Store Brands 2012: Consumer Web Connect

PLMA reaches out to consumers for the first time with a new website featuring recipes, price comparisons and more

What do you get when you mix Kroger [4]’s Private Selection semi-sweet chocolate chips, with Private-Selection instant coffee, heavy cream and other baking products?

Answer: Store-brand coffee mocha mousse.

For those who don’t know how to make the recipe, the Private Label Manufacturers’ Association is here to help, complete with the ingredient list and even a video cooking demonstration.

(This article is part of SN's "Store Brands 2012: State of the Industry Report," which examines trends in private-label products and marketing. See the Related Articles list below for more stories in this report. Read Carol Angrisani's Store Brands 2012 introduction here. [5])

It’s all part of StoreBrandsUSA.com, PLMA’s first consumer communications initiative. Slated to go live next month StoreBrandsUSA.com will feature video recipes made from private-label ingredients from Safeway [6], Kroger, Stop & Shop [7], Giant Eagle [8] and plenty of other food retailers.

Along with recipes, www.StoreBrandsUSA.com has other areas: a store-brand savings calculator; search engine for local retailers with private-label programs, and videos that demonstrate uses for everyday store brands along with tips for home and health, such as preparing a first-aid kit or tips to make household cleaning less of a chore.

With the help of national scan data from the Nielsen Co., PLMA priced the top-selling brand Universal Product Codes for 100 typical market basket purchases in both food and home and health products. Visitors to the site can select multiple items and see what the leading brands sell for compared to the comparable store brands. Users can also key in their ZIP code to find retailers that sell store brands in their area.

In the recipe section are three meal ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some have been taken directly from food retailer websites, while others have been developed by PLMA’s Diane Kniss, a private chef and baker with a catering business in upstate New York, who also manages the food tastings for PLMA’s annual Salute to Excellence Awards program.

The three initial recipes are for strawberry tarts, along with a Country Breakfast Strata and Individual Chicken Pot Pies (the Kroger mocha mousse will debut later this year). Kniss developed the recipe for the pot pies, while the tarts came from the Harris Teeter website; and strata, from Hannaford.com.

New recipes will be added every month throughout the year. PLMA plans to promote select recipes at its annual trade show in November.

Likewise, there will be new articles added on a regular basis to the section of helpful tips for home and health that feature store brand nonfoods products.

While the initial group of recipes are for home cooks who enjoy making meals and desserts “from scratch,” PLMA plans to debut recipes for other cooking themes, such as quick-and-easy meals and hors d’oeuvres.

The goal of the recipes is to highlight the quality and value of store brands. Each recipe provides the cost per serving. For instance, the breakfast strata costs $14.49 or $1.81 per serving.

“We want to show that the quality of store brands is as good as or even better than national brands,” Kniss said.

PLMA has wanted to reach out to consumers for decades, but the cost of television advertising proved too high for any kind of national campaign for store brands comparable to the ‘Got Milk’ or ‘5-a-Day’ fruits and vegetables ads, said PLMA President Brian Sharoff.

Thanks to the advent of social media, the organization decided the time was right to launch the effort.

“StoreBrandsUSA.com is the outcome of about 20 years of trying to figure out how to reach consumers with information about store brands,” said Sharoff.

PLMA will market the new website via Facebook and other social media tools by targeting consumers who are interested in cooking and food, do-it-yourself home projects, and family activities.  

 

Table Tops: Private-Label Ingredients

PLMA’s Diane Kniss used the following ingredient list to create a recipe from ShopRite’s private labels. The total cost is about $15.52 for six people, or $2.58 per serving.

Individual Chicken Pot Pies 

Ingredients:

3 large chicken breasts (about 3 lbs) with skin and bones

2 Tbs ShopRite imported extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

2 Tbs ShopRite imported extra virgin olive oil

12 baby carrots

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 medium onion, chopped

½ tsp dried thyme

3 celery stalks, chopped

9 medium mushrooms, stems trimmed and cut into quarters

2 Tbs unsalted butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup ShopRite frozen green peas

2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped

6 oz unsalted butter (1½ sticks)

¾ cup all-purpose flour

½ tsp dried thyme

48 oz can of ShopRite chicken broth

½ tsp pepper 

2 chicken bouillon cubes

2 pkgs (tubes) of ShopRite crescent rolls