The nonalcoholic beverage market is one of the most dynamic and innovative segments for private label, although experts at the Store Brands Industry Forum on Beverages held virtually on Sept. 29 spoke about supply chain challenges to the industry.
The forum provided retailers a chance to listen and connect with private label industry experts. Hosted by Store Brands executive editor Dan Ochwat, the beverage forum consisted of four sections: coffee and tea, dairy, nonalcoholic beverages and alcoholic beverages.
The event, now available on demand, began with a keynote address and a discussion on private label coffee and tea, followed by the dairy portion of the forum, which was then followed by the nonalcoholic beverage segment. Ochwat spoke with Dale Johnson, senior director and divisional merchandise manager of consumables at Walgreens, and Erin Butler, private brands manager at Casey’s.
“It’s been exciting for us to watch as the beverage industry has been evolving,” said Johnson. “The one thing we see in the beverage category compared to the others is that there’s still a strong pipeline of innovation. We’re starting to see a lot more beverages that are in the ‘better for you’ space, and we’re looking at ways we can innovate there.”
Johnson said that as a result of the pandemic, Walgreens has shifted its private label beverage focus from branding and marketing to manufacturing needs.
“In this new environment with all the challenges, you have to get way into the manufacturing,” he said. “Do they have the raw ingredients and materials needed to make the product? You have to make sure they have a reliable supply chain. On-shelf availability is just so important. The days of single-source supplying are probably gone.”