“Consumers Are Back in Charge” is the theme of PLMA’s 2022 Private Label Trade Show, set for Nov. 13-15 at the Rosemont Convention Center in Chicago. 

“It’s a great time to get back to a live show, and it’s a great time to be in the retailer brands business,” said Peggy Davies, PLMA president. “After a difficult two years, American consumers are back in charge. They are more discerning as they shop for new and innovative products that offer on-trend attributes, high quality, and great value. And that spells success for store brands. In fact, whether at brick-and-mortar stores or online, retailer brands are winning big so far this year at checkout."

Over the first five months of 2022, retailer brands have increased 7.8 percent in dollar sales versus the same period a year ago, according to IRI. By comparison, national brands are up 5 percent.

In May, dollar sales grew 8.7 percent; in April, +9.5 percent; March, +8.9 percent; in February, +6.8 percent; and in January, +5 percent. Store brands also outpaced national brands in terms of unit sales.  

In May, 14 of the 17 food and non-food departments that IRI tracks for PLMA showed store brand dollar growth, with double-digit gains in deli prepared foods, beverages, bakery, produce, liquor, refrigerated and deli meat. Floral, general food, frozen, meat, general merchandise, health, and beauty also advanced. 

This strong year-to-date performance comes on the heels of a record $200 billion in sales last year, when store brands accounted for one of every five products sold across all U.S. channels. 

Overall, grocery store sales are also rising. Consumers have maintained their ability to spend in the face of record-level inflation, supply chain issues and geopolitical unrest. They’re adapting and shopping smarter for themselves and their families, a “trend that always accrues to store brands’ favor,” Davies said.

Health and wellness have become paramount concerns for post-pandemic consumers, who are more informed and better educated on what they buy due to changing needs and tastes, adherence to the latest diet and health regimens, and greater awareness of the effects of allergens and the impact of their behavior on the environment. 

As a result, product attributes, qualities and features have never been more important.  

The 2022 PLMA Show will put special emphasis on food and non-food areas where store brands innovation is exploding. These include plant-based and free-from; new flavors and ingredients; wines and spirits; fresh, frozen and refrigerated; restaurant-style cuisine at home; hemp-derived CBD; self-care; health and wellness; beauty and cosmetics; kitchenware essentials, tools and gadgets; pet care; food and non-food products with an international flair; and sustainable, clean label and packaging. 

Davies cites the success of PLMA’s 2022 “World of Private Label” International Trade Show, held May 31-June 1 in Amsterdam, as an encouraging sign for the association’s Chicago event.

“It was a record-setting show," Davies said. "We had about 4,300 exhibit stands and 15,000 visitors altogether, including some 4,000 retailers. But more than the numbers, the enthusiasm and the buzz generated on the trade show floor as colleagues were able to gather in-person for the first time in three years was very gratifying. I have every reason to believe that the same spirit will be present in November.” 

The Chicago Show is expected to attract more than 5,000 visitors from major supermarkets, supercenters, wholesale clubs, drug chains, mass merchandisers, specialty chains, dollar stores, e-commerce retailers, importers, exporters and distributors, among other buyers.  

“Whether you are a small- or medium-sized independent company or part of a large, multi-national manufacturing organization, the PLMA Show can connect you with key retail executives who are responsible for their chain’s store brand purchasing,” Davies said. “Come to Chicago and build your business by finding great retail partners.”