Robin VanDenabeele Joins IGA As Director of IGA Exclusive Brands

IGA announced today that Robin VanDenabeele has joined the IGA team as director of IGA Exclusive Brands, overseeing IGA’s private brand redesign, product development, and marketing.

VanDenabeele has spent the last four years with Midwest natural/organic grocery chain Fresh Thyme Market, where she launched a more than 1,800 SKU private label brand that earned 30 artistic awards and generated over $100 million in sales across just 77 plus stores. Previously she worked for Topco on a $215 million portfolio of food sauces, and Symphony/IRI, where she focused on market research and analytics for national chains like Walgreens and Target.

VanDenabeele joins the IGA team during a systematic research process that began nearly a year ago with analysis of IGA Exclusive Brand’s quality, shopper interest, design, marketing, and range of offerings, and is now nearing conclusion with design and testing of a new label.

“Our customer research revealed that IGA Exclusive Brand gets extremely high marks from shoppers when it relates to quality, trust, and shopper interest, but the look of the label is where we fall short,” IGA CEO John Ross says. “Now we’re working to align the quality and reputation of our brand with the look and feel of a modern, innovative product line that resonates with our new Local Equals Fresh marketing and merchandising platform. Robin’s extensive experience in private label design combined with her background in analytics, market research, and category management give us the expertise we need to breathe new life into the IGA Exclusive Brand line with both a new look and new offerings.”

“Connecting with the consumer on an emotional level while creating a rewarding brand experience is our top priority,” says VanDenabeele. “Our goal is to reignite the IGA brand and get consumers to fill their pantries with all things IGA. To achieve this, we need to focus on household staples, while staying ahead of emerging trends to ensure our products are relevant to our customers.”

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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.