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The road to store brand success: the PLMAs 2014 trade show made it clear that the private label industry is not slowing down.

Retailers' continued dedication to building their private brand offerings was apparent at last month's Private Label Manufacturers Association Store Brands Reality Trade Show. A record number of exhibitors and attendees braved the single-digit wind chill sweeping Chicago on November 16-18 to find out what private label manufacturers have been working on.

Wellness, convenience and sustainability are still driving many categories in the supermarket--and quite often, private label remains at the top of the innovation game. Furthermore, as consumers become less and less brand loyal, store brands continue to thrive.

Here is a small selection of new products looking for a home on retailers' shelves.

Berner Foods

BERNER IS DIPPING INTO THE BEAN TREND WITH two flavors of bean dips--Jalapeno Cheddar Dip and Jalapeno Bean Dip. The Dakota, Ill.-based manufacturer expanded on the bean dip line after receiving an outstanding response for its reformulated black bean dip, said Theresa Rauch, director of marketing. Both are available for private label in a 15-ounce jar.

"Bean dips are huge right now. Millennials want a lot of unique flavors and want things that are different--and they are not brand loyal. This is a huge opportunity for store brands right now," said Rauch. The company also introduced a Double Cheddar Pasta Sauce. www.bernerfoods.com

Bektrom Food and Beverage

BERTROM FOODS CAME UP WITH ANOTHER USE FOR LIFE'S LEMONS--Citrus Sea Salt. Made with lemon peel, orange peel and orange oil, the sea salt is the latest addition to the Monroe, Mich.-based company's line of grinders and will available in 2015. The flavor is great for seafood dishes and even popcorn, said company officials.

The entire line of grinders was redesigned with the goal of making the product name more visible and easier to read on the shelf.

Also new to the company's portfolio are two flavors of Deluxe Mac--Spicy Buffalo Wing and Nacho Cheese. "The number one and number two products in our entire company are regular Deluxe Mac and Deluxe Shells," said Thomas Barbella, president, so it was a natural line extension. www.bektrom.com

Charles & Alice

CHARLES AND ALICE HAVE FOUND THEIR WAY TO the U.S.--and they brought some friends. The French company, Charles & Alice Group, began manufacturing its branded Fruit Friends Squeezeable Fruit in Lancaster, Pa., this past summer.

The all-natural, no-sugar-added fruit pouch is aimed at 3- to 8-year-old kids and available in five SKUs--Apple Mango, Apple Berry Banana, Apple Strawberry, Apple and Grape. Sold under the brand in 3.2-ounce pouches in a 4-pack and a 12-pack, the line is also available for private label.

"Everyone who tries the product comes back and buys it," said David Goldberg, national sales director, adding that the product has no preservatives or artificial flavors and is made from 100% fruit. "We are the only true no sugar added product." www.charlesetalice.fr

Dra Bello

DRA BELLO HAS INTRODUCED ALOPLASTINE TO the U.S. market. Sold in the European market under the Johnson & Johnson brand for more than 50 years, the formula is used to treat skin irritation, as well as Eczema and Grover's Disease among other uses.

"It is an awesome formula," said Ruben D. Guerrero, marketing director. "It is brand new to the U.S. market; a lot of people want to know where they can find it."

The Houston-based company is selling it under the trademarked name, Aloplastine, or Formula 21, in a 1-ounce bottle, and it is available for private label. "We are looking for a strong partner in the industry," said Guerrero. www.drabello.tv or contractpackagingcompany.com

LiDestri Food & Beverage

LIDESTRI FOOD & BEVERAGE IS TARGETING ALL CHOCOLATE LOVERS WITH its latest product--Chocolate Hazelnut Spread. Being a big fan of Nutella, the Rochester, N.Y.-based company's CEO, Giovanni LiDestri, wanted to create a private label option for other chocolate hazelnut lovers.

"This has been one of our main focuses this year with the intention of launching it at the PLMA," said Mary Rose DeMarco, marketing manager, adding that it has received a fantastic response. Sold in an 18-ounce plastic container, the spread will be available in 2015.

In an effort to meet customer requests for organic, LiDestri introduced a line of three organic fruit spreads--Strawberry, Red Raspberry and Blueberry. "These days organic is the first thing most people ask for," DeMarco said.

Other new items include a line of custom-flavored BBQ Sauces; a number of Asian sauces; and specialty ketchup and specialty mustard options. The company is also adding HPP (High Pressure Processing) capabilities to its production process in 2015. www.lidestrifoods.com

Phoenix Food

PHOENIX FOOD IS BRINGING ORGANIC TO THE PANTRY. With a clean and upscale look, the Modern Pantry organic brand was designed for modern shoppers with busy lifestyles looking for simple and healthy organic meals.

Launching in Spring 2015, the line includes a wide range of products: Tortilla Soup; Garlic Pesto Cheese Ball; Chicken Enchilada Soup; Black Bean Salsa; Jalapeno Garlic Cheese Ball; Three Cheese Garlic Biscuit; Cajun Gumbo; and Orange Blossom Muffin.

"Organic is a well-established category and still an up-and-coming market that we should be focusing on," said Ken Johnson, CEO for the Canton, Texas-based company. "The line fits well in all store formats from fresh to upscale to big box." www.phoenixfoodco.com

Palo Popcorn

"BACON MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER," is a sentiment that many shoppers live by. Palo Popcorn shares this thought and has added Bacon Cheddar and Bacon Jalapeno Cheddar varieties to its line of popcorn.

Popped wet and then tossed in a coconut oil-based flavor mix, the popcorn stands out with a creamy yet crunchy texture that brings back memories for many consumers, said Cheri Hau, general manager for the Sheboygan Falls, Wis.-based company. "Many movie theaters used to put coconut oil on their popcorn instead of butter and we receive many letters from fans telling us that our popcorn brings back a lot of memories," she added. All the varieties are sold under the Palo Popcorn brand in 1.2-, 3- and 8-ounce bags, and are available for private label.www.palopopcorn.com

Ricos Products Co.

RICOS' NACHO CHEESE CAN NOW BE "YOUR CHEESE," TOO. RICOS Product Co. is offering its nacho cheese for private label branding in a wide range of sizes from 3.5-ounce cups to 11-ounce cans. It is also available for foodservice in a number of pouch sizes.

"Our nacho cheese has an amazing taste because it has jalapenos in it," said Roy Myrick, business development manager for the San Antonio, Texas-based company.

Two flavors of restaurant-style tortilla chips are also now available for private label branding--Original and Southwestern Seasoned. "There really isn't anybody on the market with a lightly seasoned chip," said Myrick. www.ricos.com

Satispie

WHEN GENERAL MILLS SOLD OFF ITS PIE DIVISION, Michael Pinkowski seized the opportunity to create a dessert line he would be proud to serve his family and friends. Now, SatisPie offers nearly 60 varieties of frozen pies for private label and in-store bakery, and six SKUs under the SatisPie brand--Apple, Cherry, Wild Maine Blueberry, Triple Berry, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato. All products are made in its Rochester, N.Y., grade A BRC facility.

The selling point is that the entire line of branded and private label is all natural and made without any artificial preservatives and flavors. In all the SKUs, the number one ingredient is fruit, said Pinkowski, the company's president. "It is what a pie is supposed to be made of."

While made to the highest quality, Pinkowski designed the 9-inch pies to be a "value dessert indulgence" and retail in the range of $5-$6, depending on the marketplace. www.satispie.com

Seneca Foods Corp.

SENECA FOODS IS SHOWING CONSUMERS WHAT THEIR FOOD CONSISTS OF--LITERALLY. The company's line of vegetables is packaged in transparent plastic cups. The BPA non-intent, microwavable packaging is shelf stable for 18-months.

The vegetables--corn, peas, green beans, sliced carrots and mixed vegetables--are available in 7-ounce individual containers and 4-ounce containers sold in a sleeve. They were launched under the company's Libby brand in October and will be available for private label in the future.

Also new from the Marion, N.Y.-based company is a line of beans packaged in a pouch. Ready to serve cold or microwaveable, the line includes organic and conventional varieties with four different beans--Black, Kidney, Pinto and Garbanzo. They will be available in early 2015. www.senecafoods.com

Trilliant Food, Beverage & Nutrition

TRILLIANT FOOD, BEVERAGE & NUTRITION WAS HEATING THINGS UP IN CHICAGO. The Little Chute, Wis.-based company launched a number of single-serve hot beverages. Coffee, cappuccino, cocoa, tea, cider and others are among the new tastes sold under Trilliant's family of brands, including Indulgio, RenuYu, Rio Grande Roasters and Organic High Desert Roasters.

"The single-serve segment continues to expand but manufacturers will need a bigger and better toolkit of offerings to address consumer needs and fuel growth," said Pete Sawin, vice president of marketing and innovation.

The company is also expanding its range of flavors, including several flavors created with the Latino market in mind, such as Horchata Cappuccino and Spicy Black Raspberry Hot Cocoa. www.trilliantfood.com
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Title Annotation:UPFRONT: PLMA Roundup
Author:Hatt, Elizabeth Louise
Publication:Grocery Headquarters
Date:Dec 1, 2014
Words:1520
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