From a new Viva Latino Pavilion, to the presence of numerous other international producers, the November Private Label Manufacturers Association Show (PLMA) welcomed worldwide marketers. Set in the Rosement-Chicago area, the show once again showcased store brand products sold by supermarkets, mass merchandisers and drug chains. Buyers from Aldi, Costco, CVS, Publix, Walgreens, Walmart, Target, Winn-Dixie and many other major retailers browsed private label producers’ booths to maintain their contacts and find the next big product opportunities.
Store buyers are on the lookout for products that can be incorporated into their particular brands, such as Target’s Archer Farms and Walmart’s Great Value items. For Mexico, Walmart’s Arrera Latino/Hispanic brand is an example of the international search on its alternate international purchase path. The tie-in to U.S. demographics was obvious too.
According to the PLMA, “There is a substantial increase in the number of suppliers capable of making products and packaging for America’s fastest-growing (Hispanic) demographic group…”
Broad-based international suppliers
Beyond the Latino Pavilion, exhibitors from many Euro-zone countries, Asia and other regions attend the show. Often, these companies have a different approach than North American manufacturers, whether it’s the content, packaging or market focus. Nonwovens materials also have their variations. With its unique all-cotton-content, Sisma, Italy, displayed its Cotoneve brands of wipes. Beyond the unique hydroetangled-type of cotton-based nonwoven, the Cotoneve lineup includes the standard baby, make-up removal and other skin-cleansing wipes – and it also includes intimate wipes just for men. Sisma produces these products in a dedicated wipes facility near its headquarters in Mantova, Italy. Other producers often represented multiple-country manufacturing resources. For example, Albaad, headquartered in Israel, has wipes facilities in Germany and the U.S. Overall, producers of private label items featuring nonwovens are increasingly multi-national.
Japanese company Haso displayed its wipes in canisters and flow-wrap, flat packs. The company’s vision is to be the leading manufacturer of hygiene and sanitary products in Asia. Haso has also worked with Chinese manufacturers to meet its manufacturing needs. Beyond wet wipes, Haso has a line of synthetic dusters and wet floor cleaning products.
China was well-represented again. Dr. Easy, Heifei, China showed its line of items, from baby care, to pet care, personal care and industrial products, offering canisters and tubs of wet wipes. Pet pads, shampoo caps and medical prep pads also exemplify some of Dr. Easy’s diverse lineup. Nonwoven materials used include airlaid, spunlaced, needlepunched and carded processes composed of bamboo, cotton, viscose and other fibers. The company makes over 350 private label SKUs and is an ISO:9001 and cGMP producer. Capabilities extend to liquid compounding for “emulsified, cream or lotion-based formulation needs.” Dr. Easy has warehousing facilities in the Chicago area to serve the U.S.
Back in the U.S.A.
“Middle market retail executives are not optimistic about a short-term U.S. economic recovery,” says MMR, a mass market retail newspaper, referring to a study released by CIT group. That’s hardly news to most of us; so the major U.S. private label producers at PLMA touted innovation and focused on continued growth in private label shares. At about 23% share of consumer packaged goods, private label and store brands are up about a point in the last couple years. MMR reports that about 75% of top categories show private label growth, with beauty departments being an exception.
Continuing strong relationships with major retailers are the top private label producers Nice-Pak and Rockline Industries. Nice-Pak, which claims its top-supplier role as a wet wipes producer, partners with retailers across the spectrum. Rockline, which has brought several innovative products to its retail partners, was on hand with its full array of nonwovens-based wipes and household products.
Other exhibitors are well represented at PLMA shows each year as they serve the top private label categories. For example, paper products and skin care categories are in the top 10 at drug stores as ranked by Nielsen Co./PLMA. Among the rest of the top 20 are sanitary protection, grooming aids, personal bath needs and disposable diapers.
Producer-exhibitors targeting these categories at the show included Attends Healthcare, Diamond Wipes, First Quality Products, Premier Care and Triad Group. Each has its niche and capability“sweet spot.” Diamond Wipes SKUs cross many segments from baby and beauty, to pet care and more, with an ability to meet various order sizes, down to as few as 5000 units in some cases. Premier Care, a leader in the feminine hygiene marketplace, also promotes its hard surface and other wipes and its ability to support retailers as a short-run manufacturer.
Commitments to being“green” were also heard everywhere. In addition, some exhibitors are new to wipes, but not to wipes market categories. Ecologic typifies this trend where products supplied as cleansing liquids or other delivery systems have turned to wipes as line extensions. As of the PLMA show date, Ecologic was still showing its“eco.bottle”line of“green”molded fiber bottles, with fiber molded wipes canisters planned for early 2012.Ecologic and other innovators continued to demonstrate vitality in nonwovens-based private label products as we go into 2012.