• Putting Humpty-Dumpty Together
    The integration of brick-and-mortar stores into the digital world may not be as easy as people think. Recent reports reveal that order-to-shelf system, or OTS, is not getting the job done. At many stores, departments are experiencing serious out-of-stocks – the exact opposite of what order-to-shelf is supposed to do. Roy White analyzes the situation.

    Roy White
    Putting Humpty-Dumpty Together
    April 2018
     

    The integration of brick-and-mortar stores into the digital world will evidently be no easy task.

    Recent reports reveal that one retailer’s order-to-shelf system, or OTS – a highly publicized program that brings brick-and-mortar a step closer to how online selling functions - is not working at all well. At many stores, departments are experiencing serious out-of-stocks – the exact opposite of what order-to-shelf is supposed to do.

    OTS uses automated technology and analytical data for the store to order for replenishment by item rather than by case, and the number of items ordered is the precise amount required to refill the shelf – no backup stock. In addition, resupply has to be re-engineered to handle higher frequency and be item-based rather than case-based... and then to deliver the order to the store arranged in such a way as to mirror the store’s layout to facilitate unloading and stocking.

    Re-engineering is required at the distribution center since OTS upends the model based on shipping case-based pallets to the stores.

     

  • Is Online for Real?
    E-commerce only accounts for 9% of grocery sales but everyone seems to agree that it is destined to grow and grow and grow. Brad Edmondson explains the demographics behind this prediction.
    Brad Edmondson
    Is Online for Real?
    April 2018
     

    When will online grocery shopping really take off? How will it all unfold? 

    Today, online grocery shopping has come to the edge of the chasm. About 15 percent of millennials say they use an online grocery shopping service at least once a month. 15 percent of people who live in big or small cities buy groceries online once a month also. The national average for the United States is 9 percent and is above average for working-age adults. 

    Big investors are betting that mainstream consumers will increase this percentage soon.  Amazon placed a thirteen-billion-dollar bet on online grocery shopping when it bought Whole Foods last year. Wegmans, Sprouts, and other grocery chains have signed up with Instacart, which applies the Uber model to grocery delivery. Another competitor, Shipt, was recently acquired by Target for 550 million dollars.

  • Restocking Kroger
    Kroger’s new initiatives seek to utilize the giant retailer’s extensive database to increase sales. David Merrefield profiles the executives heading up the effort.

    David Merrefield
    Restocking Kroger
    February 2018
     
    There’s a new dynamic going on at Kroger these days, and it all has to do with data. 
     
    Kroger has big plans to use its vast data resources to fuel changes, such as redesigning stores to highlight private brands. It will also seek to become more of a broad-line retailer than a food-only retailer. 
     
    These moves will put Kroger in a much-improved position to resist being swept away in the epic battle between Walmart and Amazon for supremacy in U.S. retailing.  

    Kroger has dubbed its new initiative the “Restock Kroger Plan,” and has put a new executive team in charge of it. Let’s meet them.
     
    Appointed by Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen to lead the effort was Mike Donnelly. He was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer. Previously, he was executive vice president of retail operations. Donnelly’s career includes executive stints at Fry’s Food Stores, and as a merchandising vice president at Kroger’s Ralphs division.
     
  • Taste Test
    In this era of label transparency, forward-thinking manufacturers are changing ingredients for their processed foods. Dr. Kantha Shelke discusses recipe options.

    Dr. Kantha Shelke
    Taste Test
    January 2018
     
    Understanding the science of food and the underlying mechanism of taste can help elevate flavors and enjoyment without denting quality, profit margins, or the growing demand for clean labels. This is particularly true as private label works to match or exceed national brands.
     
    The trend towards shorter ingredient lists with alternatives that appeal to consumers is phasing out artificial flavors including monosodium glutamate (MSG) and adenosine monophosphate (nucleotide). Despite years of use, today they sound unfriendly, unpronounceable, and artificial. Natural flavors may seem like the logical solution, but not many are commercially viable because they’re complex and lack the consistency and stability of their synthetic counterparts.

    So what can private label manufacturers to do? There are several options available that help satisfy consumers’ desires for more transparent labels, while still protecting product integrity. Let’s look at a few.
     
PLMALive! Archives:
the Best of the Year Past
The Danger of “Clean Labels”

Kieran Forsey believes that while there's a groundswell of consumer demand to remove harmful ingredients, there is a danger in focusing too heavily on the negative attributes of products.

Restocking Kroger

Kroger’s new initiatives seek to utilize the giant retailer’s extensive database to increase sales. David Merrefield profiles the executives heading up the effort.

Taste Test

In this era of label transparency, forward-thinking manufacturers are changing ingredients for their processed foods. Dr. Kantha Shelke discusses recipe options.

Private Label Stars

Omnichannel marketing has hit a threshold, and several companies are leading the way ‑ like Walmart’s Jet.com. Christopher Durham explains how store brands play a key role.

A Year Later

Ahold and Delhaize merged just over a year ago. The changes are more obvious in Europe, though Roy White notes there are significant shifts stateside as well.

CVS Merger Could Mean Changes for Everyone

CVS’s purchase of Aetna could have profound effects on supermarkets as well as drug chains and mass merchandisers as everyone plays catch-up for in-store health services. Join news anchor Jodi Daley and PLMA president Brian Sharoff as they look at how today’s marketplace may change and the merger’s domino effect.

How To Beat Goliath

Judith Spires, CEO of Kings and Balducci’s, says fresh foods help small retailers win against giant competitors.

What Does Costco Know?

Warehouse clubs are key players in the retail marketplace. How are they dealing with Amazon and the growth of e-commerce? Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s are pursuing different strategies. Join news anchor Jodi Daley and PLMA president Brian Sharoff as they turn the spotlight on the warehouse clubs and the changing retail marketplace.

In The Stores, On The Shelves

In this month's edition, Amazon's private labels are playing a big part in eating up more food market share; Meijer launches a new line of OTC products; check out Price Chopper's cool new PIC soda cans, and try on new Millennial-focused cosmetics from Walgreens.

An Independent Opportunity

John Ross, the new president and CEO of IGA, believes the skeptics about the future of independent grocery retailers are wrong. There’s plenty of opportunity, he says, as grocery shoppers seek more high-touch, personalized experiences.

Meal Kits Future

The $2.2 billion meal kit segment attracts big investment dollars but remains plagued by setbacks and skepticism. Veronica Carvalho reports.

Good-Bye 2017. Hello 2018.

2017 was a big year with big retail changes. What will 2018 bring? Get ahead of the curve with PLMA’s annual Year-End/Year-Ahead program. Join Don Stuart of Cadent Consulting, Neil Stern of McMillanDoolittle, Matthew Boyle of Bloomberg News and Todd Hale, formerly with Nielsen, as they look at what Walmart, Amazon, Kroger and Costco did last year and what they may be planning for the new year. Tim Simmons moderates.