Top 5 Themes from the 2022 Velocity Institute Innovation Expo + Conference – Part 2

Written by Chris Faridniya, ChefsBest’s Chief Business Development Officer

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of attending and exhibiting at the Velocity Institute Innovation Expo and Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a gathering place for private brand retailers, manufacturers, agencies, and other service providers – we were thrilled to get some insight into the ever-changing world of private brands. Last week, in part 1, we discussed three of the five common themes that are shaping the industry. This week, we wanted to touch on the last (but certainly not least) two themes and look to the future of the private brands industry.

Theme 4: Customer Focus

Although product lines will always need to remain profitable, a focus on the customer needs is also necessary. Consumer needs to feel like they are not just getting a good value but also feel good about purchasing the product. As evident by private brands presenting their latest improvements on innovation, quality, and packaging, to better align with consumer wants and needs, a shift in thinking regarding marketing these products needed to occur as well. Traditionally, private brand products had very little to no marketing budget. Their value was purely exhibited by being a parity version of a national brand at a discounted price tag. Today, private brands are getting savvier with how they promote their products and ensure they are focusing on the customer and letting that define the medium of advertising that is used. For instance, for older generations coupons, circulars, radio, etc., and social media and influencer marketing for the younger shopper.

Example: Rite Aid – Traditionally, Rite Aid focuses on their 55 & older female demographic, but they also are looking to meet the needs of younger generations.

Theme 5: The Future

This last theme summarizes some interesting predictions for the future of private brands as discussed at the conference. Firstly, we think we will see packaging continue to evolve and denote the quality of the products private brands sell – the days of putting the hero brand on a generic container are being phased out. Additionally, innovation summits will continue to be the main source of fostering innovation and empowering any employee to come to the table with an idea. ESG messaging will continue to grow and become more prominent. Third, more cell-based, plant-based, and other alternative food sources will be available under private brands. Lastly, in order for private brands to truly thrive, open lines of communication between the suppliers, manufacturers, and the private brand itself need to be established – transparency and collaboration between these entities is key.

Example: Aldi’s Earth Grown – a line of products made free of animal products.

How ChefsBest Can Help Private Brands

As private brands continue and start working on the initiatives listed in each of the previous themes, it is important to keep in mind that there are potential strategic partners that can help jumpstart or bolster these efforts. This includes private brand manufacturers, design agencies, software solution providers, and food and beverage award marketing companies, like ChefsBest. Being bold is often considered doing something unexpected and having a private brand product on the shelf awarded and recognized by professional chefs could be the perfect way of cutting through the noise on shelves, tipping the consumer’s decision scales in a private brand’s favor. Additionally, having a product vetted by professional chefs could help support a private brand’s marketing and package design efforts around conveying a product’s taste and quality. A ChefsBest award and turn-key digital content programs can be utilized not just on pack and in-store, but in all forms of marketing, including digital and social media.

Overall, this was a fantastic event that all professionals in the private brand industry should consider attending. It is a great way to network, see how peers are innovating and pushing private brands forward, as well as get ideas on how to make improvements on various aspects of a private brand from a holistic perspective. We are looking forward to future Velocity Institute’s conferences and seeing where private brands will take their products next.

To learn more about Velocity Institute Innovation Expo + Conference please  visit

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