2023 Private Label Hall of Fame: Alicia Cook, Save A Lot

Alicia Cook’s notable accomplishments at Save A Lot include the success of the J. Higgs salty snack private brand and launch of a new line of private label chocolates.
PLMA 2023 Hall of Fame

16 leaders from the world of private brands were recently honored as the newest inductees to the Private Label Hall of Fame.

During a ceremony held during the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s (PLMA) Annual Meeting & Leadership Conference in Orlando, Fla., members of the Class of 2023 shared stories of the challenges each has overcome to succeed in a highly competitive industry.

Created in 2006 to recognize those who have made significant contributions to the growth and development of the global private brand industry, this year’s event featured updated categories that each included two retail and two supplier honorees. The categories are Next Gen Private Label Leader, Private Brand Innovator, Private Brand Champion and Lifetime Achievement.

“We proudly celebrate the outstanding achievements of these proven leaders and innovators,” said Peggy Davies, president of PLMA. “Their hard work and dedication are instrumental to the success of the store brands business.”

“The 16 honorees represent the best of the best from across the world of private label and showcase the depth of talent the industry has to offer,” said Greg Sleter, executive editor and associate publisher of Store Brands. “This august group of retailers and suppliers have had a major impact on the private label business and will continue to do so in the years ahead.”

This special section features profiles of each of the new Hall of Famers.

Alicia Cook Save A Lot

Alicia Cook

Category Director

Save A Lot

Private Brand Innovator


Developing a private label brand that builds a loyal following with shoppers is the goal for all retailers, and something Alicia Cook, category director with Save A Lot, has been able to achieve.

A 2023 Private Label Hall of Fame Honoree in the Private Brand Innovator category, Cook’s multitude of notable accomplishments include the success of Save A Lot’s J. Higgs salty snack private brand. Cited by colleagues as an example of her commitment to providing shoppers quality products, the J. Higgs line has developed a loyal following and is now a highly recognized brand with Save A Lot’s customers.

Cook said the success she has enjoyed throughout her career is the result of several factors.

“I believe that getting my footing in retail at the store level was a foundation of my success, as it allowed me to be on the front lines and understand the day-to-day operations first-hand,” she said. “Having this fundamental knowledge as I entered a career in the corporate world helped drive many of my decisions along the way and taught me a lot of the basics of business acumen.”

Retail has been in her blood, and family, as she grew up with her father working for Target. At age 16, Cook took her first job in retail and immediately enjoyed the industry’s fast-paced environment and its constant change.

“I take pride in knowing that I have a real impact on the lives of consumers and appreciate that the results of my actions are measurable,” she said. “I enjoy the ever-changing nature of retail and the evolution it demands in order to stay relevant.”

The changing retail environment was never more evident than at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the challenges of the pandemic also brought with it a success story that stands out to Cook. Working to launch a new line of private label chocolates under a tight time frame, Cook recalls she was meeting with Save A Lot’s senior leadership, including the CEO, to provide updates and note the challenges faced. But a few words from the then-CEO made her feel at ease.

“The CEO said, ‘If anyone can do it, Alicia can,’” she recalled. “Receiving that affirmation from our highest-level executive was certainly encouraging and gave me the confidence I needed to deliver the project on time. I successfully launched six new private label SKUs from the initial concept to shelf in 3 months.”

Looking toward the future, her focus is to continue growing as a leader and mentor to her team.

“I am always looking for opportunities to take on new projects that challenge me and fuel my desire for personal growth and look forward to all that is yet to come in my career,” she said.

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