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PLMA 2014: Let the treasure hunt begin

PLMA’s annual store brands trade show is so big that each year, I map out my show floor strategy the day of the event.

I initially planned to do the same for this year’s show, running Nov. 16 -18 in Chicago. I thought an action plan is needed being that there will be more than 2,600 exhibit booths of food, snack and beverage, household and kitchen, GM, and health and beauty products. Over 40 countries will be represented, including 20 national pavilions. 

I typically start out by visiting the showcase of best new products. It’s here where I can see what the trends are. With these trends in mind, I group my booth exhibits by category, such as health and wellness or ethnic.

But I’ve learned that preplanning doesn’t always work. Browsing the aisles I’m often sidetracked by cutting-edge products completely different than the ones I planned to see.

That’s because many store brand suppliers are tapping into existing trends and even creating new ones, from health and wellness products to new packaging and specialty ingredients.

So this year, I’m taking a different approach. Rather than plan out most of my booth visits, I will instead blindly browse many of the aisles waiting for products to catch my eye.

I look forward to this year’s treasure hunt.

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