Store brands stay strong

The continued interest in private label offerings was evident by the 2,100-plus vendors at the recent PLMA trade show. 

While some consumers have a little more discretionary income as the economy rebounds, many are sticking to the store brand products they turned to when they were in saving mode.

It was clear by the crowds at the Private Label Manufacturing Association’s (PLMA) 2011 trade show in Chicago that private label manufacturers are having no trouble keeping up with retailers’ needs. In fact, they are capitalizing on this trend with innovative products that are not only competing with national brands technology but also leading the way.

According to Mark Krakauer, a private label industry consultant based on Long Island, N.Y., innovation is key to stay ahead of the game. “Private label manufacturers used to develop products that would compare to what national brands were putting on the shelves. Now there is a lot more innovation. We are starting to see a lot of thinking outside the box both in the food and health and beauty care segments.”

Manufacturers are also placing emphasize on healthy eating, specifically categories that cater to special dietary needs, such as gluten-free items, Krakauer adds. “They are recognizing that there is a market for it. Gluten-free is very big in private label. Lactose intolerance is another area getting attention.”

The November show featured more than 2,100 exhibitors including more than 200 new companies. Here are some of the new products that captured attendees’ attention.

Allens, Inc.
Allens, Inc. is bringing opportunities to private label customers’ freezer cases with its new steam and sauce technology. “It’s our quest to reinvigorate our retail customers’ competitive spirits by always bringing new solutions that fit individual retail environment needs,” says Bobby Ray, senior vice president of retail sales and marketing for the Siloam Springs, Ark.-based company.

The Steam Supreme line includes Broccoli/Cauliflower, Broccoli, Carrots, Broccoli/Rice and Cauliflower, Super Sweet Corn and Sweet Garden Peas, both in a butter sauce, and All-Natural Sweet Corn on the Cob, Creamed Spinach and Spinach Dip. All products are available for private label. For more information, visit

Bektrom Foods
Bektrom Foods will have a number of new faces to put forward after signing three new licensing deals. The Colgate, N.D.-based company’s cake and cupcake mixes now carry the Mrs. Fields name. Company officials say the mixes are made with top quality ingredients that are characteristic to the brand with a homemade taste and texture. Joining them in February, cookie mixes will also carry the brand, including chocolate chip, sugar and oatmeal varieties, as well as indulgent energy bar mixes.

Brought back to popularity after being acquired by Saban, Inc, Power Rangers will be gracing the shelves on packages of regular and whole grain Mac and Cheese and Power Ranger shaped pasta. Power Rangers are promoting healthy lifestyles for kids—being active and staying fit—and in that vein the products that we are currently manufacturing for them are following the Disney guide for acceptable allowances of fats and calories, say officials.

The third addition of the year is a new line of spices and dry grocery items featuring Larry the Cable Guy. The line consists of skillet dinners, pastas and spices, including Larry’s Special Roadkill Seasoned Salt and Beer Can Chicken Seasoning, as well as a line of baking mixes such as Spicy Corn Muffin with Louisiana Hot Sauce, Beer Batter for Fish and Beer Bread. A portion of every sale will go towards Larry’s charity, Git-R-Done Foundation. For more information, visit

Calico Brands
The latest lighter to join Scripto’s line of products is a U.S. Army Utility Lighter. Available in two colors, yellow and black, the lighter features the trademarked U.S. Army Gold Star Logo and comes packaged in a blistercard decorated with the image of a solider, say officials at the Ontario, Calif.-based company.

The lighter is available this month and retailers can obtain a variety of displays—floor displays, clip strips, counter displays, open stock and display-a-tray. The lighter comes with a suggested retail price of $5.99. For more information, visit

Cott officials are keeping retailers on-trend with two new competitive beverages. Cott introduced sparkling juices, a category that, according to company officials, has seen double-digit growth each quarter since 2010. Available in three popular flavors—Apple, Orange Tangerine and Pomegranate Cranberry—the juices come in 8.45-ounce cans to be sold separately or in a four-pack, with one full serving of fruit in each can.

Joining another growing beverage category, say officials at the Tampa, Fla.-based company, is non-preserved Green Tea. The ready-to-drink teas come in 16-ounce cans and are available in three flavors: Half and Half, Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey and Southern Style Green Tea. For more information, visit

Deep Foods
Deep Foods, a second-generation family-owned and operated manufacturer of Indian cuisine, is now offering a private label line of samosas. The line of samosas are a restaurant quality Indian appetizer made of crispy triangles in an authentic Tandoori style, say officials at the Union, N.J.-based company. Available in a 12-count package, the varieties can be custom filled for retail with any flavor including Palak Paneer, Tandoori Chicken, Jalapeno-Cheese, Lentils and traditional Potato-Pea. For more information, visit

Consumers can now add some spice to their meals on the go. Excalibur has introduced its Tasteful Sensation Stick Program with single-serve seasoning packets that retailers can cross-merchandise throughout the store.

The packets are available as single-pack sticks and in a multi-pack of six sticks in 14 varieties including Special Cajun Seasoning, Garlic Romano Seasoning, Cinnamon Toast, Smokehouse BBQ, Asiago Chive Seasoning and Salmon Grill.

The company wanted to move from the seasoning department, says Bob Andorfer, national sales director for the Pekin, Ill.-based company. “The size is great for displaying at the register or cross-merchandising on clip displays in various departments such as meat, dairy and frozen foods for french fries,” he says.  For more information, visit

Global Tissue Group
Global Tissue Group’s newly engineered embossing pattern features Drimatic pockets that allow for better absorption and softer feel. According to company officials, this innovation can already be seen in the embossing patterns of national brands.

The new technology is available on all of the Medford, N.Y.-based company’s kitchen towel products. “As an independent converter, we are at the forefront of this innovation by providing our Drimatic technology to our Private Label retailers that want to offer their customers the same enhanced performance characteristics of the national brands,” says Daniel David, executive vice president of operations. For more information, visit

Good Food
Company officials at Good Food are bringing their products to North America, including the newest product to join the company’s product line, Fiber Bars. The fiber snack bars contain at least 8% fiber, are low in fat and come in four flavors—Cherry, Blackcurrant, Raspberry and Apple & Cinnamon.

Based in Polznan, Poland, the company also recently added chocolate covered corncakes sprinkled with cherry and yogurt covered corncakes in five flavors—strawberry, blackberry, orange, lemon and lime.

“We have received great feedback on the corncakes and been told it’s a great product,” Julia Bentkowska, export development manager. For more information, visit

LiDestri Food & Beverage
With the acquisition of M.H. Zeigler’s & Sons, LiDestri Food & Beverage has added fresh apple cider as well as fresh and shelf-stable juices, lemonades and iced teas to its product offering. The beverages are sold under the Zeigler’s brand and are available for private label.

Other additions to the Fairport, N.Y.-based company’s product offerings are red and white sangria and Mü. The sangria, with only 6% alcohol, can be sold in supermarkets across the country, while the Mü has 13% and can only be sold in states with a 14% limit, says Edward P. Salzano, executive vice president and COO. For more information, visit, or

Peluso Cheese
Teleme is on the road. Peluso Cheese is expanding its reach with Teleme now available on the East Coast. Distributed by the Peluso family for almost 90 years, the Tomales Bay brand of Teleme cheese is an American soft cheese with a unique, mild and nutty flavor similar to brie, say company officials.

“Our cheeses have always been sold in Hispanic communities but now they are making the crossover,” says René Reynoso, vice president of sales.
The Teleme cheese comes in 7.5-pound packages, and Peluso offers a rice-coated variety available in approximate 6.6-pound packages. All of the Los Banos, Calif.-based cheesemaker’s varieties are made from 100% certified California cow’s milk, including Queso Fresco, Cojita and Panela. For more information, visit

Request Foods
By offering a number of options that touch different price and value points, retailers can appeal to a wider range of consumers, say officials for Request Foods.
“If you look at national brands, there are products at different levels that private label is competing against,” says Jeff Gehres, director of sales and product development for the Holland, Mich.-based private label manufacturer.

There is still an emphasis on private label, he adds, noting that some consumers shop at a store specifically for their private label offerings. “When we face a bad economy, people turn to private label for the value. I think many people are finding that in many cases private label meets the expectations of the national brand,” says Gehres. For more information, visit

Rudolph Foods Co.
A snack company known for its pork rinds, Rudolph Food Co. is expanding its private label snack offerings. The following three items joined the Lima, Ohio-based company’s product line, making their debut at the PLMA show. Sweet Southern Bar-B-Q Rings offer a salty, sweet snack alternative to pork rinds.

Featuring Hispanic-inspired seasonings, Chile & Lime Chicharinas are a chili and lime-seasoned, puffed wheat snack available in a 2.75-ounce package. They meet consumers’ demands for on-the-go snacks in exciting flavors, say company officials.

For pork rind lovers, Rudolph’s now offers its pork rinds in a 10.5-ounce barrel size.  For more information, visit

White Toque
Mushroom Mix products from White Toque provide consumers with easy-to-cook, healthy meal options. Made with Pholiota, Button, Shiitake and Oyster mushrooms, the frozen mix comes in two varieties—Mushroom Mix with Cherry Tomatoes and Mushroom Mix with Asparagus.

Company officials did not add sauce or seasoning to the product. “We find there are a lot of products out there with flavors and you can’t taste the vegetables,” says Anne-Dominique Funkleder, retail manager for the Secaucus, N.J.-based company. The product comes in a vacuum-sealed package with a clear, see-through window.  For more information, visit 

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