Store Brands

FEB 2017

Store Brands delivers unprecedented strategic and tactical information needed by retail executives to develop and support compelling, differentiated store brand programs to build customer loyalty.

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2 4 Store Brands / February 2017 / Publix's pride extends to dairy facilities Publix Super Markets is renowned for its own-brand ice cream, especially its distinct limited- edition offerings. Consider Coconut Expedition, where "coconut snowdrifts collide with caramel streams to create an uncharted taste experience." One reason consumers prefer the ice cream over name brands is because Publix manufactures it in its own dairy plants. Publix has three dairy plants, including its original plant located near its headquarters in Lakeland, Fla. The other two plants are located in Deerfield Beach, Fla., and Lawrenceville, Ga. Greg Rudolph, general manager of dairy manufacturing at the Lakeland facility, says the original facility, which opened in 1980, was the brainchild of the late Joe Blanton, who was president of Publix at the time. Publix was one of the first supermarket chains to open its own dairy facility. "He thought if Publix built a dairy manufacturing plant, it could produce a product of greater quality and higher value to pass on to consumers," says Rudolph, who has worked at the plant for 33 years. "The plant was one of Mr. Blanton's favorite accomplishments at Publix [while he was president.]" The Deerfield Beach plant was added in 1988, and the Lawrenceville plant in 1995. Combined, the facilities employ about 575 people and produce about 1.7 billion pounds of product annually for Publix's 1,141 stores in six states. The facilities manufacture milk, ice cream, yogurt, cultured products and other nondairy items. The plants work with local dairy co-ops to secure raw milk. There are high standards. "The regulatory guidelines say we can't receive any milk greater than 300,000 direct microscopic count (DMC), which is the number of bacteria and organisms in the milk," Rudolph says. "But we tell our co-ops that we don't want any milk with more than 100,000 DMC. The co-ops have had to work hard to meet this higher standard of quality." The Lakeland facility is the largest dairy manufacturing plant in the Southeast, says Rudolph, who adds he has also been told by state regulatory people and third-party auditors that it is one of the most diverse dairy plants in the country. The facility can receive raw milk in the morning from the co- op, process and pasteurize it, and have it in stores in as little as eight hours, Rudolph says. — Lawrence Aylward relevant to its retail business. Publix manufacturing is the largest food supplier to Publix Super Markets in food dollars but not SKUs. "We don't just develop products out of the box," King adds. "We work together with retail and make sure we are investing our resources where retail needs them." Publix takes pride in being a tough customer — to its own manufacturer and outside suppliers. "If you talk to our suppliers, they will say we are Greg Rudolph oversees the plant as general manager.

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