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Five European PL trends to watch

Five European PL trends to watch

U.S. retailers should enroll in Euro U when it comes to learning about progressive private label trends, according to Lynn Dornblaser, director, innovation and insight, Mintel International.

Lynn Dornblaser advises retailers to "make these [private label] trends fit your own customer base."
Lynn Dornblaser advises retailers to "make these [private label] trends fit your own customer base."

In a presentation at FMI Connect in Chicago, she said European retailers are leaders not only in private label share of market, but also in many key PL trends, ranging from ethnic to artisanal.

"Make these trends fit your own customer base, and improve on them as needed so they resonate with your customers," she advised U.S. retailers.

Here are five trends she pointed to:

1-Go your own way: European retailers are good at coming up with private label products that don't imitate any existing concepts, she said. They are not just imitating national brands, but taking risks and creating fun concepts. These range from a toddler fruit and vegetable smoothie available at Rema in Norway, to an apple mousse with raspberries from Coop in Switzerland.

"There is room to take risks in private label," she said. "Look for anything that will keep your consumer coming back to your store."

2- PL tiers with a strong difference: European retailers, especially those in the U.K., are good at creating extra sets of brands, she said. These include limited-time tiers and products that go beyond premium.

"Waitrose in the U.K. already has a premium line, but has gone one step beyond with a line called Waitrose1", she said. "The aim is to be the best of the best, beyond premium."

3-Go ethnic: Private label in Europe is becoming more adventurous with ethnic products, she said.

"Millennials are more interested in trying these cuisines," she explained.


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She said ethnic offerings in Europe are found in a wide variety of cuisines and prices. Hard discounters such as Aldi and Lidl have made big commitments.

4-Try artisanal: Handmade and small-batch items, and information about the origin of products, are getting a lot of play in European private label, Dornblaser said. In contrast, U.S. retailers aren't as advanced in this area.

"European retailers do it with unique ingredients and fresh-from-the-farm" images," she said.

5-Get in front of trends: Retailers don't need to wait until a trend is established to embrace it in private label, she asserted.

"In Europe, retailers are more likely than in the U.S. to take a risk on products," she explained. One example is cold-brew coffee from Migros in Switzerland, she said.

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