June 2024

Industry News
Aldi investing in produce supply

Aldi has concluded a 20-year agreement with an apple grower in the UK. While the farm has been supplying the discounter with apples for eight years, in the new deal it is becoming Aldi’s sole provider of UK apples.

The long-term arrangement gives the farmer an opportunity to invest in new orchards across the country in the coming years. For Aldi, after Tesco the second biggest seller of apples in the UK, it guarantees a steady supply of a mix of homegrown Gala and Braeburn apples.

A twenty-year contract is considered a game-changer in the sector, long-term agreements are rare and would never span more than six years.

In Germany, the discounter has a different approach towards apples: last autumn, it launched an exclusive own label apple variety, called “Aldiamo”. The apple was developed with a university of applied sciences and a breeding company and grows in the north of Germany, just outside Hamburg. The apple is available in Aldi Süd’s 2,000 odd stores in Germany.

Aldi has also launched an exclusive strawberry variety in Germany. The new item was developed by a fruit specialist and took six years of research and testing before being presented under the name of “Aldina” as part of Aldi’s premium range “Kleine Schätze”.

Clearly the discounter bets on the national produce card. While supporting local farmers gives the company a positive and caring appearance, these initiatives pay off in that they ensure a more or less guaranteed supply, which they believe is worth the investment.


For Lidl security of supply is paramount

We’ve reported before how Lidl set up its own shipping company, Tailwind, a few years ago, much to the distress of the container ship industry, and viewed with skepticism by other retailers because of the high costs.

While the discounter started with three ships it has been expanding the fleet, with nine ships now in operation, some owned, some chartered, and more being added. It demonstrates Lidl’s ambition and trust in securing its own supply chains.

The ships sail between three ports in China, a port in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and three ports in Europe: Barcelona, Koper (Slovenia) and Moerdijk (Netherlands). From the European ports, the goods are transported by truck, but mainly and preferably, by train and inland waterway vessels to their various destinations.

In Germany, Lidl has alerted its freight forwarders that it is pushing for more electric vehicles for heavy goods transport. The company says its aim for electrification is the biggest transformation in transport in decades. In order for the change to e-vehicles to work, freight forwarders, truck manufacturers, DCs and retailers need to work together and change the infrastructure, provide charging stations, educate drivers, and implement new energy supply systems for the electric trucks.

The retailer is also expanding its investments in production. In the past years, Lidl’s parent company Schwarz has been buying water and nuts suppliers, chocolate and coffee producers, bakery and ice cream companies, all to “secure and maintain product availability”, according to the company. 

What's behind all these packaging changes?

Have you seen soup in bags, sauces in cardboard, or beans in packs in your supermarket? In Scandinavia, known to be a trendsetter in more environmentally friendly packaging, the trend is ubiquitous.

The canned department has long remained the same, and it is not the most outspoken in the supermarket. Some think it is a rather dull, old-fashioned section. But there is a movement that seems to play into making the department more attractive, addressing a younger public.

Several companies are making a move towards changing the packaging of conserves into cardboard. This has a lower CO2 footprint and requires less gas in production. In addition to these advantages, there are also lower transport costs, and the new packs require less space in the stores.

Companies in the sector are eager to make use of the new materials and produce modern, attractive and less heavy packaging and appeal to a new target group, as well as inspire other consumers to come back.

Carrefour brings its Brazilian hard discounter to France

After a delay of over a year, Carrefour’s Brazilian chain Atacadão is arriving in France. The Carrefour franchise will open on 20 June in Aulnay-sous-Bois. The Atacadão chain is interesting because it is a true hard discounter, with no-frills stores and products on pallets sold at knock-down prices, between 10 and 15% less than in other supermarkets.

The first store in France measures an area of 10,000 square meters and will carry up to 15,000 SKUs. It targets both professionals and end consumers. Carrefour had to overcome objections from municipalities and other players in the field that stalled the launch in France, announced some one and a half years ago.

In Brazil, the chain counts no fewer than 250 stores and is immensely popular among consumers. The retailer says that in France, it wants to adapt the format to the more sophisticated French clientele. Amongst others, there will be more emphasis on fresh products and a special organic department.

PLMA International launches survey of retailers, manufacturers to gain insights on PL growth

PLMA International in Amsterdam has launched an online survey of European member manufacturers and retailers. 

Consisting of about 30 multi-part questions, the survey is available in multiple languages and is being conducted for PLMA International by SurveyLab.

Topics include the relationship between manufacturers and retailers, the influence of today’s environmental and societal requirements on the supply chain, product innovation and development and factors contributing to the growth of private label throughout Europe.

PLMA International is seeking to collect insights that can help it improve the annual World of Private Label Trade Show and other programmes and expand business opportunities for the entire private label industry.

A comprehensive report on the findings will be distributed in the fall and the study will be a featured subject of PLMA’s Private Label Summit, to be held October 29-30, in Milan.

PLMA Live.eu
Trends Spotted at PLMA's World of Private Label Trade Show

More than 31.000 industry professionals gathered to connect, source and grow at PLMA’s 2024 World of Private Label International Trade Show in Amsterdam, 28-29 May.

Join the PLMALive.eu news team for direct-from-the-show-floor reports, including:

- Judith Kolenburg discovering new trends and innovation displayed in the Idea Supermarket;
- Edgar Elzerman walking the trade show floor in search of unique foods and beverages;
- Pascal Kuipers browsing some of the best novelties in the nonfood aisles.

Improving Supply Chain Sustainability

FMCG retailers and brands that map and collect data on their supply chain can use these insights to create change in environmental and social conditions, says Leontien Hasselman-Plugge, CEO of ImpactBuying Group.

Hasselman-Plugge discusses how ImpactBuying helps retailers and manufacturers understand their supply chains, identify risks and make a positive impact on buying.

In the stores

C3 consortium in Italy revealed a new range of kitchen accessories under its own brand Noi&Voi. Products are FSC certified and include a vast choice of aluminum wrappers, film, baking paper, trays for preserving and cooking, ensuring maximum versatility in the kitchen.

Eroski is on the innovation track: it has launched over 440 new own label products last year, and the number of private label products in the customers’ baskets has increased by 7%.

Spar has removed over one billion sugar cubes from its own brand products since the launch of the industry-wide sugar reduction alliance initiated in 2019. For Spar Austria, the gradual reduction in sugar content does not entail replacing it with sweeteners but rather emphasizing the natural taste of food.

Musgrave has launched a new private label under the name of Good Food Locally Sourced. The range comprises over 140 products from local suppliers including pies, lasagna and bakes, as well as global cuisine meals such as honey chili chicken and peppered chicken stack.
Lidl has succeeded in making its DIY brand Parkside the bestselling do-it-yourself brand in Europe, says Euromonitor. Sales of the own brand got a boost after a major campaign featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Iconic bookstore WH Smith is transitioning towards a place to be for shoppers on-the-move. In an overhaul of its food and drink selection, the company has launched a new private label line ‘Smiths Family Kitchen’.

Aldi revealed an own-brand gin bottle in paper packaging. The bottle is shatterproof and is made up of 94% recycled cardboard. It is said to be five times lighter than a regular glass bottle.

Plus has significantly expanded the gluten-free range under its own brand. It now comprises 90 options for all eating moments, breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. The range features a special and recognizable design in a distinctive blue and the gluten-free logo.

Carrefour unveiled a pilot project designed for visually impaired and blind people in a store in Belgium. Combining tactical and audio maps with intelligent QR codes makes it possible for customers to find products quickly and, in addition, provide them with all the necessary information about the product.

Conad has launched a premium own label named Piacersi, aimed at a healthy diet and lifestyle. The first products are on the store shelves now and the complete range will be available as of September.

Tesco is introducing exciting new ice cream flavours this summer. Combinations like sour cherry and cola, popcorn and white chocolate, raspberry Eton mess and birthday Cake ice cream are among the new offerings.

Rimi, a subsidiary of the Swedish ICA Group, has opened an autonomous store in the Estonian city of Tallin. The small shop carries about 600 products including vegetables, fruit, beverages, snacks and hygiene products. Customers can enter with a cash card.

Market research
Healthier is OK, but consumers also just want to have fun

A study of consumer trends in the Netherlands over the past five years has revealed that consumers are open to making healthier choices in the supermarket. However, they don’t want to feel that they are being patronized or forced to make a certain choice.

The advice from the researchers is that retailers draw attention to the healthy options in their range, for example, by using clear front-of-pack labeling, like the Nutri-Score. In addition, it would help if healthy products are included in the retailers’ special offers.

The researchers admit that there will always remain a demand for unhealthy products, and it would be unrealistic to want to remove those products from the supermarket altogether. Instead of such a step, paying more attention to highlighting healthy alternatives seems to be the way to go.

Seniors in Spain account for more than half of fmcg spend

A report by NIQ in Spain shows that senior purchasing accounts for 56% of spending on consumer products. In view of demographic data, this number will even grow in the future.

Senior-led households spend the least on consumer products online, but then again, they spend more than average on other channels, like specialist or traditional stores. According to NIQ, inflation has impacted families with children more and senior households less.

In the coming years, there will be more purchasing households, although diverse: a growing population but with a lower share of families with children, there will be smaller households and it will be energized by migration.

Amsterdam Show hosted nearly 3,000 exhibitors

On May 28 and 29, the Amsterdam RAI welcomed more than 18.000 visitors from over 125 countries who were all keen to meet the best of the world’s private label manufacturers.

PLMA’s International World of Private Label Trade Show was, as it always is, a meeting place for retailers, buyers, and other visitors who walked the 43,500 m2 trade show floor to browse what the almost 3,000 exhibiting companies from 73 countries offered. A challenging task, given the show floor space and the abundance of food and non-food exhibitors which was 10% larger compared to last year. 

More than just a trade show, the PLMA event is the place to identify food and non-food trends, like improved vegan offerings, high-protein items, and other preventive health products, as well as a variety of self-care solutions that tap into an increasing demand from consumers for functional and versatile products.

Retailers come to the show mostly very prepared, helped by PLMA’s Show Navigator. The experience is that they have a targeted itinerary and start talking business with exhibitors in their stand right away. In addition, they know to leave time for surprises and little gems that they run into unexpectedly.

“For my company this trade show gains relevance year by year”, a manufacturer comments. “The trade show floor is full of retailers that are truly interested in our products and our way of working.”

The entire fair was about meeting existing clients, generating leads, finding new products and closing deals. The next edition of PLMA’s World of Private Label International Trade Show will be held 20-21 May 2025, again at the RAI in Amsterdam.


At the Annual Private Label Summit, participants engage in a programme featuring presentations, panel discussions, networking opportunities, and a store tour delving into the retail landscape of Milan. The venue rotates annually among major European cities.