The Private Label Manufacturers Association today announced that its annual Private Label Trade Show, taking place in-person November 14-16 in Chicago, will feature a focus on foodservice suppliers across all food, nonfood and beverage categories.

Overall, more than 2,000 exhibitors and over 5,000 visitors are expected at the show, which has always been an important stop for manufacturers and buyers for foodservice Past attendees have included Sysco, US Foods, Aramark, Maclean and others,  with well-developed private label programs.

As the pandemic recedes, all signs are pointing to growth for private label in foodservice, according to PLMA Vice President Anthony Aloia.

“Consumers have become more accustomed to finding freshly made, restaurant-style meals in supermarkets – whether prepared by in-store bakery, deli and meat departments, or brought in from a ghost kitchen or commissary – which are sold at extremely reasonable prices under the retailer’s own brands,” Aloia said.

The spike in demand for safe pre-packaged ready-to-eat prepared foods for exhausted home cooks, along with more convenient snacks and meals-to-go, made grocery stores more competitive with restaurant take-out than ever before. Meanwhile, a surge of in-app and online ordering for curbside pick-up and delivery platforms further blurred the boundaries between retail grocery, convenience and restaurant channels.

Retailers have stepped up their game with the deployment of new mobile purchasing, shop- from-home and last-mile delivery options. Simultaneously, many retail chains expanded their convenience-oriented offerings for prepared, kitchen and table-ready meals packaged for pickup or delivery, in addition to items packaged for grab-and-go in stores.

As the pendulum swings back towards normalcy in months ahead, restaurants, for their part – whether fast food, takeout, fast-casual or fine dining – are sure to feel pressured to engage the challenge posed by all this expansion of foodservice at retail. Expect them to fight to woo customers back. Ordering convenience, and delivery will be among the battlelines for fast food and takeout. Less crowding, touchless payments and visible sanitation will no doubt continue to matter for in-dining experiences. But coinciding with the additional expense for such improvements and a possible rise in labor costs, we can also expect to see more aggressive promotions and lower prices.