It’s always nice to be appreciated and appreciation for private brands has only grown during the COVID-19 crisis. They have been able to meet consumer needs when many manufacturer brands were out of stock at retail.

FMI’s U.S. Grocery Shoppers Trends research shows that many consumers liked what they tried and expect to come back to private brands in the future.

However, nothing is guaranteed. The pandemic opened a door for private brands to further serve consumer needs, but the industry has a lot of work ahead to build momentum, create new roadmaps, and make private brands the long-term favorite choice for many categories and products.

Prioritizing Key Investments and Consumer Needs 

This will be a key focus of the 2020 FMI Power of Private Brands research, which will be unveiled at FMI’s Private Brands Summit + Business Conference Suites, scheduled for September 29 to October 1. It will be held virtually this year over three days. Each day will include thought leadership, interactive roundtables, and trading partner meetings.

The private brands research will help define industry imperatives by answering key questions, such as the following:

  • What is the future growth trajectory for private brands in the pandemic’s wake?
  • What are the biggest opportunities to serve the needs of changing consumers?
  • Which investments does the industry plan to prioritize for the next few years, from branding to e-commerce?
  • What is the outlook for product innovation at a time when some retailers are streamlining assortments?
  • How will price and value strategies play out in this recessionary environment?

Illuminating Strategies from C-Suite to Store

This year’s research brings additional value by relaying perspectives from different types of industry stakeholders. It will explore how the C-suite is prioritizing private brands now. It will identify the top strategies for marketing and merchandising executives, and avenues for store managers to help turn associates into private brand ambassadors.

While the research is still in progress, the early findings show the industry recognizes the importance of taking highly proactive stances during this unprecedented time. That’s a positive sign and needs to play out in a range of areas, from consumer-facing strategies to supply chain initiatives.

Driving Momentum Through Industry Engagement

I believe one of the big imperatives will be improving retailer-supplier engagement. The context of COVID-19 has made engagement essential. Executives don’t want to be caught trying to first build relationships during a crisis. This work needs to be done throughout the year.

This year’s Summit is on target for that need. It will support relationship-building through interactive roundtables on a range of highly relevant topics and private 45-minute business appointments between trading partners. FMI’s virtual platform will make this seamless and engaging.

I hope you’ll participate in the Private Brands Summit this year. In fact, we hope you’ll be part of the FMI private brands community all year round as the industry faces its biggest hurdles and opportunities.

Doug Baker

Doug Baker

Vice President Industry Relations, FMI

Doug Baker is a food retail industry relations vice president for the FMI: The Food Industry Association where he facilitates professional, non-competitive collaboration among member communities across private brands, technology, and asset protection issue areas. In addition to his oversight of the private brand’s council and their efficiency-driven initiatives to encourage brand owner innovation, Doug also leads FMI’s CIO Technology Board, Asset Protection Council, and joint industry initiatives, SmartLabel and Information Accuracy. Prior to FMI, Doug began his career in the food retail industry in 1984 with Fry’s Food Stores. His 30+ years in food retail have included leadership roles at Fry’s (a division of Kroger), Kraft/Nabisco and Federated Foods with focuses on retail operations, consumer packaged goods and private brand development and marketing.