• Restocking Kroger
    Kroger’s new initiatives seek to utilize the giant retailer’s extensive database to increase sales. David Merrefield profiles the executives heading up the effort.

    David Merrefield
    Restocking Kroger
    February 2018
    There’s a new dynamic going on at Kroger these days, and it all has to do with data. 
    Kroger has big plans to use its vast data resources to fuel changes, such as redesigning stores to highlight private brands. It will also seek to become more of a broad-line retailer than a food-only retailer. 
    These moves will put Kroger in a much-improved position to resist being swept away in the epic battle between Walmart and Amazon for supremacy in U.S. retailing.  

    Kroger has dubbed its new initiative the “Restock Kroger Plan,” and has put a new executive team in charge of it. Let’s meet them.
    Appointed by Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen to lead the effort was Mike Donnelly. He was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer. Previously, he was executive vice president of retail operations. Donnelly’s career includes executive stints at Fry’s Food Stores, and as a merchandising vice president at Kroger’s Ralphs division.
  • A Year Later
    Ahold and Delhaize merged just over a year ago. The changes are more obvious in Europe, though Roy White notes there are significant shifts stateside as well.

    Roy White
    A Year Later
    February 2018
    Ahold and Delhaize have been merged for little over a year. In Europe, there’s a new Global Office Services HQ group, stores have been sold off to satisfy regulations, and management has undergone some shake-ups. Sales and underlying operating income have risen substantially on a proforma basis.
    In the US, results from new programming are still to come. Top management at Ahold Delhaize has decided to consolidate its US operations into a single company, Ahold Delhaize USA. It had been creating a highly decentralized operation with Ahold USA and Delhaize America operating as separate entities. A Retail Business Services group had been formed to handle own brands, digital, HR, IT and supply chain.
    Now, however, the brands – Stop & Shop, Giant, Food Lion and Hannaford, along with Peapod and the Retail Business Services group – will directly report to the new parent entity.
  • Private Label Stars
    Omnichannel marketing has hit a threshold, and several companies are leading the way ‑ like Walmart’s Jet.com. Christopher Durham explains how store brands play a key role.

    Christopher Durham
    Private Label Stars
    January 2018
    Boxed, Brandless and Jet   which was recently acquired by Walmart   are shaking up the traditional grocery channel with online models designed to drive low cost and convenience. Each is uprooting and changing how consumers think, behave and buy.
    Private brands play the role of strategic differentiator for each of these disruptors.
    Founded in 2013, Boxed has taken the traditional club store and folded it into an innovative, digital experience that Forbes called Costco for Millennials -- all without a membership fee. With 133-Million dollars in venture capital funding, Boxed went from a scrappy startup in a garage to 100-Million in annual sales in less than four years.

    The company’s curated online assortment of 15-Hundred products drove the retailer to adopt a nuanced, modern approach to design. The purpose of the packaging is not to capture the sale; it is to engage with customers in an authentic and playful way, with an occasional touch of wit and humor.

  • Taste Test
    In this era of label transparency, forward-thinking manufacturers are changing ingredients for their processed foods. Dr. Kantha Shelke discusses recipe options.

    Dr. Kantha Shelke
    Taste Test
    January 2018
    Understanding the science of food and the underlying mechanism of taste can help elevate flavors and enjoyment without denting quality, profit margins, or the growing demand for clean labels. This is particularly true as private label works to match or exceed national brands.
    The trend towards shorter ingredient lists with alternatives that appeal to consumers is phasing out artificial flavors including monosodium glutamate (MSG) and adenosine monophosphate (nucleotide). Despite years of use, today they sound unfriendly, unpronounceable, and artificial. Natural flavors may seem like the logical solution, but not many are commercially viable because they’re complex and lack the consistency and stability of their synthetic counterparts.

    So what can private label manufacturers to do? There are several options available that help satisfy consumers’ desires for more transparent labels, while still protecting product integrity. Let’s look at a few.
PLMALive! Archives:
the Best of the Year Past
In The Stores, On The Shelves

In this month's edition, Amazon's private labels are playing a big part in eating up more food market share; Meijer launches a new line of OTC products; check out Price Chopper's cool new PIC soda cans, and try on new Millennial-focused cosmetics from Walgreens. Click here for video.

An Independent Opportunity

John Ross, the new president and CEO of IGA, believes the skeptics about the future of independent grocery retailers are wrong. There’s plenty of opportunity, he says, as grocery shoppers seek more high-touch, personalized experiences.

Meal Kits Future

The $2.2 billion meal kit segment attracts big investment dollars but remains plagued by setbacks and skepticism. Veronica Carvalho reports.

Good-Bye 2017. Hello 2018.

2017 was a big year with big retail changes. What will 2018 bring? Get ahead of the curve with PLMA’s annual Year-End/Year-Ahead program. Join Don Stuart of Cadent Consulting, Neil Stern of McMillanDoolittle, Matthew Boyle of Bloomberg News and Todd Hale, formerly with Nielsen, as they look at what Walmart, Amazon, Kroger and Costco did last year and what they may be planning for the new year. Tim Simmons moderates.

Changing Channels

Shifts in television viewing habits are altering the way marketers reach out to consumers. Brad Edmondson looks at who's tuning in - and tuning out.

Clean Label Conundrum

Consumers may love clean label transparancy, but Dr. Kantha Shelke explains what's 'real' isn't always best for quality or consistency.

Clubs Close the Gap

Reinvigorated house brands at BJ's and Sam's Club boost company marketing plans. Christopher Durham explains how it's being done.

Lidl Has Landed

Michael Paglia, Director of Retail Insights at Kantar Retail, is optimistic about the success of Lidl in the U.S.

Post-Show Report from Chicago

What happens in Las Vegas may stay in Las Vegas, but what happens at PLMA’s 2017 Private Label Trade Show definitely gets around and quickly. All the products, all the trends, all the companies with innovations. Now you can catch up with all of it with this special post-show report. News anchor Jodi Daley and PLMA president Brian Sharoff bring it alive with direct-from-the-floor stories by Michael Sansolo, Bob Vosburgh and Carol Angrisani.

Who Owns Pets?

Eighty-five million U.S. households own a dog or cat. Brad Edmondson reveals which demographic groups are driving growth in the $67 billion petcare category.

Vegans on the Rise

More Europeans are pursuing plant-based lifestyles, and it’s catching on with American consumers, too. Judith Kolenburg gives the industry something to chew on.

The Big Gamble

Sears and Kohl’s have struck exclusive agreements with Amazon that creates new ways to reach consumers. Roy White bets that the deals also carry substantial risks.