G’day USA: Aussie private F&B labels star in Chicago

Austrade

Australian food and beverages continue to wow in the US, starring at a leading trade fair.

Austrade hosted the first-ever Australia Pavilion at PLMA’s 2022 Private Label Trade Show. The show was held in Chicago from 13–15 November.

Eleven companies exhibited at the pavilion, showcasing some of Australia’s best-loved packaged foods and world-class wines.

Australia was one of 24 countries with displays. While it was cold and snowy outside, Australian companies hotly contested customer interest on the show floor.

They highlighted their offerings under the banner of “innovative”, “safe” and “natural”. Products spanned organic honey, vanilla, dried fruit, lupins, plant-based food, fine wines and pet treats.

Fast and furious trade-only event

The Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) is a non-profit organisation. It promotes private-label products and holds annual shows in the US and Europe.

The PLMA represents more than 3,500 companies globally from multinationals to small family-owned businesses. Products include food, beverages, snacks, health and beauty, household and kitchen, DIY, and personal and leisure items.

Austrade partnered with the PLMA’s Australia-New Zealand team to bring the Australia Pavilion to the event.

This year’s Chicago show was held in-person for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also sold out for attendees, and a fast and furious trade-only show.

Austrade drives blue-chip buyers to Aussie offerings

Austrade Chicago Senior Trade Director, Food Industry Joan Morgan says major retailers sent teams of buyers to walk the floors and meet exhibitors.

Austrade staff leveraged their extensive US customer networks, driving buyers to the Australia Pavilion and facilitating business matching.

‘We were super excited to support Australian exhibitors at the Private Label Trade Show. It was also wonderful to fly the Aussie flag for the very first time,’ Morgan says.

‘This is a world-renowned fair for private-label brands. It attracts strong business interest from eager buyers looking for the next new product or innovative trend.

‘US shoppers hold clean and safe products in high regard,’ adds Morgan. ‘They are increasingly building their know-how on different categories and lines, including emerging international brands.

‘This is a key reason why we highlighted the Australian offerings through the “innovative, safe and natural” themes. It’s demonstrates that Australian companies align with these values and supply products in line with that.’

Full program packed with opportunity

Around the show, Austrade arranged a comprehensive program for the Australian contingent, taking in:

  • an educational tour of US retailers including Costco, Amazon Fresh, Super Walmart and Whole Foods
  • meetings with prominent US retail decision-makers at a networking function by Women Impacting Storebrand Excellence (WISE)
  • pre- and post-event briefings to share extensive market insights and data.

The Australian exhibitors were positive about their experience, enjoying the valuable opportunity to connect with blue-chip customers.

‘We’ve had brilliant feedback from the companies, chiefly that the show exceeded all expectations. Several are reporting strong leads from quality US retail buyers, and we believe more will flow,’ Morgan says.

‘The appetite for premium Australian food and beverages is on a great growth trajectory in the US market. It truly represents some incredibly exciting opportunities.’

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