categories for private label due to a limited
national brand presence,” Swiatkowski says. “A
regional retailer certainly has an advantage in
capturing market share with strong margins in
these categories. The nuts and snack mix mar-
kets have expanded over the past five years and
continue to expand, which in turn drives more
private label opportunities for retailers.”
Hickory Harvest also offers bulk quanti-
ties of all of its products in five- and 25-pound
cases, and can customize offerings. “We can
manufacture almost any combination of mixes
from those that are filled with sweet treats, to
healthy varieties to seasoned blends of trend-
ing flavors,” Swiatkowski says.
In the coffee category the biggest growth
trend is the single-serve K-Cups and the same
is true for private label.
“Private label has a significant presence in
all segments of the coffee category, including
cans, bags of ground and whole bean, and single-serve cups,” says Jerry Gilbert, vice president of sales at Mother Parker’s Tea & Coffee,
based in Mississauga, Ont., Canada, with U.S.
offices in Ft. Worth, Texas. “Private
label coffee is growing faster than
the rest of the category and is being
fueled by tremendous growth in
the single-serve segment. Whole bean coffee
is also trending up in private label, and while
canned coffee has been impacted the most by
single-serve growth, declines in the segment
have slowed for both brand and private label
over the past year.”
Distant Lands Coffee prides itself on its sustainability and social responsibility platforms.
“Our team works with clients to utilize
proven branded product strategies in building their private label coffee business,” says
Henry Stein, senior vice president of sales for
the Renton, Wash.-based company.
Retailers should do their homework when
selecting a private label supplier and ensure
they use quality ingredients that meet or
exceed the national brands, say observers.
“Fremont uses 100-percent California
tomatoes in our ketchup, just like Heinz,
Hunts and Del Monte,” says Mike Hackbarth,
vice president, private brand and cus-
tomer demand at The Fremont Co.,
based in Fremont, Ohio. “We source
specific tomato varieties regionally in
California during the peak of the harvest to
ensure the best tomato paste is used specifi-
cally to make ketchup. Heinz does the exact
same thing. California supplies more than 30
percent of the world’s tomato paste needs and
is looked upon as the best source.” He adds
that a private label competitor uses a combina-
tion of California paste, along with Midwest
tomatoes in the summer and fall.
“Using a completely different key raw mate-
rial source, different varieties and processing
creates inconsistency in the ketchup produced
throughout the year,” Hackbarth adds.
While deep discounting on secondary
brands can cannibalize private label sales,
retailers can combat that by properly mer-
chandising their store brand, Hackbarth says.
“Focusing on premium brands and shielding ads and merchandising with a quality private brand offering will provide the consumer