Catching Up With Chris

What Can We Learn From Other Markets?

October 12, 2012
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Based in suburban Chicago, it could be easy to put on the horse’s blinders and see the private label industry through the prism of the United States. Or North America.

 But we would be missing so much more.  

Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, even Africa, is seeing the effect of private label products on consumers’ daily lives. In July, PLBuyer ran a cover story about the current industry trends in Europe. The article caught the eye of Carol Best, the vice president of brand strategy at Anthem Worldwide, and a follow-up blog by Schawk talked with her about the issue. One question asked whether Best thought the U.S. and the U.K. specifically influence each other in private label as much as our story suggested.

“I absolutely do,” Best said in the blog. “The entire theme of my (BrandSquare) presentation was that U.S. marketers need to stop carbon copying the U.K. brand portfolio model, for a few reasons (cultural differences, geographical differences, and the history of retail distinctions).”

She suggested that a new follow-up piece states that Tesco’s venture brands in the U.K. is taking a page from the U.S. playbook.

This brings us, literally, to Peru.

We were in Lima, Peru, in the middle of September for Expoalimentaria 2012, a show featuring food, beverages, machinery, equipment, supplies, packaging, services, and restaurants from five continents.

Sometimes our readers follow us, using our insights, data and news to make their decisions in the industry. And sometimes we follow our readers. It was our readers who suggested that we make this trip to Peru. And we listened.

We were among the more than 30,000 visitors to the show, spanning more than 20 countries and nearly 600 booths. The 2011 version of the show closed more than $471 million in business, and that total was expected to reach $500 million this year.

Not a small show by any means.

You’ll get to see all of the events, the business, and the insights in our December issue. But there’s a reason why we make this kind of venture, why we’re willing to go out of our comfort zone and meet our readers where they say we need to be.

This is still an industry where we’re learning from each other. Where going to a store to see what someone else is working on means something. We’re not all copying off each other’s tests. We’re trying to gain our own inspiration from the successes of those around us.

So when we see a particularly well-executed product at a show, an eye-catching package on a store shelf, a new use on a traditional product, it gets our brains thinking, too. And that’s the kind of innovation that will bring our customers the kinds of products that they will buy, and return to buy again.

And those insights are not trapped inside the borders of a city, a state, or a country. There are success stories in private label all around the world. Retailers and suppliers working together to find unique solutions for their customers. Those kinds of insights can make everyone in our industry better.

And as your source for the best news, the best insights, the best view of what’s happening in private label today, you can bet that we’re watching, too.

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