- RESEARCH & AWARDS
- CATEGORY REVIEWS
With more than 2,000 exhibit booths expected to fill the four major exhibit halls at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., the 2012 Private Label Manufacturers Association Show will have plenty of products and services on display.
But the most striking attention for attendees this year may be skyward.
PLMA is introducing its new Sky Hall, the top floor that has been transformed for easy access from the lower main exhibit halls. The Sky Hall will feature major
PLMA 2012 Show Schedule
Saturday, Nov. 10
Sunday, Nov. 11
Monday, Nov. 12
Tuesday, Nov. 13
displays from 70 companies, among them Ralcorp, ConAgra and Simmons Pet Food, providing the space and access to become a major showpiece for the event.
“We’ve been under pressure now for the last three years to find a way to give the large exhibitors, the Ralcorps, the ConAgras, more space for their companies, and that’s kind of hard to do in the North Hall-South Hall as it exists,” PLMA President Brian Sharoff said. “Because other companies have their stands and their renewal rights, so when a Ralcorp says we want (more) units, we can’t accommodate them. By creating a new and third hall, the large companies now can have the expanse of space they’ve been looking for, and the show itself benefits because by creating a home for themselves, that now opens up 300 units in the future for us. It’s a win-win situation.”
To enhance the showcase effect, the lobby has been reworked to feature the Sky Hall, as well as the North and South halls.
“We’re remodeling the lobby so that the entrance to the Sky Hall is down in the main lobby, but it’s a real entrance, with nameplates and walls and everything,” Sharoff said. “What we’ve done basically is to reorient the lobby so it accesses three halls and not just two.”
Sharoff said the changes showed the continued success of the PLMA Show.
“The expansion of the Sky Hall definitely reflects the growth of private label, as well as the growth of the companies making private label,” he said. “The large companies now can get the space they need because they keep having mergers and acquisitions, and they keep getting bigger and bigger.”
More than 4,500 visitors are expected to attend the 2012 show, which runs from Nov. 11-13 this year. Buyers and executives from leading U.S. supermarkets, drugstore chains, mass merchandisers, wholesale clubs, convenience and specialty retailers are expected to be in attendance. In addition, wholesalers, brokers, importers and exporters, as well as suppliers and consultants will be there.
Food and non-food products and companies will be on display at the show. On the food side, food and beverages of every variety will be on display. Exhibitors from more than 35 countries will be represented.
In addition, the show will feature a Pet Care Pavilion to call attention to the importance of the pet care industry in private label.
Private label sales account for a 12.9 percent share of unit sales in pet foods in traditional channels, and 17.4 percent in pet supplies, according to the latest data available.
The pavilion will showcase the latest trends, nutritional formulations, and pet care products from exhibitors on the show floor and top retailers from around the country.
As many as 50 exhibitors emphasizing pet food, pet care and similar products will be featured in the pavilion.
“Turning a spotlight on the growing range of pet categories is overdue,” Sharoff said in a news release. “With retailers of all kinds increasingly attuned to what
America’s 73 million pet owners want for their cats, dogs, and other animal friends … it’s clear that the market dynamics favor solid growth in the private label pet arena.”
Among the most well-known private label lines in pet categories are Walmart’s Ol’ Roy line, which PLMA says has long been the top dog food brand in the country, along with Walmart’s Maxximum Nutrition brand of natural formulas and the Special Kitty brand for cat food and supplies.
Safeway has a Priority Total Pet Care line, while Kroger features a Pet Pride brand of foods.
Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand offers foods similar to Pet Pride, and Sam’s Club’s pet products are sold under the Simply Right brand. Target sells specialty pet products under the Boots & Barkley brand, Walgreens has a Pet Shoppe brand of pet foods, and CVS offers a Petcentral brand of accessories and supplies.
Petco and Petsmart, among the top pet superstores, each has robust private label brands as well. Petco’s are branded as Petco products, while PetSmart brands include Authority, Great Choice, Top Paw, and Simply Nourish, along with smaller brands for small animals, fish, birds, and horses.
PLMA also will announce its Salute to Excellence Award winners at the show. Last year, more than 400 nominations were submitted, with awards handed out in 25 food and drink categories and 13 home and health categories.
Among the winners last year were companies such as Ahold USA, Aldi, Costco, Delhaize America, Kroger, Price Chopper, Publix, Safeway, Sobeys, Supervalu, Target, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Wegmans, Whole Foods, and Winn-Dixie.
This year, PLMA will hand out 44 awards, honoring products that “exemplify the high quality, innovation, and value to consumers that continue to drive private label sales and market shares to record highs,” the association said in a release.
Indeed, in data compiled by Nielsen for PLMA, private label product sales grew 3.9 percent in 2011, compared with a 0.6 percent gain for national brands. Total private label sales reached $92.7 billion in 2011