German retailer Lidl announced on Wednesday revealed that its first 20 U.S. stores would open June 15th with more to follow. The announcement followed an event in New York Tuesday that also included remarks from executives and a sampling of its fresh and private brand including a line of specialty international private products in the Preferred Selection brand. The brand name is unfortunate as it joins a slew of other generic sounding “premium” brands from well-established retailers in the U.S.

Lidl US CEO Brendan Proctor said on Tuesday “The feedback we got from customers in the U.S. was very clear. People feel they’ve been compromised,” he said. “They feel you can get good quality, but it’s extremely expensive, or you can get cheaper product, but the value reflects that. The other compromise they make is time: The amount of time it takes to do a grocery shop.

“People want a good quality product, they want it at a good price and they don’t want to spend all day in a store—they want to get back to living. That that’s our model is about. That’s our strength.”

Proctor gave some insight into the retailer’s strategy, saying about 90% of the products in the store will be private brand, produced specifically for Lidl. Approximately 85% of the food products will be U.S.-made, with the rest imported largely from Europe. Presented at the event were an array of award-winning cheeses, as well as sustainably raised smoked salmon and scallops.

“Everybody’s a foodie now,” said Food Network celebrity chef Amanda Freitag, who spoke at the event, for which she prepared bites using Lidl private brand products. “It’s really important to give people access to high-quality products at decent prices.”

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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.