What We Learned From a Virtual Conference – Velocity Global 2020

This year the Velocity Global: the My Private Brand Conference pivoted with the changing business landscape, holding one of the first virtual conferences of its kind, August 4-5th. The premier private band conference traditionally takes place in Charlotte, NC, where hundreds of movers and shakers in the private brand and grocery industry unite from across the globe to discuss this growing retail sector. Curiosity and excitement remained high as many wondered what does a digital conference look like?

In fact, Velocity Global proved to be engaging, innovative, and a space for collaboration. “Main Stage” sessions were held via Skype or pre-recorded presentations, where presenters covered topics ranging from diversity, the impact of COVID-19 on the future of private brands, to private brands abroad. Round table groups provided meeting rooms in which attendees and moderators could interact and discuss a host of topics. Additionally, the Innovation Expo and Networking Breaks allowed attendees to virtually interact, set meetings, and view the newest in private brands. The conference was gamified to keep attendees engaged with point-earning actions and social media incentives.

The private brand landscape remains hopeful amidst the current economic and global environment. Many presenters touched on the fact that families are eating at home now more than ever, and that value of these meals is a top priority. Historically private brands were introduced as price fighter options, and while that remains a benefit of the product lines, quality of the product remains key. Newer generations like millennials and Gen-Z are influencing many retailers to include information regarding transparency and supply chain. Private brands continue to expand into all corners of retail, with growth opportunities in grocery projected around prepared foods, frozen entrees and seafood, and natural and organic products.

Takeaways from this conference?

First, digital works. With the future of conferences and expos unknown, it was encouraging to receive great information from esteemed guests. The food industry has long relied on the value of expos and conventions, and it will be interesting to see how other shows like Expo East/West, PLMA and the like adapt similarly. Private Brand wise, there is a lot of hope. The economic environment has been friendly to few over the past 6 months, but the resulting landscape is welcoming to the benefits of private brands. As brands continue to diversify their product offerings and become more transparent, they will welcome in a host of new impassioned consumers. The price to value offerings of private brands is unmatched, with many retailers earning shopper visits solely based on their own brand offerings. With many eager to say so long! to 2020, private brands are poised to continue their growth and value as we come tumbling out of this year.


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