Kroger’s Simple Truth: Private Brand Consolidation

Christopher Durham Oct 30, 2011 49

Over the last year months the US’s largest traditional grocer, Cincinnati based Kroger has quietly introduced the redesign of its store name branded Private Brand products (Kroger, Ralph’s etc.) It has redesigned, relaunched and reintroduced its premium tier Private Selections, introduced its beauty line Mirra and it launched its new home essentials basic line Home Sense. In their 2011 first quarter analysts call Rodney McMullen, president and COO spoke about the launch: “A highlight of the quarter was the launch of our new homes essentials brand, Kroger Home Sense, with 200 reformulated or rebranded products… The collection of smart simple solutions helps customers get great results everywhere in their home. You’ll find our new brand in paper towels, facial tissue, paper housewares and more.”

And most recently they have launched: Simple Truth, their new brand that consolidates their Naturally Preferred and Private Selection Organic Private Brands into one modern lifestyle brand. According to this flyer from Kroger owned Northwestern retailer Fred Meyer.

New Name & New Package
Whats the easiest way to enjoy all natural and organic? Keep it Simple. Naturally Preferred and Private Selection Organic are switching to Simple Truth. So now you can look for one name when picking up your favorite all-natural and organic products. It’s just that simple.

The combination of the new launches and redesigns points to a bold Private Brand portfolio move that includes brand consolidation, rationalization (Two Down: Naturally Preferred and Private Selection Organic) and ultimately the creation of brands that are much more than labels. Brands that simplify, engage and differentiate. The potential exists for their Private Brand portfolio to evolve from a tired, dated copycat to a leader in the industry.

What do you Think?

The Mid Tier Private Brand From Kroger Switches Out the Fred Meyer Logo in this Photo

 

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Christopher Durham

Vice President of Retail Brands at Theory House

Christopher Durham is the founder of My Private Brand and the VP of retail brands at Theory House, the branding and retail marketing agency. He is a consultant, strategist and retailer with close to 20 years of real-world retail and corporate experience creating, launching and building billion dollar Private Brands.

49 Comments »

  1. Anita Oct 31, 2011 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    I tried last week to buy organic half and half at three different Kroger’s in my area. They were out and I found the reason was they were changing to the Simple Truth brand. That’s fine; however, when I purchased a pint of organic half and half, the price had increased from $1.79 to $2.69. Why?

    • Hannah Nov 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm - Reply

      good question. plus there seemed to be additives in the new milk? nothing i can find online about it!

  2. Kent Nov 1, 2011 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    The new Simple Truth Organic skim milk that has replace the Naturally Preferred skim milk tastes much different; more like the cheaper organic milk sold at a competitor. We used to go out of our way to get the Naturally Preferred milk because our kids preferred it best. Oh well, competitor is much closer.

    • Amy G Nov 7, 2011 at 2:30 am - Reply

      I agree about the milk tasting different. The 2% seemed fine the first day but the 2nd day, I couldn’t even hide the bad taste with chocolate. This was 6 days before the sell by date. I liked it better than Organic Valley before the change, but I bought OV today. The dogs will probably get the rest of the gallon of Simple Truth.

      Naturally Preferred was my brand of choice since moving to WA this summer, the milk tasted really good.

  3. Cathy C Nov 29, 2011 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    Tried the simple truth milk….not impressed. Has a very different taste than the naturally preferred. I have had kids at my house that don’t like milk. My son was one of those and he loved naturally preferred and had other kids who didn’t like milk drinking it at our house because it tasted better. Now what am I going to do? Simple truth has turned my boy back into a non-milk guy…we tried organic valley and it is closer but, still not the same. I guess we can try and find out where Kroger’s naturally preferred was coming from and see if another brand is using it as their own. So sad. Willing to pay as much for a half gallon as the lesser quality brand gallons to get great milk and now it’s gone.

  4. LH Nov 30, 2011 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    OK, so maybe with the name change to “Simple Truth” we will be told where the milk comes from, how far? which dairy farm? That is what I’d like about the name change. If it is just greenwashing, I can do without that.

  5. pat Nov 30, 2011 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    I liked the Naturally Preferred brand of milk much better than the Simple Truth brand, and the Simple Truth organic cage-free eggs are lower quality than the previous Kroger brand as well (smaller eggs, softer shells, weaker membranes). I’m sad to say that we’ll be buying our organic eggs and milk from a competitor, which is farther away but their products, which were no. 2 on our list, are now no. 1.

  6. Susan T Dec 1, 2011 at 8:37 am - Reply

    It’s called Simple Truth. When I try to google where the milk comes from it’s NOT SO SIMPLE to find the information.
    I’m so sick of profit before people i could scream!

  7. Anika P Dec 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    Just tried the Simple Truth, 1% milk. Loved it for the taste. I was more used to Costco’s organic 1% milk before. This one tastes so much better. However, I noticed that the price has gone up……wonder why?

  8. Michelle Dec 30, 2011 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    There was a recent article detailing the reason for the rise in cost. It simply comes down to supply vs. demand. The farmers interviewed stated that there isn’t enough product to supply the growing demand. Although the cost of feed (etc) has increased, the farmer’s pay has not, resulting in the farmer purchasing less to feed his stock. The other issue is that not all farmers have (or will) convert to the new dairy process (organic vs. ‘regular’). Again, this brings us back to ‘supply vs. demand’.

  9. kristin Feb 17, 2012 at 11:40 am - Reply

    The “simple truth” is they changed the label and increased the price while somehow managing to lower the quality, in my opinion. The simple truth milk is only available in 1/2 gallons (inconvenient), the price of the simple truth eggs increased over $1.00 per dozen (why???), and NOW there’s simple truth chicken which is exremely expensive. Oh and by the way, the chicken breasts come in a pack of 3 but each breast is also individually freezer wrapped. This is a huge pain when you’re trying to get dinner prepared for a family. Very time consuming and messy. I see it as a way to increase the shelf life. Oh and by the way it was over $5.00/lb at Kroger today.
    I shop (shopped) at Kroger for 3 reasons: 1-the milk, 2-the egss, and 3-the chicken. The produce is no where near the quality of the Meijer stores but I was willing to compromise for my 3 staples. Now, I can’t see any reason to keep shopping at Kroger. By the previous posts, clearly I’m not the only one. See all of you at Meijer.

  10. Donavan Feb 21, 2012 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    This milk has been a life-saver. Our cat was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease. She was becoming very thin and frail (and obviously had bowel symptoms). I bought the Simple Truth Whole Milk with EFA’s. She loves the taste of it and her health has dramatically improved. She’s gained weight, her symptoms have decreased, and she zooms around with renewed vitality. I’m sure it’s the milk. She 18 and has a cancerous tumor in her shoulder too, so the extra several months we’ve had with her feeling better, have been wonderful. We also enjoy the milk. My husband likes it in his coffee and I have it on my cereal. Bravo, and Thank-YOU KROGER! PLEASE DO NOT STOP MAKING THIS WHOLESOME, HEALTHY MILK!

  11. Adam Feb 24, 2012 at 10:31 am - Reply

    I can’t seem to find any information regarding the status of the soybeans being GMO or not. The package says organic and natural and what not, but never mentions GMO. I do not like to support GMO products and especially those produced by Monsanto. If you could provide more info in this regard I would be very appreciative.

    Thanks

    • myprivatebrand Feb 24, 2012 at 10:57 am - Reply

      Adam
      This site is not affiliated with Kroger or their brand Simple Truth so I can not answe your question. i recommend you contact them
      Thanks
      Christopher

    • Beth Wright Jan 9, 2013 at 7:32 am - Reply

      Adam, if a product has a Organic designator on it, it must not contain (*less than a specified quantity ) genetically modified material. Here is a link to info from the site on genetic engineering of the products:
      http://www.simpletruth.com/about-simple-truth/organic-grocery/
      and from the *Non-GMO Project:
      “We use an Action Threshold of 0.9%. This is in alignment with laws in the European Union, where any product containing more than 0.9% GMO must be labeled. Absence of all GMOs is the target for all Non-GMO Project Standard compliant products.”

  12. Isis Manx Apr 4, 2012 at 10:30 pm - Reply

    The organic soymilk is so delicious and I am going to stop using organic Silk and buy this instead. My omnivore boyfriend likes it too.

  13. Don Apr 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    I had been searching for a milk that had a longer shelf life. I am single and always ended up pouring whole containers down the drain. I came across this milk and I was pleasantly surprised. Can anybody tell me why the half gallons had a 6 week shelf life while the gallons only had a 2 week shelf life? I don’t mind paying extra if I don’t have to waste it.

  14. Jason May 14, 2012 at 12:40 am - Reply

    People are questioning the price. I do not understand. Organic is very expensive to produce and to cultivate… DO your homework on anything you are interested in. Some items which are organic are really needless. Such as fruits that have a hard outer shell such as cantaloupes etc.

    • Beth Wright Jan 9, 2013 at 7:43 am - Reply

      Jason, respectfully, some folks just prefer not to pay for herbicides and pesticides and not support the companies and products that use them. Here are the “Dirty Dozen” list of foods
      : http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/

  15. Keri May 16, 2012 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    these two articles are very helpful in inquiries on what to look for and what to avoid when buying milk. it’s all about the pasteurization proccess. this first link goes into the funny flavor some of you described. it may be ” organic ” milk, but if it was pasteurized at an ultra high temp (UHT) then move on. ” Outside of raw milk, the best choice for consumers is low temperature pasteurized milk that is heated to a temperature of 145 degrees for 30 mins. ” here is the link: http://www.naturalnews.com/035860_organic_milk_pasteurization_UHT.html#ixzz1uswcJ2Gm

    here is the other link that goes more into shelf life: http://www.foodrenegade.com/just-say-no-to-uht-milk/

  16. brendiva Sep 2, 2012 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    The price has increased to the point where it is no longer a competitive product. It does not warreng the increase and has made me question the true ethics of the company. Especially when their whole milk is a mixture of whole milk blended with skim. How insulting to the average trusting buyer. I do not like being misled!

  17. Carrie Sep 6, 2012 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    For everyone out there asking questions about where the milk comes from……..kroger is coming out with a web page for Simple Truth. It will have all the products listed & a ton of information on all of the products. The web page is not going to be released for another week or so. Keep checking back, or ask your natural foods manager for more information…they have a playbook for this that is available to them. Get to know the employees…..they have more information than you think.

    • Dauntae Sep 11, 2012 at 11:24 am - Reply

      Thanks for the heads up, and we still have to conduct our own research on what they release to us! Either way I am not supporting any brands from Kroger, this website ( http://www.cornucopia.org/dairysurvey/index.html ) is a rating system that rendered Kroger organic/all natural meat and dairy products a 1 out of 5 because they didn’t release absolutely any information on the farms. Cornucopia institute is a resource that reports and fights the conservation of organic farming They are serious. Research them if not already familiar.

  18. Dauntae Sep 11, 2012 at 11:12 am - Reply

    Everyone, look up Cornucopia Institute and you will find that Kroger and their so called Organic labels are hiding something (or don’t have a damn thing to hide because they don’t actually have these organic farms), there was a conduct of surveys for the farms producing these organic/all natural meat products. You will find that not one response was rendered for information on where they received their so called better quality and damn expensive organic items! There rating was a 1 out of 5 ! DO NOT SUPPORT A COMPANY THAT IS NOT TRUTHFUL TO YOU!

    Here is the link:
    http://www.cornucopia.org/dairysurvey/index.html

    Kroger & Meier are both in the 1 rating of this system: Just click on the company name and you will have the exact results!
    Don’t support their brands!

  19. Barbara Scott Sep 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    I am enjoying the Simple Truth Milk.

  20. Jana Davis Oct 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    I just had that untrusting feeling when buying this new “organic” my intuition tells me the is something not real about it ,and now Im convinced there is .where is the farm????

    • myprivatebrand Oct 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm - Reply

      The brand has numerous products across multiple categories each of which may come from a different farm or factory – that should in no way call into question it’s credentials

  21. Mayuresh Oct 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    I think most of the folks here are confused with the Simple Truth Brand. Here is something to simplify it:
    1. Naturally Preferred is now Simple Truth Natural (STN)
    2. Naturally Preferred Organc is now Simple Truth Organic (STO)
    3. Private Selection Organic (or PS Organic) is now Simple Truth Organic (STO)
    4. Private Selection (PS) still exists on its own.

    I love the Private label brands at Kroger. Some of my staples (I’d recommend each one of them) are:
    1. PS wide-pan 100% whole wheat sugar-free bread
    2. STO 16 oz spinach tub
    3. STN Large brown cage free eggs
    4. STO frozen peas, frozen edmame and other veggies
    5. STO 2% milk, 1 gallon
    6. STO 1% chocolate-milk, 1/2 gallon
    7. STO chicken
    8. STO Pasta and Pasta sauce
    9. STO Tomato Ketchup

    Folks complaining about the eggs, I used to buy Naturally Preferred Cage Free Large Brown eggs for $2.50 a dozen, now I buy Simple Truth Natural Cage Free Large Brown eggs for $2.50 a dozen. Prices have not changed nor has quality.

    You also get Simple Truth Organic Milk in 1 gallon cans. The only complaint I have is that my store always seems to run out of the 2% Simple Truth Organic 1 gallon milk (price: $5.29 to $5.39).

  22. Jasmine Jan 5, 2013 at 8:27 pm - Reply

    I tried the pep. pizza. It was so gross that I don’t think Honey Boo Boo or her family would eat this. I have never had dog food until tonight. It is just gross, gross, gross. Even after taking the pep off it still left a nasty taste behind. It is the perfect diet pizza though. It will turn you away from pizza.

  23. Dotty Jan 5, 2013 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    My 5 year old grandson likes pizza so I was excited to find another one with uncured pepperoni. Since I buy a couple of other brands that have uncured pep, I bought this Simple Truth Organic brand, which I had never seen nor heard of. My daughter commented that she didn’t like the pepperoni so I pulled off a slice to try. I had to take a second look at the box to make sure I hadn’t bought pupperoni pizza by mistake. It was the nastiest pizza I have ever tasted. Even the spot where the pepperoni cooked tasted awful. My grandson asked if he had to eat it, and I was happy to say no. I would NEVER try any Simple Truth Organic product again, even if it was free. I think the company needs to be investigated because that pepperoni was not fit for human comsumption.

  24. mj hannon Jan 18, 2013 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    TRIED THE SIMPLE TRUTH PEP. PIZZA TODAY. ABSOLUTE GARBAGE.

    • Melissa Jan 25, 2013 at 1:40 am - Reply

      Why would you want to buy frozen pizza anyway? Defeats the purpose of eating healthy, nevermind buying organic.

      • myprivatebrand Jan 26, 2013 at 4:13 pm - Reply

        Remember eating organic is not necessarily eating healthy – organic sugar is still just sugar

  25. Ginger Feb 2, 2013 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    I bought some Simple Truth organic Yogurt, but could NOT find anywhere in the list of ingredients or on the packaging that it contains live cultures. Did I waste my money? I have recently decided to go with more organic products for our health, but am I getting the real thing with this Simple Truth brand? Can find hardly any info on thier website…what are you hiding?!

  26. lynn Feb 3, 2013 at 12:11 am - Reply

    Naturally Preferred Whey Protein Powder was by far my favorite whey protein powder. I’ve gone to several Kroger stores looking. Finally decided to look it up online. I hope, hope, hope the quality of the replacement will be as good. Fingers crossed. The brand I got last time is not nearly as good.

  27. rachael May 25, 2013 at 1:20 am - Reply
  28. rachael May 25, 2013 at 1:21 am - Reply

    You can use that web site to find the farm source of your dairy products, which differ by store location.

  29. Pam Blackwell Sep 29, 2013 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    These “Simple Truth” products are highly
    disappointing.

    The “organic coconut milk” was lace with preservatives as well as “cane sugar extract.”
    Who the hell expects cane sugar extract to be
    added to coconut milk, and an organic one at that?

    The “organic” margherita pizza is inedible. I am
    really angry because the grocery store place
    it right aside of Kashi pizza in the dairy case. No comparison. You can eat Kashi. This “simple truth” brand is inedible and I would say misleading.

    • Dotty Oct 14, 2013 at 4:37 pm - Reply

      I am not surprised that the pizza was inedible. I tried the Simple Truth pepperoni pizza last year and the pepperoni tasted like dog food. I threw the entire pizza in the garbage and vowed never to purchase Simple Truth products again.

  30. R Oct 14, 2013 at 3:33 am - Reply

    Where on the Simple Truth Coconut milk does it say organic?? I stock it at my job in the nutrition center of Fred Meyers. They say the name change was to make it less confusing between “natural” and “organic” products of naturally preferred but I suspect the oppposite.

    • Simple Truth Jan 15, 2014 at 3:46 am - Reply

      Yes I do also. The simple truth chicken comes from foster farms. after reading about the foster farms salmonella recall, I noticed simple truth was included as that’s where it comes from!

  31. frank Oct 27, 2013 at 4:51 am - Reply

    Your website for simple truth …. NEVER WORKS!!!! You are hiding the gmo ingredients in your brands, by making the data unavailable, PURPOSELY!!!!

  32. banishing blindness Apr 13, 2014 at 12:15 am - Reply

    Christopher Durham- You don’t want to take responsibility for anything! If people are involved in healthy and sustaining practices I doubt you would AWLAYS tell us to “reach out to them directly”.

    • Christopher Durham Apr 13, 2014 at 7:55 pm - Reply

      Thank for your comment
      Banishing Blindness
      However you don’t seem to understand this site is in no way affiliated with any retailer or the brands that they own. Therefore we have no information other than what is publicly stated about any retailer or brands business practices or “healthy and sustaining practices” to assume otherwise is incorrect.
      Thanks for reading

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