FOOD FROM BRITAIN SHOWCASES PRIVATE LABELS ON-LINE

GREENWICH, Conn. -- Food From Britain here has launched a Web site that it hopes will function as an on-line showcase for manufacturers from the United Kingdom that produce private label Center Store foods, such as biscuits, chocolates and chutneys. The Web site is called privatebrandsdirect.com, and so far has eight manufacturing companies listed.The company is working with three U.S. retailers at

GREENWICH, Conn. -- Food From Britain here has launched a Web site that it hopes will function as an on-line showcase for manufacturers from the United Kingdom that produce private label Center Store foods, such as biscuits, chocolates and chutneys. The Web site is called privatebrandsdirect.com, and so far has eight manufacturing companies listed.

The company is working with three U.S. retailers at the moment, according to Steve Dawson, president of Food From Britain (North America). He didn't wish to name them, but said they are among the top 10 retailers in the country.

"We're taking private label very seriously. It's intense," he said. Food From Britain exhibited at the Private Label Manufacturers Association show in Rosemont, Ill., last week, for the first time. "It's a huge opportunity," Dawson said.

Andronico's, Albany, Calif.; Food Emporium, Bronx, N.Y.; and Treasure Island stores in Chicago are among retailers already familiar with Food From Britain, having done promotions with the group for a range of British goods, such as tea, shortbread and preserves.

One of the manufacturers on the site, Leon Frenkel Ltd., maker of seven varieties of olive oils, already supplies British retailers Tesco and Sainsbury's, along with Albert Heijn in Holland, which is a part of Ahold. It might seem odd that a British company blends and packs olive oils from the Mediterranean, Dawson said, but Leon Frenkel is expert in authenticating and blending the oils so they are consistent year-round.

Private label is so well developed in the United Kingdom that Dawson expects this opportunity will grow in the United States for these companies as well. "If the retailer is looking for extra value, that's what these product lines have," Dawson said. In Phase 2, slated for the first quarter of 2001, he expects the number of vendors to expand "exponentially."

He added that "we're here to bring solutions to retailers. American retailers are very well served by domestic producers, but there is a whole world of U.K. suppliers as well."