May 2024

Industry News
Sports supplements flexing their popularity

Sports nutritional supplements are increasingly finding their way onto the shelves of supermarkets. Where in the past, professional and avid amateur athletes or body builders would be surfing online to buy their sports nutrition and food supplements, the category is experiencing an important push from “mainstream” consumers.

Today’s consumer is more and more looking for healthy and tailored nutritional options, and he has discovered the world of sports nutrition.  According to Euromonitor, globally, sports nutrition is the fastest growing consumer health category since the COVID-19 pandemic, with double-digit growth for three consecutive years to 2023.

In Europe, e-commerce sales are still dominant in the category, but supermarket sales are rapidly catching up. With growing consumer demand, grocery retailers are expanding their product offerings with protein bars, shakes, pre-workout supplements, and performance ‘boosters’ like creatine.

Private label lines are popping up. Retailer Musgrave has a high protein line of foods under its Supervalu name. The packaging contains eye-catching plain and simple information on protein content. Aldi in the Netherlands carries, amongst others, mousse and sports drinks under its Milsani dairy brand. Albert Heijn has AH protein bars; Lidl sells sport supplements such as creatine and Jumbo carries own brand protein shakes.

Euromonitor expects the percentage share of store-based sales will increase going forward as more private label brands enter the market, especially for categories such as protein/energy bars and protein RTDs. These products are becoming a popular on-the-go healthy snack option which are easy to find at nearby convenience or supermarket stores.

PLMA’s “World of Private Label” international trade show will have some 150 exhibitors with sports nutrition and food supplements on display on 28-29 May at the RAI in Amsterdam. Come and visit! Register here.

French retailers forge long-term alliance

Three major French retail groups announce a purchasing alliance with a remarkably long duration: for up to ten years, Intermarché, Auchan and Casino will jointly negotiate with major brand manufacturers.

Last December, Intermarché and Auchan had already stated that they were in talks to set up a purchasing alliance for food and non-food. Now they are also including Casino, the group from which they acquired several hundred super- and hypermarkets earlier this year. The new alliance, which will immediately become the largest in France, aims to “maintain and develop long-term partnerships with the agricultural world and French industrial players”.

Intermarché will take the lead for negotiations with big brand producers such as Danone, Nestlé, or Coca-Cola. The cooperation already established between Intermarché and Auchan for private label products will now also benefit Casino. In non-food, Auchan will negotiate with branded manufacturers for the three partners.

The three retailers stress that their cooperation will respect competition laws and regulations. Each of the partners will retain full independence in terms of commercial, pricing or promotional policies, and for the development of store networks.

Walmart launches massive private label line

US grocery leader Walmart shook up the industry this month when it announced that it is rolling out a new private label premium food line. Under the name of Bettergoods, the company says it is its largest private label release in two decades. “Today’s customers expect more from the private brands they purchase – they want affordable, quality products to elevate their overall food experience. The launch of bettergoods delivers on that customer need in a meaningful way,” said Scott Morris, Walmart’s senior vice president of private brands, food, and consumables in a statement.

The premium line seeks to appeal to younger consumers who are not loyal to grocery brands and want chef-inspired foods that are less expensive. Most products of the new brand are under $5. The packaging was designed in a mix of colours for a more premium look. The brand name bettergoods can be found as a single word in all lowercase letters and a custom typeface to look approachable and friendly. “With a vivid and colorful new brand identity that has the looks, messaging, and product offerings of more premium competitors, the goal,” says Walmart vice president of creative and design David Hartman, “was to create a brand that’s “as desirable as the leading national brands.”

Bettergoods products typically fall within three categories - culinary, plant-based, and “made without”. Walmart expects to have 300 products in the line by the fall, including frozen foods, dairy items, snacks, beverages, pastas, soups, coffee and chocolate.

Persistent inflation has made American shoppers cost-conscious, pushing the popularity of private label. According to PLMA, more than 1 of 5 grocery items sold in the US is a private label. In 2023, total private label dollar sales were USD236 billion, up by about USD10 billion, an all-time mark. Dollar sales rose 4.7%, vs plus 3.4% for national brands. Private label dollar share was 18.9%, ahead 0.2 points, likewise a high. Unit sales were nominally even, off 0.1%, vs national brands which shed 2.8%. Private label unit share was 20.7%, up 0.5 points and another record.  

Private label in the US has continued to shine in 2024, recording unprecedented highs in both unit and dollar shares during the first four months. Dollar share was 20.5% and unit share was 23.1%, as of April 21. The new share standards came on the strength of private label’s outstanding performance versus national brands during the period. Private label dollar sales were up 2% vs a gain of 1.1% for national brands, while in unit sales the difference was even greater, as private label improved by 2.5% while national brands fell 1%.

Getir departs Western Europe, US to focus on Turkey

Getir, the Turkish delivery platform once valued at €11.2bn, will pull out of all its European markets – Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands – and the US, the company confirmed. The company said it will focus on its core market in Turkey.

After a boom and rapid expansion during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company – like all other online quick delivery companies - saw more and more consumers returning to physical shopping. The retailer’s high profit margins fell, making it difficult to meet costs. Quick delivery companies have also had to cope with a lot of opposition from residents around their dark stores and subsequently from municipalities. Earlier, the company waved goodbye to France, Spain, Italy and Portugal amid the growing difficulties.

New labeling rules from EU

To keep up with the changes on the EU food market and enable consumers to eat healthy, the European Parliament approved a revision of existing rules on the composition, labelling and production of honey, fruit juices, jams, marmalades and milk.

Under the new rules it will not be enough just to indicate if honey comes from the EU or not. It will be obligatory to list the countries of origin, in descending order, together with what percentage of the product comes from them.

Minimum fruit content in jams will increase, which means there will be less sugar in them. Jams will have to have at least 450 grammes of fruit content per kilogram (before it was 350 grammes), while high quality “extra jams” will have 500 grammes of fruit content per kilogram (before it was 450 grammes). The term marmalade is currently used only for citrus jams, but with the new rules, it will be possible to use it for any fruit jams, in line with local traditions.

The EU will authorise the production of dehydrated milk products with reduced level of lactose. Dehydrated milk covers various types of milk that have reduced water content and may even be in solid form.

AI-related retail news

Morrisons is employing thousands of AI-powered cameras across its UK stores by the end of the year, after trials showed they significantly improved availability and increased the efficiency of staff.

Edeka, Germany’s largest grocery retail chain, is deploying AI-powered age-verification technology at one of its micro locations at Stuttgart Airport in Germany. Age verification is needed roughly 22% of the time at stores.

Tesco has announced it is launching the second phase of its Fit for Growth range review, which will use AI-driven technology to develop location-specific ranges for its Express stores.

Aldi puts a voice developed with the help of artificial intelligence at the center of its first campaign with a new advertising agency. The voice in the new advertising campaign was developed by AI based on the voice of Aldi employees.

PLMA Live.eu
Improving Supply Chain Sustainability

FMCG retailers and brands that map and collect data on their supply chain can use these insights to create change in environmental and social conditions, says Leontien Hasselman-Plugge, CEO of ImpactBuying Group.

Hasselman-Plugge discusses how ImpactBuying helps retailers and manufacturers understand their supply chains, identify risks and make a positive impact on buying.

A Preview of the Salute to Excellence Awards

New and improved plant-based products are some of the trends that stand out among the entries for the 2024 International PLMA Salute to Excellence Awards. 

Judith Kolenburg reports on these and other products evaluated by judges. In the wine category, indigenous grape varieties like Albariño and Verdelho are prominent among the submissions. This demonstrates that retailers are catering to younger, more adventurous generations. 

This year’s winners will be announced and displayed at PLMA’s World of Private Label International Trade Show, 28 and 29 May.

Also, Pascal Kuipers discusses rising cocoa prices. He outlines what’s new in sustainable options, including the launch of cocoa-free chocolate at Rewe, WinWin and Nukoko.

In the stores

Waitrose has partnered with chef Yotam Ottolenghi to launch a new exclusive ingredients range. The initial range of spice mixes, pasta sauces and marinades will roll into Waitrose stores nationwide and online.

Albert Heijn has rolled out banana cookies made from rescued bananas from the company’s own banana chain. By processing these bananas into puree and combining them with dark chocolate, approximately 38,000 kg fewer bananas are wasted annually.

Monoprix has unveiled an ambitious overhaul of its “La Cave en ville” own brand range of wines. Its range introduces 45 new carefully chosen items. “La Cave en Ville” stands out for its eclectic offering of AOP and IGP wines, while diversifying with sparkling options such as a Crémant d’Alsace and a Prosecco for prices between €2.99 to €9.90.

Aldi has moved to 100% recycled plastic for its own-brand soft drinks and bottled water. The new material is being rolled out across all products found in the soft drinks section of its stores in England and Wales.

Mercadona has introduced green crates, used to transport and display fruit and vegetables at its stores. The crates can be reused over 120 times, are easily repairable and are 100% recyclable. By reusing the crates, the use of over 200,000 tons of materials is avoided per year.

Boots revives its Natural Collection. First introduced in 1988, Natural Collection has relaunched with a renewed commitment to making beauty "simple, sustainable and affordable". The collection is vegan, cruelty-free, and made from a minimum of 90% natural-origin ingredients, with fully recyclable product packaging made from a minimum of 30% recycled materials.

Lidl will reward approximately 10,000 workers from more than 200 banana plantations with a better salary. The company says it is the first retailer to pay banana plantation staff 'a living wage'. The price that customers pay for the bananas will not change.

Auchan is resurrecting the Atac brand, after the last stores in France operating under this brand were renamed Bi1 last year. The French chain decided to test the new format in Romania, where it opened a discount hypermarket under the Atac banner.

Market research
Younger consumers shop differently for groceries

Price and offers or promotions are crucial for many 18- to 30-year-olds when shopping for groceries. This emerges from a study in German speaking Europe by the consulting firm Institute of Brand Logic, which identified four additional relevant criteria.

In addition to price, important factors are the quality and taste of the food (80 percent), a range that enables a conscious and healthy diet (67 percent), and the regional orientation of the retailer (60 percent). This is followed by socially and fairly produced food (59 percent) and ecologically and sustainably produced food (52 percent). Digital solutions (27 percent) and trendy foods (25 percent) are in last place here.

The fourth criterion that the study authors identified is the curiosity of the younger generation. 69 percent “very much” or “like” trying out new products, trends and dishes. Accordingly, 60 percent of food retailers would like more relevant product information regarding usage options and food ideas, but also health aspects and supply chains.

PLMA News
PLMA’s 2024 World of Private Label International Trade Show, 28 and 29 May

More than 2,950 exhibitors from more than 73 countries will fill over 43,500 m2 of exhibit space at PLMA’s 2024 World of Private Label International Trade Show, May 28 and 29 at the RAI in Amsterdam.

The show floor will span 14 halls, including nine for food and five for non-food. It will feature 67 national and regional pavilions.

“Our high-impact global event provides a dynamic two-day platform for more than 28,000 private label professionals from 120 countries to connect, source and grow,” said PLMA President Peggy Davies. “The innovation unveiled for food and non-food products and packaging on the show floor and in Idea Supermarket will strengthen the already booming private label industry.”

Products on display will include fresh, frozen, refrigerated food, dry groceries and beverages, as well as non-food categories, including cosmetics, health and beauty, household and kitchen, garden supplies, housewares and more.

Among the product trends on the show floor: 
·    Sustainable Claims: 39% or 1,150+ exhibitors 
·    Dietary Needs: 31% or 900+ exhibitors 
·    Vegan, Plant-Based & Vegetarian: 22% or 650+ exhibitors 
·    Organic: 26% or 750+ exhibitors  

To register and visit the trade show click here.

Events

At the Annual Private Label Summit, participants engage in a programme featuring presentations, panel discussions, networking opportunities, and a store tour delving into the retail landscape of Milan. The venue rotates annually among major European cities.