Supervalu Consolidates And Looks to Essential Everyday

Beginning this month, Minnesota-based Supervalu will radically reinvent Private Brand portfolio with the consolidation of its banner (Jewel, Albertsons, Cub Foods, etc) branded products under one national brand called Essential Everyday by February of next year .

The initiative is part of the Supervalu’s strategy to put more attention on its private labels, which are rising in popularity with shoppers, and to boost profit margins. As food prices have risen, eating into grocery stores’ historically thin profit margins, house-brand success increasingly has become critical to a grocer’s success.

According to a Chicago Tribune article: Sam Mayberry, vice president of private brands, said 94 percent of Supervalu shoppers buy private brands sometimes and 20 percent of them always do. Many of them, he said, “rely on private brands to make ends meet,” and the company is “conscientious” to offer “quality, healthful products that fit into their individual budgets.”

Supervalu announced the shift at an investor meeting last month, and executives promised savings to consumers from uniform packaging, advertising, marketing and distribution of Essential Everyday products. The company plans to offer in-store taste comparisons against leading brands and to launch national TV advertising early next year.

Essential Everyday first will appear in the grocery and pasta aisles. The two-color packages with higher-quality food images will replace a ragtag assortment of products in an array of colors and styles.

“It’s all about offering the equal to or better quality,” Mayberry said, “and doing all we can to provide the cost savings to our shoppers, which is at the heart of what private brands deliver to our shoppers.”

“As we look deeper at what drives customer satisfaction, we know private brands play a very important role,” said Supervalu Chief Marketing Officer Julie Dexter Berg. While Supervalu chains have “strong banner brand names,” she said, the company “could do a better job with our portfolio of private brands.”

Supervalu joins the Delhaize owned Banners Food Lion, Hannaford, Bloom, Bottom Dollar and Sweetbay in implementing a Private Brand strategy that consolidates their brands. Delhaize recently began the launch of My Essentials while Supervalu will have Essential Everyday.

Although I firmly believe in these initiatives to consolidate and build larger, better, more customer relevant brands, the naming feels safe and generic, lacking a personality that can engage customers and build loyalty. Private Brands have the potential to own the next age of Branding, if and when we step outside of our comfort zone and create truly engaging relevant brands. Memorable brands with personality and attitude that draw customers into them, must have more than a generic combination of semi-descriptive words they must be unique, ownable and memorable.

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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.