Private label in the public eye

Grocery Headquarters once again acknowledges the standout players in the world of private label. Private label is not so private anymore. Grocery retailers across the country are leveraging private label products and their own store brands to differentiate themselves and build consumer loyalty. bagonlyIt is working, and it is the manufacturers catering to the private label industry that are at the heart of it all. No longer are they sitting by the wayside watching what the national brands are developing; they, instead, are in the driver’s seat leading the way with innovations and creating trends. To recognize the perseverance, hard work and creativity that occurs behind the scenes to create consumers’ favorite store brand products, Grocery Headquarters presents its 2014 Private Label Trailblazer Awards. The winners are… Bay Valley Foods Bay Valley Foods’ products can be found in almost every aisle of the grocery store. The Oakbrook, Ill.-based company’s offerings include single-serve hot beverages, refrigerated and shelf-stable salad dressings, pasta sauces, Mexican sauces, aseptic sauces, non-dairy powdered and liquid creamers, canned soups, powdered and liquid drink mixes, hot cereals, macaroni and cheese, skillet dinners, jams, pie fillings and pickles. “We provide our customers high quality innovative products and national brand equivalents,” says Harry Overly, senior vice president of marketing. “When you partner with Bay Valley Foods, you’re working with one of the world’s premier food companies with extensive category knowledge and exceptional consumer insights across multiple categories in every major channel of distribution.” www.bayvalleyfoods.comBerner Food and Beverage Looking at Berner Food and Beverage’s portfolio of products, it would be hard to guess that the company began by making Swiss cheese. Founded by a Swiss immigrant and her son in 1943 in Davis, Ill., the company built its business on the ethic that “hard work, persistence and industrious creativity would result in success,” says Steven L. Fay, executive vice president and sales team leader. “We say what we mean and we mean what we say. We operate in the marketplace with transparent integrity; we react quickly to opportunities; and we have a development team and project management team that I believe is second to none.” The Dakota, Ill.-based company has grown from roughly five million pounds of production 15 years ago to 160 million pounds this year. The trend is ever upward, says Fay. “I see much more environmentally friendly packaging on the horizon and more open visibility for consumers in regard to nutrition values, ingredient sources and claims. There will be improved efficiencies and automation entering the manufacturing environment, and consolidation of the players providing store brands.” www.bernerfoods.comCascades Tissue Group Recycling has been part of Cascades’ DNA since its inception in 1964. The founding family was comprised of the three Lemaire brothers and their father Antonio, who learned to make pulp with old paper from experimenting in his kitchen with his wife’s blender. Renovating old paper machines and reorganizing mills that had been abandoned or were in financial difficulty is at the heart of the company’s success. Thus, environmental issues were at the heart of Cascades’ way of thinking and approach to management before they became a feature of mainstream politics. The Candiac, QC, Canada-based company’s commitment to offer the most innovative and eco-responsible products possible is what makes them stand apart from the competition, says Craig Nelson, executive vice-president, consumer products–U.S. “This approach to product development allows us to push the boundaries of simple paper products. A good example of this thinking is our Cascades Antibacterial paper towel. When used to dry hands, water releases an active ingredient onto hands eliminating over 99.99% of bacteria.” www.afh.cascades.comCatania-Spagna Oils Catania-Spagna is a “one-stop shop for private label oils,” say its officials. The fourth-generation, family-owned processor and packer of vegetable, olive and blended oil has been servicing the retail, foodservice, bulk and export classes of trade in the food industry since 1900. The Ayer, Mass.-based manufacturer supplies a full line of oils in packaging sizes ranging from portion-control packs for foodservice and retail to 48,000-pound tank wagons for bulk customers. “The company’s new filling machine for retail bottling is state of the art with the speed and efficiency to handle high volume,” says Mark Coleman, vice president retail division. Catania is SQF Level 2 certified, organically certified through QAI and USDA as well as an active member and certified with The Non-GMO Project. www.cataniausa.comClean Ones Corp. Since 1984, Clean Ones Corp. has been committed to continually innovating and improving the glove wearing experience by providing high-quality, high-value gloves, say company officials. Based in Portland, Ore., the company is dedicated to bringing new products to the category with features and benefits designed especially to address key consumer needs. According to company officials, private label glove sales are growing as consumers continue to trade up from value-priced gloves to premium gloves as they become more aware of the features and benefits of different glove types and materials. “By offering a large variety of gloves that provide durable and comfortable hand protection combined with options such as latex-free and blended materials, color choices and other performance features, we are able to provide consumers with products that help make their lives easier,” says Kimberly Milstead, product marketing manager. www.cleanones.comFEMPRO I The mission of Fempro I is to offer peace of mind by assisting in every step of the merchandising plan, from product proposal to promotional tools. With state-of-the-art machinery and a highly qualified team, Fempro has been recognized in the industry for offering superior service, say officials. “It is the legacy of national brand expertise transmitted to our private label brands,” says Sebastien Bourassa, sales and marketing vice president. “Unlike mass manufacturers, Fempro has the ability to adjust rapidly and with ease to continuously changing market trends. A step ahead of our competitors, our knowledge of the world market allows us to be proactive with our clients. Our constant monitoring allows us to be the first to offer the latest innovations.” One of the ways the Drummondville, QC, Canada-based company stands out is through its women-only research and development team. www.fempro.comGlobal Tissue Group Global Tissue Group (GTG) may have been founded on customer service, but it has been a mix of service, quality and innovation that has kept it growing. Based in Medford, N.Y., GTG puts customer service first by working with its customers to create programs specifically tailored to their needs. “By starting the company with two lower-volume items—napkins and facial tissue—we were able to keep the inventory and produce with quick turnaround times, as well as be able to be more flexible with regards to customer needs based on sizing and count and price points,” says Daniel David, executive vice president. “That is what really helped us start in the business and create a customer base based on service, reliability and product.” Some of the company’s recent introductions include DreamSoft, a line of glow-in-the-dark facial tissues boxes, includng a space-themed package for children. “There has been very positive feedback on the glow-in-the-dark items, and we are seeing plenty of reorders for them,” says David. www.globaltissuegroup.comHomeolab USA Homeolab USA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Montreal-based Homeocan, was founded in 1987 by Michele Boisvert. A pharmacist by trade, she was one of the first women in Quebec to open her own pharmacy and begin mixing her own homeopathic formulations. The company stands apart by its continuing innovation, says Lou Machin, president, which includes more efficacious formulas, unique delivery methods and brand new item concepts. Some examples of the Boca Raton, Fla.-based company’s innovative products include Chewable tablets for adults under the Real Relief brand that help relieve symptoms associated with asthma and allergy, and one of its newest items, the Real Relief chewable Hemorrhoid relief tablet. “Our goal is to provide the retailer with items that increase the market basket by providing incremental sales and to never be considered another ‘me too’ supplier,” says Machin. “Private label is growing significantly. We are starting to see new product launches in the private label arena. In the past this would not be considered without proven brand sales and results.” www.homeolab.comHuhtamaki Huhtamaki offers a wide range of product formats and technologies as well as insights and brand marketing know-how. By participating in distinct, non-competing segments with retail brands across the whole disposable tableware category, the De Soto, Kan.-based company is positioned to objectively assess and respond to retailer and consumer needs, say officials. Huhtamaki’s disposable tableware products encompass multiple segments and technologies including printed pressboard plates, bowls and cups, white economy plates, plastic cups, plates, bowls and cutlery, as well as hot cups, premium napkins and tablecovers. “Technological innovations in paperboard, plastic and molded fiber have positioned the company to meet its customers’ needs and provide a number of competitive advantages,” says Paul Huckins, vice president of retail. www.huhtamaki.comIrving Consumer Products Irving Consumer Products (ICP) is part of J.D. Irving, a family-owned company that operates in a variety of business segments such as forestry and forest products, consumer products, food, ship building and transportation. Based in Dieppe, NB, Canada, ICP’s household paper products, such as Royale, Majesta and Scotties facial tissue, are some of North America’s top-selling tissue brands, say company officials. ICP is committed to helping customers grow by providing quality consumer packaged goods that deliver outstanding value through its focus on innovation, technology and consumer-driven insights, officials add. The company is also committed to corporate social responsibility, operating in the most sustainable way possible. www.jdirving.comJTM Foods JTM Foods officials attribute its success to its growth and recommitment to the sweet baked goods category, which underwent new management in 2010. According to Byard T. Ebling, vice president of sales and marketing, JTM maintained the “home team” knowledge base on the bakery floor and added key managers from larger nationally branded food companies to add the vision and expertise to take the company to the next level. “We do just a few things but we strive everyday to do them well,” says Ebling. The Erie, Pa.-based company has optimized the pie-in-the-box concept with made-from-scratch dough and fillings. JTM Foods is also committed to the industry standards for global quality and production tractability. As an SQF Level 2 production facility, customers can be assured of only the highest quality products on their shelves. www.jtmfoodgroup.comLiDestri Foods LiDestri Foods’ research and development department has a saying: If we can’t make it, it can’t be done. LiDestri Foods began in 1975 as Cantisano Foods, a small cheese manufacturing business, created by the Cantisano family, who previously founded and sold the Ragu Packing Co. The business evolved into pasta sauce production, first sold to foodservice and then under its own retail brand, Francesco Rinaldi, and produced for the Newman’s Own label. The company expanded its portfolio of products and in 2004 the company changed its name to LiDestri Foods, after Cantisano’s successor as CEO and president, Giovanni LiDestri. Today, Fairport, N.Y.-based LiDestri Food & Beverage consists of six manufacturing facilities, totaling 2.3-million square feet. Both LiDestri Spirits and LiDestri Beverages have been added to its line-up of core businesses. In 2013, a new Innovation Center of Excellence was built at its Lee Road facility in the Town of Greece, N.Y., complete with bench top, full kitchen and micro-line capabilities. www.lidestrifoods.comMizkan Americas Condiment manufacturer Mizkan, based in Mount Prospect, Ill., has leveraged its heritage in Asian and Hispanic foods to develop private label products that meet the growing demand for authentic flavors, as well as the need for convenience foods. Recently, Americanized versions of Asian and Hispanic cuisines have given way to more authentic, region-specific flavors, thanks in part to an increased exposure to other cultures through travel, media and changing demographics. Sriracha, for example, a spicy condiment named for a province in Thailand, has transcended its status as a condiment to become a featured ingredient in items such as dips, sauces and chips. “With its product development leadership in sauces and pepper products, Mizkan is primed to deliver premium, authentic flavors for private brands retailers that will resonate with today’s consumer,” says Jennifer Tracy, senior marketing services manager. www.mizkan.comNice-Pak Products In 2009, Nice-Pak Products introduced its “Thinking Clean, Working Green” sustainability code, which has become part of what the Orangeburg, N.Y.-based company stands for. The code focuses on five key areas: energy and greenhouse gas emissions; materials efficiency; water impact; components and chemistry; and people and community. “By improving these aspects of our business, we can not only enhance our business performance but also improve our impact on people and the environment,” says Thomas Hernquist, president. “Sustainability is a natural part of our mission, because human health and wellness is an integral part of sustainability.” Among the results of this commitment is a 24% reduction of energy use per unit of production in three years, more than double the goal of 10%. Two plants have achieved zero landfill status while overall the company has reduced total solid waste to landfill by 60% a year ahead of target. www.nicepak.comPremier Brands of America Premier Brands of America is celebrating more than 40 years as a privately held manufacturer, packager and marketer of OTC and non-OTC health and beauty aid products. The breadth of Premier’s product offerings include more than 125 different items that provide comfort and care in the areas of first aid, foot care, medicated spray, depilatory and beauty. “As we look toward the future, Premier has expanded its product line to encompass the offerings of a true ‘wellness’ manufacturer,” says Vinnie Gioffre, vice president of sales for the Mount Vernon, N.Y.-based company. “Innovation, along with a constant focus on quality, service and price have played a large role in differentiating Premier from its competition.” www.premier-brands.comRockline Industries Rockline Industries is one of the largest wet wipe converters in the world, enjoying the No. 1 or No. 2 position in store brands for baby wipes, disinfecting wipes, moist toilet tissue, antibacterial wipes, quick clean wipes and facial wipes, say company officials. The company attributes its success to its continual focus on delivering on customers’ expectations. “As the private label industry is evolving to a more consumer-based focus, Rockline has added unique tools to develop, research and design the best performing products in our categories.” says David Deising, director of marketing.  “We are particularly excited about our new, recently announced, Innovation and Technical Center based in Wisconsin.” Rockline, based in Sheboygan, Wis., created a proprietary Internet based panel of consumers to understand their desires and their preferences for both product design as well as their opinion on packaging graphics or claim descriptions. The panel is nationally based and provides quantitative results in a real time environment. www.rocklineind.comSioux Honey Association In 1921, five beekeepers near Sioux City, Iowa, started the Sioux Honey Association (SHA) as an experimental marketing project. Today, it has over 300 members marketing their honey worldwide through the Association. “What sets SHA apart from many other honey companies is that it has always packed only 100% U.S.A. honey in the retail sector for both Sue Bee Honey and private label,” says Lisa Hansel, assistant vice president of sales and marketing. In 2013, the Sioux City, Iowa-based association created a “Support the U.S.A. Honey Bee” seal, which is being applied to all of the honey they pack that directly impacts the U.S.A. honey bee, pollination and agriculture. SHA committed to a set of promises in the seal: They promise to actively support American beekeepers and the U.S.A. honey industry; to promote the essential role that honey bees play in American agriculture and the pollination of U.S. crops; and to continually test honey to guarantee premium quality and ensure it comes from known and trusted U.S.A. beekeepers. www.suebee.comTetra Pak With limited shelf space, grocers are trying to ensure they optimize their space to squeeze out as much sales and profit as possible. Tetra Pak cartons do this—and in a way that helps the environment. Cartons, made from 70% paper, a renewable resource from selectively harvested trees, are recyclable and help reduce distribution and storage space. “When launching new products, retailers have the tendency to often replicate the package of the incumbent brands in the category,” says Suley Muratoglu, vice president of marketing and product development. “It is difficult, however, to get noticed on shelf when executing in this manner. To really provide shelf differentiation and be noticed by shoppers, alternative packaging is often a better option.” Tetra Pak’s Tetra Recart, the first retortable carton package designed for products traditionally filled in cans and glass jars is an example of how the Vernon Hills, Ill.-based company is responding to this trend. “In addition to generating 30% to 40% space savings on shelves, Tetra Recart provides a way for brands to stand out on the shelf, creating competitive advantage from a visual standpoint,” says Muratoglu. www.tetrapak.comU.S. Alliance Paper U.S. Alliance Paper specializes in the manufacturing and retail packaging of tissue products. With two converting facilities—located in Edgewood, N.Y. (headquarters) and Phoenix, Az., these plants and distribution centers feature advanced technologies for everything from manufacturing through distribution. These investments have allowed U.S. Alliance to create high levels of operating efficiencies, innovative product development and product quality, say company officials; the company has the capability to manufacture all sorts of sizes, counts and qualities—1-ply, 2-ply, 3-ply, bundle or club packs and more, in ultra-, premium and value grade. U.S. Alliance Paper specializes in different solutions for each of the retailers and wholesalers with whom they work, to create success and growth in their category, say company officials. They add that with every retailer or wholesaler, the company provides fresh and creative ideas to take their product to the next level. www.usalliancepaper.comGrocery Headquarters presents the Private Label Trailblazer Achievement Award. The award recognizes an outstanding commitment to servicing the private label category. The recipient is…Daymon Worldwide At Daymon Worldwide, based in Stamford, Conn., more than 35,000 trained and passionate associates create brands and products of value that improve people’s lives, and deliver outstanding services to its clients globally. “We use our skills, knowledge and talent to make our partners more successful,” says Carla Cooper, CEO. “Our mission is to deliver unique solutions to retailers and manufacturers so they achieve differentiation, drive profitable sales growth and win customer loyalty,” says Cooper. The company believes in five key points of differentiation. According to Cooper:
  • Retailer Expertise. “We have deep connections to more than one hundred retailers around the world, and have tremendous knowledge on how to help retailers succeed across virtually all categories.”
  • Private Brand Expertise. “The 1,700 brands and 160,000 SKUs we have developed globally are testament to our power as brand builders.”
  • dRange of Services. “We can deliver insights, ideas, brand development, sourcing, merchandising and consumer engagement, through either an à la carte approach or with total solution packages.”
  • dInsights + Action. “Daymon can turn insights into differentiated products and experiences for our partners.”
  • Global Scope + Consumables Focus. “Our focus on consumables across hundreds of categories allows us to have deeper brand, category and product knowledge than other service companies.”


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