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    Store Brands Summit to Focus on Product Development & Brand Strategy

    Four educational sessions will combine to create a "mini conference."

    CHICAGO -- Four educational sessions at the upcoming Store Brands Decisions Innovation & Marketing Summit, taking place Feb. 26-28 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Hotel, will key in on the critical topics of store brands product development and brand strategy to help catapult retailers to become trendsetters.

    In his keynote presentation, "Store Brands Strategy: Beyond the Tiers," Glenn Backus, senior vice president, center store programs and innovation for Topco, will highlight the often overlooked areas of opportunity in store brands product development, including free-from foods and non-GMO ingredients, for which many retail companies do not have a strategy.

    His presentation will highlight some of the opportunities that progressive store brands teams can mine as they extend their influence beyond the world of private label into customer-focused strategy. Backus will cover how retailers should think about some of these opportunities and what can be done to help companies grow beyond the tiers.

    "These four special sessions combine to create a 'mini-conference' within the Innovation & Marketing Summit for people responsible for store brands product development and strategy," said John Failla, founder and editorial director of Store Brands Decisions, a sister publication of Convenience Store News. "This lineup of excellent speakers and subjects represents the strongest educational program ever on these critical industry issues."

    Lynn Dornblaser, director of innovation and insight for Mintel, will present "The Transformation of U.S. Private Brands," as several store brands embark on trendsetting product development as opposed to being simply trend followers. Her presentation will look at some of the key trends that will affect and direct new product development in the future, and identify where the opportunities lie for retailers.

    "Having products that compete with leading national brands will, of course, continue to be vital to all private brands," said Dornblaser. "However, understanding -- and capitalizing on -- key consumer and product development trends are more important than ever before."

    The other two sessions, presented in a special track featuring speakers Kantha Shelke, Ph.D. of Corvus Blue LLC, and Steve French of the Natural Marketing Institute, will also focus on product development.

    In her session titled "From Trend Chasers to Destination Products," Shelke will help store brand retailers and manufacturers identify critical opportunity gaps or what she calls "white spaces." Her presentation will explain the five steps to transform products from trend chasers into destination products that delight and lead consumers to become loyal shoppers.

    French will focus on the ever-growing health category in his presentation, "Incorporating Health & Wellness Trends in Store Brands Product Development." Healthy products continue to drive growth across the marketplace – consumers are savvier about types of fat, nutrient fortification, whole grains, and a host of other issues. Brands have responded accordingly, with increasingly healthier items comprising many product lines. French’s presentation will reveal the latest insights on health and wellness trends, and identify where the opportunities are for store brands in the future.

    "Anyone responsible for store brands product development and/or strategy will find a wealth of value and actionable information in these four special sessions," Failla said.

    For more information on the Store Brands Decisions Innovation & Marketing Summit and to register, visit the event's website.

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