The Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) Show in Amsterdam on 21-22 May 2019 was again impressive. It is a large show (8 halls) and we talked 13 km to cover it (sore feet!). There were many exhibitors offering only branded products, including some large brand corporates, such as InterSnack. Though it's a private label show, the number of branded products exhibitors is a measure of its value for meeting European retailers and wholesalers. PLMA is definitely a pan-European show. If you fail to exhibit as a manufacturer of retail-ready food products on the Continent, you will be conspicuous by your absence. Many of the larger food manufacturers had stands there. Interestingly, many company stand positions were similar to 2016, when we last visited the show.
Out of eight halls, five and a half were focused on food and beverage products. The other halls were mainly for non-food retail items, such as personal care products, housewares and tobacco products. The main focus of the show was retail-ready packaged food and beverage products. There were a few ingredient producers and distributors, many of whom also offered retail pack services. Foodservice was also present: many of the food and beverage exhibitors featured foodservice packaging options. Some of the beverage exhibitors were focused more on the delivery systems (e.g. coffee machines) and less on ingredients. From our discussions with the organisers of the U.S. pavilion in 2016, they struggled to secure enough U.S. exhibitors that year. As a result, there was no U.S. pavilion this year. This could have something to do with the discount orientation of private label procurement, the rise in tariffs (particularly value-added food), and the cost of shipping packaged goods across the Atlantic. All in all, PLMA was a good show for meeting European food and beverage manufacturers, but weak on importer/distributor types who might have interest in importing from outside the EU.