The Premiumization of Walmart? Sam’s Choice?

Sams Choice Icecream Front

Bentonville retail giant, Walmart, continues to quietly grow its recently redesigned premium tier Private Brand Sam’s Choice with the introduction of a line of premium ice cream. Flavors include Sea Salt Caramel, Coffee & Donuts, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Blackberry Crumble, Strawberry Frozen Yogurt and Raspberry White Chocolate Cheescake. And while $3.64 for a quart is a reasonable price, it’s certainly not the cheap, value price that Walmart is so well known for.

The new Sam’s Choice continues to appear throughout the grocery department, including rebranded World Table cookies in a new Sam’s Choice package, which includes a “World Table Recipe” callout on package and redesigned packaging for the Sam’s Choice frozen burgers. The cookie packaging even includes a “World Table Recipe” callout.

The growth of Sam’s Choice and the recent launch of Wild Oats might lead some to question the apparent premiumization of Walmart Private Brands. However, when I look at the overall grocery portfolio, the move simply brings the portfolio and brands even with their grocery competitors. The Walmart Private Brand portfolio is now a virtual duplicate of the Kroger, Safeway, Supervalu, and Delhaize portfolios of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

There is nothing truly new here, however Walmart is leveraging a more robust set of Private Brands to capture a larger share of wallet. Give them another twenty years and they may come to understand that their brands also have the potential to capture a share of heart – which is the key to long-term value and differentiation.

Previous articleHere Comes Peter Cottontail – Woolworths Select Easter 2014
Next articleTarget Remodels Archer Farms
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.