The Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) announced the winners in its 2019 Salute to Excellence Awards program. According to the New York-based association, this year’s entries showed that retailers are increasingly relying on innovations in store brand products and packaging to attract and retain shoppers.

Sixty-two U.S. and Canadian retailers submitted more than 750 store brand food and nonfood products for consideration. Eight panels of industry professionals and consumers judged the products, ultimately selecting 44 food and 23 nonfood winners. Kathie Canning, editor-in-chief of Dairy Foods, was among the professional judges.

Among the winners in the dairy category were two products reflecting the free-from trend: Southeastern Grocers’ SE Grocers Naturally Better Organic Gluten-Free Caramel Crunch ice cream and Whole Foods Market’s lactose-free 365 Everyday Value Organic Almond Chocolate Almondmilk beverage. Harris Teeter’s HT Traders Gelato Caramel Cookie Crunch gelato and Price Chopper’s PICS Honey Walnut soft cream cheese spread featured unusual flavors and ingredients, PLMA said, while Schnuck Markets’ Schnucks Farm Style Mexican shredded cheese and Weis Markets’ Weis Quality Classic cubed pepper jack cheese also focused on convenience.

“This year’s Salute to Excellence Awards submissions continue to reflect the shift away from national brands as consumers gravitate to more unique and affordable products from the stores they know and trust,” said Brian Sharoff, PLMA’s president. “Today’s retailers have a good pulse on consumer trends in their particular markets, and their store brands are better positioned than the national brands are to satisfy that shopper’s appetite for quality products.”

All of the winning products will be showcased at PLMA’s 2019 Private Label Trade Show, which will be held Nov. 17-19 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill. A complete list of all of the winners can be found here.