Walgreen, What does Fresh Taste Like? Private Brand.

In the world of retail drugstores have developed into suburban corner stores with little or no brand differentiation. Their sameness is overwhelming, from product offering to color palette, from architecture to weekly flyer. Walgreens and CVS have more than 1,400 virtually identical stores between them, so it is interesting to learn of strategic rumblings at Walgreen. This week Businessweek reports on Walgreen’s intention to grow a fresh food business, which would presumably be spearheaded by Private Brand.

Walgreen Company
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Walgreen Plans to Offer Fresh Food, Prepared Meals

Walgreen Co. plans to offer fresh foods and prepared meals to draw “time-starved” shoppers to its more than 7,000 stores, taking on retailers such as Target Corp. and Kroger Co.

The drugstore chain has been talking with foodmakers including Unilever NV, Nestle SA and Sara Lee Corp. about creating private-label and branded products, said Bryan Pugh, vice president of merchandising.

“Everyone is time-starved and we have the most convenient 7,000 locations in the U.S.,” Pugh said in a Jan. 11 telephone interview. “They’re on-the-way-home destinations that are easy to get in and out of and will provide a good value.” He declined to say when the project will be implemented or how much it costs.

“Everyone is time-starved and we have the most convenient 7,000 locations in the U.S.,” Pugh said in a Jan. 11 telephone interview. “They’re on-the-way-home destinations that are easy to get in and out of and will provide a good value.” He declined to say when the project will be implemented or how much it costs.

Read the entire story

Walgreen’s seems to be backing this up with a dream team that includes:

  • Bryan Pugh, vice president of merchandising formerly of Tesco’s Fresh & Easy Neighborhood markets, which offered freshly prepared meals.
  • Arthur Reingold, director of private label with classic CPG experience from Kraft and food and beverage nutrition scoring company NuVal
  • A soon to be announced Director of Fresh Foods

And a number of new postings including:

Only time will tell whether this bold move will work, but I applaud the attempt to differentiate. Walgreens has location an convenience on its side if it can convenience America to but fresh and ready to eat, it could give America Mom’s a reason to engage with and potentially love Walgreens.

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Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan).

Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s.
Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago.

Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.