Private Label Buyer Blog

Leveraging Relationships Can Pay Off

March 25, 2013
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+

Many supplier-retailer relationships in private label are kept confidential and quiet, for a variety of reasons. But some suppliers are using their status as a vendor for a major retailer to bring their private brands forward.

One of those is Zilks, a Texas-based maker of hummus and dips. The company has supplied Whole Foods Market and is hoping that stamp of approval helps them expand in the marketplace.

“That eight-year track record with Whole Foods is really great here, and we want to grow to a whole ‘nother segment,” Zilks’ John O’Maley said. “Our credit reference is Whole Foods.”

But to grow the company, owner Bill McMeans is looking to a new audience along the way, not a traditional audience for hummus, but an unserved segment waiting for the right product to pull them in, he said. That’s what he had in mind when deciding to buy the firm in the past two years.

“I really liked the Southwest flavor profiles there, the Hatch Green Chili and Jalapeno and Cilantro,” he said. “But we looked at ourselves as normal consumers, and if there was something we liked, we figured it would go over well.”

And that led to bacon. McMeans said it had been a running joke that he would come up with a Bubba Hummus line featuring jerky and other items from his Texas background. And then someone suggested bacon.

“We started doing experiments and had our focus groups – our friends and family really – try it out, and it’s great,” he said.

The hope is rather than reaching a traditional hummus consumer, someone looking for healthier dip options or Middle Eastern flavors, that Zilks can bring out flavors for mom and the family to enjoy, all while eating healthier.

“It’s a top quality incremental sales opportunity that we want to bring to retailers,” McMeans said. “I’m looking at 60 percent of the consumers who aren’t buying it now who would if they saw a flavor that fit their tastes. And all the moms wouldn’t have to bribe their kids to eat this.”



Image Galleries

September 2014 New Food Products

This month's new food products include cane sugars, barbeque sauce, condiments in squeeze bottles, cinnamon snack seasoning, and jalapeno tzatziki, ice cream, herb toasts, corn puffs, instant coffee, coconut water, and a water enhancer.


Coming with a clear, comprehensive plan was the key to success for Longo Brothers Fruit Markets when the grocer decided to roll out a two-tier private label strategy, Jenny Longo and Robert Koss tell PLBuyer editor Chris Freeman in this podcast.

More Podcasts

Private Label Buyer Magazine

PLB September 2014 cover

September 2014

The September 2014 issue of Private Label Buyer includes a convenience channel update, as well as category insights on frozen store brand trends and health and beauty items. Check it out today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Private Label Segments

Which segment of private label will see the biggest growth over the next year?
View Results Poll Archive

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

PLB Marketplace


facebook_40px twitter_40px  youtube_40pxlinkedin_40pxgoogle+ icon 40px