The Private Label Manufacturers Association has recognized 36 retail and other companies with Salute to Excellence awards for innovation in own brands.
Announced during PLMA’s Private Label Week virtual event, which kicked off Monday and runs through Friday, the award winners were honored for having 2020’s best new private-label products, covering nearly 70 food and nonfood categories.
The list of winners spanned the food, drug and mass retail channel — including national and regional supermarkets, mass merchants, warehouse clubs, drugstore chains, dollar store chains — and included wholesalers/suppliers, convenience and specialty retailers.
Overall, 51 new food products garnered Salute to Excellence awards in 47 categories, including such segments as food for the family, bakery and desserts, dairy, beverages, meal preparation, snacks and healthy eating. Among nonfoods, 22 products were honored, including in health and beauty aids categories as well as 10 categories for home and household products.
Walmart was the top winner, earning 11 Salute to Excellence awards, including its Sam’s Club subsidiary. Other top winners included Whole Foods Market (five awards), Topco Associates (five) and Aldi U.S. (four), as well as Albertsons Cos., BJ’s Wholesale Club and Trader Joe’s with three apiece.
Two-award winners included Lidl US, Raley’s, Price Chopper, Schnuck Markets, Smart & Final, Southeastern Grocers, Save A Lot, CVS Pharmacy, Sobeys and Metro. Also earning awards were Meijer, Hy-Vee, H-E-B, Ahold Delhaize USA, Dollar General, Sprouts Farmers Market, Wakefern/ShopRite, United Natural Foods, Harris Teeter, Weis Markets, PriceSmart, 7-Eleven, Brookshire Grocery, Walgreens, Mega Mart, Rexall, Uniprix and Sephora. The Defense Commissary Agency also took home an award.
PLMA said more than 720 products were submitted for consideration in food, beverage, kitchen, household and HBA categories. Each product was evaluated for taste and sensory appeal, packaging, presentation and value for the money by a panel of professional and consumer judges.
The 2020 Salute to Excellence award winners were spotlighted in series of video interviews with 30 retailers. The video spots offered insight into the innovative process, including original concepts, consumer trends research and strategic developments.
Some of the winning food products included Walmart’s Great Value Biscuit Crust Four Meat Breakfast Pizza (above), 365 by Whole Foods Market Grated Cotija, Aldi Priano Butternut Squash Ravioli (left), Albertsons’ Open Nature Oat Beverage, BJ’s Wellsley Farms Tater Puffs and Topco’s Vanilla and Forest Fruit Fusion Bars.
Among the winners in nonfoods were Trader Joe’s Shampoo Bar, Dollar General’s Believe Beauty Sinful Act Men’s Fragrance Mist, CVS’ Live Better Mineral Sunscreen Continuous Spray SPF 450, Weis Markets’ Simply Great 5-Gallon Clear Plastic Tote with Lid, and Harris Teeter’s store-brand In-Wash Scent Booster.
Trends reflected by the 2020 winning products, PLMA said, include rising interest in international cuisine such Asian, Indian and restaurant-inspired Italian foods; renewable packaging materials or reduced packaging; sanitizing, purifying and immune boosting ingredients; more affordable high-end products; plant-based products; and continued strong demand for organic and gluten-free products.
The Salute to Excellence awards were created in 1986 to recognize retailers for their commitment to the growth and success of store brands, according to PLMA. The association said it has annually judged own-brand products across all food and beverage, home and health categories since 2006.
*Note: Product photos courtesy of PLMA, Walmart and Aldi.