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Velocity Talks: A Conversation with Joanne LaBounty of Spartanburg Meat Processing

Welcome to Velocity Talks, where we dive deep into the world of Retailer-owned Brand / private brand manufacturing and explore the trends and innovations shaping the industry. In this episode, we had the pleasure of speaking with JoAnne Labounty, the owner of a USDA inspected meat plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Spartanburg Meat Processing Company. JoAnne shared her insights on the current state of the industry, her company’s expertise in producing high-quality baby back ribs, and her plans for the future. Join us as we explore the themes that emerged from our conversation and discuss the potential impact they may have on the private brand manufacturing landscape.

The Power of Innovation and Community Engagement

One of the key takeaways from our conversation with JoAnne Labounty was the importance of innovation and community engagement in the private brand manufacturing industry. JoAnne’s company has built a strong reputation for producing the best fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs, and they have successfully partnered with major grocery retailers to offer private label products. JoAnne highlighted the role of her employees in driving innovation and constantly coming up with new ideas. She emphasized the need to listen to others and value their opinions, as this can lead to the development of groundbreaking products.

“We’re constantly innovating, coming up with new ideas, new things.” – JoAnne Labounty

Meeting the Changing Needs of Consumers

As the industry evolves, private brand manufacturers must adapt to meet the changing needs and preferences of consumers. JoAnne Labounty acknowledged the challenges posed by today’s economy and the feedback received from customers regarding the demand for smaller packaging and lower-priced protein options. In response to these demands, JoAnne’s team is working on developing new alternate items that have not been seen in the meat counters before. This includes introducing half racks of ribs and other innovative products that cater to different consumer preferences.

“We’re seeing a lot of challenges in today’s economy, and we’re getting the feedback from our customers that they need smaller packaging, lower-priced opportunities in protein.” – JoAnne Labounty

Exploring New Flavors and Trends

While JoAnne’s company has not yet ventured into international flavors, she expressed interest in exploring new tastes and incorporating them into their product offerings. She mentioned the idea of introducing flavors like maple and whiskey. This willingness to experiment with different flavors and draw inspiration from diverse culinary traditions can be a game-changer for private brand manufacturers, as it allows them to tap into new markets and cater to a wider range of consumer preferences.

“I think there’s a maple and a whiskey. That kind of sounded great. Give that a try.” – JoAnne Labounty

The Future of Private Brand Manufacturing

Looking ahead, JoAnne Labounty is optimistic about the future of her business and the private brand manufacturing industry as a whole. She highlighted the importance of continuous growth and development, as well as the need to collaborate with new copackers to bring innovative ideas to life. JoAnne’s company is set up for perpetuation, with her son serving as the general manager and her grandson also working for the business. This multi-generational approach ensures the longevity and sustainability of the company, while also fostering a sense of community and stability within the organization.

“I think we’re going to continue to grow and develop. We are working with some new copackers to develop some new ideas. My son is my general manager, and this company is set up in perpetuation, so it will go forward to the next generation.” – JoAnne Labounty

A Bright Future for Private Brand Manufacturing

In conclusion, our conversation with JoAnne Labounty shed light on the exciting possibilities and challenges facing the private brand manufacturing industry. JoAnne’s emphasis on innovation, community engagement, and meeting the evolving needs of consumers reflects the dynamic nature of the industry. As private brand manufacturers continue to push boundaries and explore new flavors and product offerings, they have the potential to shape the future of the industry and capture the attention of consumers worldwide. With a strong focus on growth, development, and collaboration, the future of private brand manufacturing looks promising, and JoAnne Labounty’s company is well-positioned to thrive in this ever-changing landscape.

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About the Author: Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of the Velocity Institute. Prior to this he founded the groundbreaking site My Private Brand. He is the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He began his retail career building brands at Food Lion and Lowe’s Home Improvement. Durham has worked with retailers around the world, including Albertsons, Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro Canada. Durham has published seven definitive books on private brands, including Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project and Vanguard: Vintage Originals.

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