Chopper’s Market 32 Spinach & Garlic Chicken Sausage and Smart & Final’s First Street Coffeecake Muffins.

  2. Plant-based Meats and Cheeses – PLMA featured over 100 exhibitors offering a dedicated section of plant-based alternatives, including kebabs, meatballs, burgers, and cheese slices. According to the Plant Based Foods Association, the category grew 54% over the past three years. Many retailers are launching dedicated plant-based brands, such as Target’s Good & Gather Plant Based. It will be interesting to see how prevalent this category is in upcoming food shows, as the has been some recent slowing in the category in response to price increases and reduced consumer trials.

  3. Healthy and Fresh – Retailers are introducing healthful attributes to their store brands, with a focus on “simple, clean ingredients” (60% of retailers focusing), “health and well-being” (33%), and “fresh foods” (33%).  Source: FMI

  4. Secondary suppliers – Retailers searched for additional suppliers for their core products in response to supply chain constraints resulting from COVID. Many retailers have recognized that their store brand products produced by branded suppliers might not have the size, scale, or importance relative to other manufactured SKUs.

  5. Packaging – Suppliers introduced new recyclable and functional packaging, meeting consumer expectations for environmental awareness, convenience, and reusability. Alternative materials, such as bamboo-based and second-generation recycled products are making an appearance in more everyday product lines.

Next up the Winter Fancy Food show, which will take place January 15-17th in Las Vegas. Look for your Epic Sales Partners colleagues in attendance!

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