REX Awards 2020 - Private Label

David Salazar
Managing Editor

Private-label products are getting so popular with consumers that price seems to be taking a back seat to innovation. The result, some industry officials said, is higher price points for the best merchandise and higher profits for retailers and the supplier.

Nielsen recently highlighted this trend, dubbing it the “premiumization of private label,” in a recent report. The Chicago-based market research firm concluded that the introduction of higher-end private-label offerings directly is tied to the rising consumer interest to place more store brands in their baskets.

Recognizing the value private label offers — not just with price, but with what their brand name stands for — several prominent food and drug retailers have announced plans to expand their private-label offerings even more this year, a move experts agree will help solidify customer loyalty, among other things.

While many of the manufacturers behind these products prefer the spotlight to be on retailers, which is understandable, some companies still stand out in a crowd. The following are the winners of DSN’s Retail Excellence Award, or REX, for private-label innovation.

Calico Brands
To stand out in the lighter category, Calico Brands focuses on innovation and is introducing a steady stream of products each year. As one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of disposable lighters, the company’s full-service business operations include a packaging and warehouse facility, in-house packaging design department, state-of-the-art equipment to ensure immediate turnaround, and U.S.-based testing of its products.

Other ways the company stands apart is producing quality products and abiding by industry standards, regulations and social compliance. It’s clear that Calico products offer value and cost savings, and its knowledge of the category and industry is bar none.

“We know the importance of both giving our existing clients a reason to continue to work with us and the need to attract new clients with our offerings,” said a marketing department official at the Ontario, Calif.-based company. “Innovation allows us to stay ahead of the competition and differentiate ourselves, while also showing adaptability to keep up with current trends.” 

Offering the best lighter products in the industry, the official said, is the company’s inspiration to continue paving the way for new product innovation in the utility lighter and pocket lighter category. “Our product innovations continue to set new category standards of excellence and be a catalyst for our growth and success in the marketplace,” the official said.

Camber Consumer Care
Camber Consumer Care, a division of Camber Pharmaceuticals USA, is owned by Hetero Labs, a Hyderabad, India-based company. 

In 2018, Hetero gained Food and Drug Administration approval for fexofenadine, a 24-hour allergy medicine, which was the first OTC vertically-integrated product launched by Camber Consumer Care. In addition to fexofenadine, Camber Consumer Care’s product line includes cetirizine HCl, cetirizine HCl solution, guaifenesin, ibuprofen soft gel caps, children’s ibuprofen suspension in four flavors, loratadine, and naproxen sodium.

“Camber Consumer Care’s goal is to become a strategic supplier to retailers demanding a quality-driven, reliable and responsive OTC store brand source,” said Vic Mazzacone, vice president of sales at the Piscataway, N.J.- based company.

Next in line for ANDA approval in 2020 is the first Camber OTC GI product, Omeprazole, which also will be vertically integrated. “Our mission is to provide a focused and reliable supply of over-the-counter drugs to the marketplace, creating value for our partners and savings for the consumer,” Mazzacone said.

Chase Products
Chase Products offers a wide range of domestically made private-
label aerosol items, including cleaning, craft and paint-based products. The company’s three-prong strategy for success focuses on leveraging its experience, integrity and quality. By taking the specific needs of each retailer to heart and offering flexible order minimums and lead times, the Broadview, Ill.-based company’s business has grown substantially over the years. 

Introducing customer-driven products is an important part of the company’s success formula. Armed with 80 years of knowledge and the data to identify emerging consumer trends, Chase Products structures and prices its product lines to meet ongoing retailer needs. Its Home Value line, for instance, offers a wide range of effective, attractively priced national brand equivalent household and personal care products. One of the company’s more recent introductions is Clean Home, a line of disinfectants designed to tackle cold and flu viruses, as well as most common household and workplace germs.

In the private-label arena, aerosol products are solidly positioned in terms of consumer satisfaction and environmental soundness. To ensure repeat sales and create satisfied customers, Chase Products offers its products by creating effective, economical and convenient programs.

Edgewell Private Brands Group
Located in Cedar Knolls, N.J., Edgewell Private Brands Group is best known for its portfolio of wet shaving products. 

Its focus on delivering world-class quality, innovation and product performance that delivers against shoppers’ increased expectations, plays a defining role in helping the company differentiate itself from the competition.

With roots dating back to 1875, Edgewell Private Brands Group has a long history as a pioneer in the wet shaving category. As part of the Edgewell Personal Care business, the company’s commitment to quality and innovation has never been stronger as it continues to expand its portfolio of products. 

Tom Parker, senior channel manager, said being flexible and responsive to retailer and consumer requirements, having access to the quality standards and manufacturing processes of a branded CPG company, investing in technology, and offering custom product portfolios, as well as having their pulse on category insights, have helped the company become the top supplier of private-label shaving products in the United States.

“We work closely with our retail partners to bring innovative, high-quality shave assortments that drive shopper loyalty and trust,” Parker said. “Whether helping to create an efficient national brand equivalent portfolio or a more differentiated approach to a winning private brand program, we are able to meet every consumer need.” 

To help retailers deliver consumer value in the months and years ahead, Parker said the company will continue to expand its private brand razors through quality enhancements and product innovation. 

Throughout the last 37 years, Garcoa Laboratories has established itself as the premier liquid personal care product manufacturer. From hair, face, body, skin, foot care and topical analgesics to baby care products, the Calabasas, Calif.-based company maintains a high level of integrity in everything it does. 

The company’s formula for success combines offering exceptional innovation, quality, performance, design and value in each product that it manufactures.

Garcoa’s ability to provide turnkey programs that include concept, formulation, packaging development and procurement has made the company a standout in the private label manufacturing space. 

The company said its vertical integration gives it the unique ability to identify and establish trends, incubate programs for retail channels, and manufacture products that feature cutting-
edge formulations.

As Ritchie Rubin, executive vice president, said to DSN this past year, the company invests a substantial amount of time interpreting consumer needs so that they can better understand where opportunities lie.

 He said the company always is looking for something new or different that delivers value and enhances or simplifies life. Once that is identified, the company quickly can respond with products that address these needs.

Global Tissue Group
Medford, N.Y.-based Global Tissue is best known for its three-tier private-label household paper products, which include paper towels, facial tissues, napkins and bath tissue. The privately owned family business focuses on being responsive to retailers’ needs and fosters a culture of constant improvement and entrepreneurship. Global Tissue Group’s commitment to innovation has made it one of the top paper companies in the industry.

What helps the company stand out is having a total quality policy for all facets of its business from its products and customer service to innovation and product development. 

Flexibility has been the company’s key to growth since its inception. By working closely with its retail partners, Global Tissue has the ability to offer a wide range of products that effectively compare with national brands. Through its advanced retail visualization and customization capabilities, as well as its creative team that can design eye-catching packaging, Global Tissue has become a preferred household paper supplier to supermarkets, drug chains and mass discounters.

A statement from Philip Shaoul, president and COO, posted on Global Tissue’s website, sums up the company’s approach succinctly: “The purpose of our business is to profitably create experiences so compelling to consumers that store brand loyalty becomes assured.”

LNK International
LNK is the largest privately held OTC pharmaceutical product company in the United States. The company is a leading player in the solid dose and liquid dose cough-cold/allergy/sinus, gastrointestinal and analgesic products categories. 

In total, the company produces more than 150 pharmaceutical formulas, almost all of which are produced in its Hauppauge, N.Y. facilities.

To control the quality of its products and keep costs down, LNK has a hand in every step of the manufacturing process from acquisition of raw materials to production and distribution. Speed to market is another quality that helps the company stand out. 

Its company leaders understand that at the end of the day, its products not only need to work for consumers, but also need to stand out on the shelf. For these reasons, the company heavily invests in product packaging to ensure consumers take notice.

Additionally, as part of the company’s commitment to quality, it focuses on offering products that will meet or exceed statutory and regulatory requirements. They achieve this through a culture of continuous improvement and by developing strong relationships with retailers and suppliers.

With a focus on producing quality personal care products, OraLabs is best known for its branded and private-label lip care, breath freshener, sunscreen, hand lotion and hand sanitizer offerings. The company specializes in custom formulations, testing, packaging and fulfillment. 

Whether retailers want to make an adjustment to one of OraLabs’ current formulas or want a completely customized, proprietary formula, its R&D departments can develop tailored products that match what retailers need to compete.

Investing in high-speed automation has enabled the Parker, Colo.-based company to offer quality products at competitive price points. For instance, its lip balms are made with a proprietary, state of the art hot fill process that allows the company to offer them in a variety of forms and sizes.

Profoot began operations in 1986, and since then it has grown to become one of the leaders in the foot care business, producing products that address a range of foot concerns. The company is most known for its insoles and inserts, as well as ball of foot and heel pain relief products. 

Although the Elizabeth, N.J.-based company sells foot care under its own Profoot label brand, over the years it has developed a strong private-label presence, as well. 

Taking the knowledge of how to create, support and grow products, and marrying that with innovation and creativity, the company successfully has leveraged that expertise with its private-label offerings

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