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

    Veronica Carvalho
    Meal Kits Future
    December 2017
    Back in 2012, when Blue Apron delivered their first few meals out of their New York kitchen, they knew they were on to something. The group of friends who beta-tasted the first meals couldn’t stop raving about it and the business soared. In about 36 months, Blue Apron was valued at 2 billion dollars and a new concept had come into consumers’ lives. 
    Today, the meal kit industry represents a $2.2 billion dollars in sales and is a huge help for consumers who are strapped for time but still want quality meals. The market has matured in and it’s packed with startups.
    Consumer potential seems compelling. Last year, Nielsen reported that one out of four adults purchased a meal kit, although the percentage who stay with the service varies considerably.
  • 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.

    Brad Edmondson
    Changing Channels
    December 2017
    Understanding market research is like searching for buried treasure. You have to dig.  If you only glance at the American Time Use Survey, you might notice that we spend less time reading than we did a decade ago.  Well, any journalist could have told you that.  But let's keep looking.  
    This survey also shows that young adults spend less time watching TV than they did in 2006, although Americans over the age of 45 actually spend more time in front of the tube.  That is kind of interesting, but let's stick with young adults for a minute. The survey also shows that men aged 21 to 30 spent 12 percent less time working in 2015 than they did in 2000.  So if they aren't reading, watching TV, or working, what the heck are they doing?
    To find out why work hours fell, researchers looked at trends in work and leisure time for young men between 2004 and 2015.  As you might expect, leisure time increased as work hours fell.
  • 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.

    Dr. Kantha Shelke
    Clean Label Conundrum
    December 2017
    Clean Label is now a mainstream consumer movement. For consumers, the key words are 'real', transparency and authenticity. It’s not just a trend, it’s the way to manufacture products.
    According to online resource Go Clean Label, such food products should contain natural, familiar, simple ingredients that are easy to recognize, understand and pronounce   No artificial ingredients or synthetic chemicals.
    Clean Label seems deceptively simple but begins to unravel when science digs deeper. The term has no legal or commonly-accepted definition. Clean Label’s a catch-all for “all natural”, “minimally processed,” “sustainable” and “free of genetically engineered materials” – a panoply of claims without scientific evidence.
    Manufacturers are facing significant challenges.
  • Clubs Close the Gap
    Reinvigorated house brands at BJ's and Sam's Club boosts company marketing plans. Christopher Durham explains how it's being done.

    Christopher Durham
    Clubs Close the Gap
    December 2017
    After years of playing second fiddle to Costco, BJs Wholesale Club and Walmart-owned Sam’s Club are making moves to close the gap.
    Costco’s Kirkland Signature, with estimated annual sales of 24.6-Billion dollars, has long been the standard bearer of private brand in the club channel. However, both number two Sam’s Club, and number three BJ’s Wholesale club are setting their sights on stealing share.
    In early 2017, Sam’s Club announced the reinvention of its 10-Billion dollar private brand, Member’s Mark. The updated brand was the result of substantial investment over the prior year, streamlining 21 private brands into one. It’s a move which placed the single twenty-year-old brand in head-to-head competition with Costco.
    But the move was more than a redesign, more than just slapping on a label.
PLMALive! Archives:
the Best of the Year Past
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.

Pop Up Power

Jaded bricks-and-mortar shoppers find limited-time pop-up stores bring new excitement during an important selling season. Bob Vosburgh pops in on the pop up trend.

The Online Challenge

Matt Boyle, Bloomberg journalist, says the big brick and mortar retailers are taking different online strategies to meet the challenge from Amazon.

Where Is Market Research Taking Us?

Are millennials really the force of the future? PLMA’s newsdesk looks at what market research is telling us and why it is misleading retailers and manufacturers.

Who’s Cooking?

Retailers can thank Millennials for the popularity of prepared meals and kits. Brad Edmondson explains why young people aren’t home cooking.

Shopping Lidl

Private label dominates the shelves inside the new U.S. stores operated by Lidl. Christopher Durham visits two stores and takes us on a tour of the aisles.

Fresh Face at Fresh Market

Larry Appel is named CEO at The Fresh Market as the chain realigns stores and expands private label to capture mainstream shoppers. David Merrefield reports.

Antibiotic Resistance

Some antimicrobial chemicals in cleaning products are now banned by the FDA. Dr. Kantha Shelke discusses ways manufacturers are searching for alternatives.