PLMA trade show features keynote from IGA president and CEO

The Local Checkout: John Ross emphasized equality in food access; Black-woman-owned grocer to break ground in Chicago on Wednesday.
Private Label Trade Show
John Ross, president and CEO of Chicago-based IGA, Inc. was the keynote speaker on Monday morning at this year’s Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) Trade Show. / Photo courtesy: WGB

The Local Checkout

Private label is booming

John Ross, president and CEO of Chicago-based IGA, Inc. was the keynote speaker on Monday morning at this year’s Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) Trade Show. And, in case anyone is wondering, private label is continuing its hot streak.

This year’s trade show at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center was packed with attendees and more than 1,650 exhibitors.

In his keynote, Ross said that most middle-class families are “marginal” middle-class families as high prices and inflation have put extreme pressures on everyone, especially people with children. 

He challenged the audience with a mission to make sure everyone has the “same access to food,” noting that doing so would “improve the overall health of our country.”

Ross also kept the audience engaged as he spoke about global economic trends, retailing and the opportunity for private growth.

"I've got a global network, and many of you are global suppliers," Ross told the audience.

Looking to develop the best marketing practices, Ross said the challenge is to figure out how to take best practices of private-label merchandising and market them. "We are hungry for that information," he told the audience.

IGA operates 6,500 stores worldwide.

PLMA winners

On Sunday, PLMA announced its 2023 Salute to Excellence Award Winners. Among the winners were a few independent retailers, including Lowes Foods, which took home the prize in the specialty sauces, rubs and condiments category for its premium brown bag Truffle Your Feathers Black Garlic Truffle Sauce. Foxtrot, a hybrid corner store, cafe and delivery market, was a winner in the water category for its one-liter alkaline water with electrolytes.

Other happenings

Liviri has selected the recipient of its first-ever e-grocer grant program. Madison Foods, which has some of the most amazing mountain views in the country, is a locally-owned, independent grocery store in Ennis, Montana.

Liviri, a reusable packaging solutions company, developed the grant program to award resources to an independent grocer to drive operational excellence and optimize supply chain management for the ever-evolving e-grocery sector.

"Right now, we have to make multiple trips in order to keep groceries cold during transit, which is not cost-effective," said Chris Gentry, owner of Madison Foods. "With Liviri's Sprint totes and a better storage system, we'll be able to store food for significantly longer times, allowing us to deliver to more of our customers in one trip without worrying about spoilage."

Black-woman-owned grocer to break ground

A Black-owned grocery store is starting construction on Chicago’s West Side, bringing healthy options to a food desert. Forty Acres Fresh Market, owned by Liz Abunaw, has found a home for its first brick-and-mortar location.

The new store will provide fresh produce, meat, dairy and other essentials to members of the community within walking distance of their homes. Forty Acres is commemorating the milestone with a groundbreaking ceremony, “400 Years to Forty Acres” on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 5713 W Chicago Ave.

Abunaw will be on hand to acknowledge the beacon of change for the neighborhood, the partners that are bringing this store to life, and the importance of making healthy food accessible to individuals and neighborhoods. 

Thanks for reading The Local Checkout. Got an indie grocery story news item you think I missed? Email dadam@winsightmedia.com 



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