Lynn's Lowdown: Bug me not

March 29, 2012
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As I was preparing to attend PLMA’s 2011 private label trade show in November in Chicago, something struck me as very interesting.

As I was preparing to attend PLMA’s 2011 private label trade show in November in Chicago, something struck me as very interesting. I had sent out some emails soliciting products for PLBuyer’s PLMA Product Showcase and I was intrigued by how many companies that had attended the show last year informed me that they will not be exhibiting this year.
Now, some of them were international companies so I’m assuming many of them participated in PLMA’s annual World of Private Label International Trade Show held in May in Amsterdam or will participate in PLMA’s Shanghai Private Label Fair in December 2011.
But, for the companies that are stateside, I was left a bit perplexed. I would imagine that many of the private label manufacturers out there are somewhat smaller operations that dream of making it big time and landing their products in major food retailers throughout the country. So, it would seem to me that there is no better opportunity for them to get products seen by hundreds of retailers and really shine than at a show such as PLMA, which is essentially the only trade show in the United States dedicated solely to private label goods.
It’s also important for manufacturers to be educated on the latest trends happening in the private label industry. PLMA provides numerous opportunities for education sessions and seminars on relevant topics that manufacturers might not otherwise have the chance to participate in.
I know, because last year was my first year in attendance, it can be a bit overwhelming. I would imagine attending as a manufacturer trying to showcase its products to retailers would be even more overwhelming.
The only reason that I could possibly imagine a manufacturer not attending this year is because of financial reasons. My answer to that is to reflect back on your childhood and the story of the ant and the grasshopper.
One summer day, a grasshopper was singing and chirping and hopping about. He was having a wonderful time. He saw an ant that was busy gathering and storing grain for the winter. 
“Stop and talk to me,” said the grasshopper. “We can sing some songs and dance a while.”
“Oh no,” said the ant.  “Winter is coming.  I am storing up food for the winter. I think you should do the same.”
“Oh, I can’t be bothered,” said the grasshopper. “Winter is a long time off. There is plenty of food.” So the grasshopper continued to dance and sing and chirp and the ant continued to work.
When winter came, the grasshopper had no food and was starving. He went  to the ant’s house and asked, “Can I have some wheat or maybe a few kernels of corn. Without it, I will starve,” whined the grasshopper.
“You danced last summer,” said the ants in disgust. “You can continue to dance.” And he gave him no food.
So, my question to those manufacturers that aren’t attending the show this year is, do you want to be the ant or do you want to be the grasshopper? Think it over.

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