Who’s Tops in Innovative Store Brands?

PLMA names 100+ winners for 2022 Salute to Excellence awards
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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PLMA awards
More than 100 store brand products have been honored with PLMA's Salute to Excellence awards for innovation.

What do the winners of the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s 2022 Salute to Excellence awards have in common? Innovation in flavor, form, packaging and other product attributes are the hallmarks of outstanding products that exemplify the elevation of store brands, especially in the last year marked by inflation, supply chain and pandemic-related consumption and buying habits.

At PLMA’s 2022 Private Label Trade Show, running Nov. 13-15 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center outside Chicago, more than 100 store brand offerings were honored for their inventive qualities. The products span several food and nonfood categories and are available in grocery stores, mass merchandisers, drug stores and warehouses around North America, including large chains as well as regional and independent retailers.

The winners reflect a range of marketplace trends, such as the embrace of plant-based eating, the continued clamor for snacking and sustained interest in better-for-you and better-for-the-planet products.

Some of this year’s food winners include the following:

  • Albertsons’ Signature Reserve Ravioli with Porcini Mushrooms and Truffle
  • Aldi’s Earth Grown Non-Dairy Mocha Fudge Almond Milk Frozen Dessert
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club’s Wellsley Farms Seasoned Waffle Fries  
  • Defense Commissary Agency’s Freedom’s Choice Guacamole Cups
  • Hy-Vee’s Gustare Vita Parmigiano Reggiano Pasta Sauce 
  • The Kroger Co.’s Simple Truth Organic Chocolate Chip Baked Energy Bar
  • Lowes Foods’ Spice Bazaar A Lil’ Nutty Dry Rub
  • Meijer’s Frederik’s by Meijer Mushroom and Truffle Pizza
  • Smart & Final’s First Street Italian Style Pork Meatballs
  • Southeastern Grocers’ Prestige-Brand Organic Chili-Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • SpartanNash’s Our Family Blueberry Flax Granola
  • Sprouts’ Farmers Market Asparagus Fries
  • Thrive Market’s Regeneratively Grown Organic Nepali Golden Black Loose Leaf Tea
  • Topco Associates’ Full Circle Market Plant-Based Bolognese-Style Pasta Sauce
  • Walmart’s Sam's Choice Oatmilk Dark Chocolate Bar
  • Whole Foods Market’s 365 Organic Fair Trade Unsweetened Coconut Shreds

Examples of nonfood Salute to Excellence winners include these products:

  • CVS’ Total Home Stainless Steel Silicone Straws
  • Sprouts Farmers Market’s Multi-Use Biodegradable Cleaner
  • Wakefern Food Corp.’s Premium Heavy Duty Clear Forks, Spoons and Knives, 192-count
  • Weis Markets’ Weis by Nature Sugar Cane 9-in. Plates

“I congratulate all the retailers that participated in this year’s award program,” said PLMA President Peggy Davies. “These awards prove that store brands are leading the retail industry and giving shoppers the high-quality, high-value and great-tasting products they want.”  

According to PLMA, the winners were chosen from a field of more than 725 products from 50 North American retailers. A panel of professional and consumer judges sampled and evaluated products based in several criteria, including taste, packaging and value for money.

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