Sobeys Debuts Private Brand Easy Meals

Canadian grocer Sobeys has introduced a new private brand line of Easy Meals. The line consists of 35+ SKUs, ranging from Classic Pot Roast and Meat Lasagna, to modern recipes including Apple Brie and Red Pepper Jelly Boneless Chicken Breast with Vegetable Medley, and Tangy Thai Boneless Pork Loin Chop with Vegetable Medley.

Ingredients and flavor profiles have been adjusted to reflect regional availability and tastes, says Bryon Feener, senior director, commercial programs –meat and seafood at Sobeys.

Available in both ready-to-cook and ready-to-heat formats, Easy Meals are being sold in single-serve packages, providing choice for the busy families who are the key target. “Our customers want to dine together, but we’ve found that they don’t necessarily want to eat the same thing,” says Feener.

Sobeys has also introduced what Feener describes as a “multi-buy strategy,” which involves a 50¢ discount on each item beyond the first. The Easy Meals items range from $6 to $10 in price, with ready-to-cook products on the cheaper end of the scale.

According to Feener, customer response to Easy Meals has been positive in the first couple weeks of launch, with the products averaging four stars in customer reviews on the grocer’s website. “We knew there was pent-up consumer demand for this and they’re showing their support,” he says.

The Easy Meals products are available at approximately 480 Sobeys and Safeway stores across the country, with Feener saying there are plans to eventually introduce them to the Foodland banner.

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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.