FMI: A closer look

A Private Brand Summit, Solution Centers and new products promise to enthrall visitors.

A big part of FMI2012: The Food Retail Show, taking place in Dallas, is the 2012 Private Brands Summit. According to Food Marketing Institute (FMI) officials, The Summit will provide greater communication and collaboration amongst trading partners in order to promote the growth of private brands.

“This year’s Private Brands Summit goes beyond creating ‘me too’ products and looking at how to successfully compete on more levels than just price,” says Joe McKie, FMI’s vice president of private brands.

Since first appearing on supermarket shelves in 1978, private brands have shifted from competitively priced substitutes to items that are considered not only affordable, but also high in quality and flavorful. According to FMI’s U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2011 report, shoppers originally purchased private brands to save money, but are now sticking with the products for their taste. These trends open up more discussions for Summit attendees, as they learn how to strategically manage their brands and grow stronger consumer loyalties.

FMI will share results from a partnered report with Buxton, a Fort Worth, Texas-based consumer analytics and development firm. The report looks at customer analytics for private brands at retail and presents case studies for determining an ROI calculation.

Buxton’s process includes testing and fine-tuning marketing efforts to provide an understanding of the best ROI when marketing to loyal private brand customers, while giving incentives to “switchers,” or those likely to buy both private brands and national brands. Meijer and John B. Sanfilippo & Son were the retailer and supplier company, respectively, that participated in the case study.

“When it comes to private brands, knowing your customers is the most critical element for brand owners when developing their brand strategies.” says McKie. “Our research, supplier partners and presenters at the FMI Private Brands Summit, indicate that we need to challenge the strategy model for private brands—we have to give customers one more reason to shop and a reason to come back—since price is no longer the unique motivation.”

In addition to the Private Brands Summit, FMI2012 will feature Solution Centers that will focus on different business challenges such as:

  1. Sustainability: interactive learning pods covering waste, energy, sustainable sourcing, sustainable seafood, sustainable agriculture and innovative tools and resources.
  2. Front-End: a comprehensive industry exploration of front-end shopper behavior and the latest in checkout merchandising.
  3. Center Store: tips for increasing shopper frequency, transaction size, profit margin and shopper loyalty, including social media applications and shopper-centric marketing strategies.

Additionally, a featured products showcase demonstrates breakthrough packaging, equipment and service ideas. There is plenty more to see at FMI2012 beyond the featured products. Here are just a few that stand out to Grocery Headquarters:

Kraft Foods, based in Northfield, Ill., will be showcasing a number of products across its assortment of brands. One of its biggest product additions is to the category it’s possibly most well-known for—the dairy case. Designed to be added to meat and seafood, Fresh Take is a refrigerated bag with natural Kraft Cheese and seasoned breadcrumbs that come in six varieties: Southwest Three Cheese, Rosemary & Roasted Garlic, Chili Lime & Panko, Cheddar Jack & Bacon, Italian Parmesan and Savory Four Cheese. Users mix the cheese and breadcrumbs in the bag, coat the protein and bake.

Also building on its cheesy offerings are three new flavors of Velveeta Cheesy Skillets. Chicken Alfredo, Chili Cheese Mac and Tuna Melt join existing varieties, Ultimate Cheeseburger Mac, Chicken and Broccoli, Nacho Supreme and Zesty BBQ Chicken. Just add chicken, ground beef or canned tuna with seasoning to Velveeta sauce and they are ready in less than 20 minutes.

Philadelphia has some new creamy options on the shelves. Packed with herbs, spices and cheeses, Philadelphia’s Cooking Cremes can be stirred into skillets, casseroles and pasta dishes. The four new flavors—Savory Lemon & Herb, Creamy Pesto, Reduced Fat Savory Garlic and Reduced Fat Italian Cheese & Herb—join the remainder of the line.

With its focus on the most important meal of the day, Kraft’s belVita brand introduced Breakfast Biscuits. Described as being more like a cookie with whole grains, fiber and vitamins, they are made without artificial sweeteners, flavors and high-fructose corn syrup and are part of a balanced breakfast. They come individually wrapped in packages of four in Blueberry, Golden Oat and Apple Cinnamon varieties.

Giving the energy product category a boost, Kraft will feature its MiO Energy liquid water enhancer. Available in Black Cherry and Green Thunder flavors, it is added to water to create a customized drink with zero calories. It contains B-vitamins and 60 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving.

On the display side, Southern Imperial’s NEXT System is the next big thing in product merchandising, say officials for the Rockford, Ill.-based company. The tray system is designed to provide product-facing functionality that is versatile, strong, expandable and works with a wide variety of products.

Unlike other product-facing solutions, the NEXT System can display and face almost any product and is easy to install.  Its unique tray design allows it to sit on a shelf or bar and give merchandise the best possible presentation so products don’t get lost, thus the effectiveness of product packaging is maximized, add officials.

REMIS America offers retro-fit refrigeration doors and freezer covers that cut are designed to cut energy costs up to 80%. Officials for the Elkhart, Ind.-based company say REMIS America’s full range of insulated glass doors and bunker covers suit any supermarket style. REMIS America also maintains complete control of the entire retrofit process: from custom engineering and manufacturing to transportation, installation and follow-up service.

New to the fruit and vegetable juice category is Middletown, N.J.-based FaVe Juice Co. Three all-natural flavors—Strawberry-Banana-Kiwi, Blueberry-Pomegranate-Goji and Orange-Tangerine-Pineapple—are available in 46-ounce recyclable PET bottles, for a suggested retail price of $3.99.

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