The Fresh Market Curates The Reinvention or Private Brand

Greensboro, NC, based specialty grocer The Fresh Market’s mission is to inspire its customers to make everyday eating extraordinary. To do this, their team scours food trade shows, track trend, and industry data, and work closely with vendors to curate and create the best product offerings within their categories.

Michelle Beck, Director, Private Label at The Fresh Market

“Consumers typically view store brands as generic versions of well-known brand names, but it is the opposite with The Fresh Market,” says Michelle Beck, Director, Private Label at The Fresh Market. “In order for us to put our name on a product, it has to be better than the best-selling brand in that category.”

The Fresh Market carries over 1500 private brand products across both perishable and non-perishable (grocery) categories.

There are three segments the products fall under in terms of category development: Everyday Extraordinary, Signature and Seasonal or limited-time offerings.

To be an Everyday Extraordinary item means it has to exceed the benchmark comparison brand by at least one attribute, such as quality of ingredients, flavor variety, and taste. Examples of new Everyday Extraordinary items at The Fresh Market include potato chips that come in Sea Salt, Sour Cream and the No. 1 flavor in Canada – All Dressed (a combination of barbecue, ketchup, sour cream and onion, and salt and vinegar), hand soaps and lotions that are sulfate-free with all-natural essential oils, organic peanut butters that come in original roast and a dark roast, and indulgent peanut butter cookies (vanilla cookie with peanut butter filling enrobed in a rich milk chocolate).

Signature private brand products are those that are highly curated, premium or proprietary to The Fresh Market. This includes NomNom Salsa made by a local vendor in Georgia, cheddar cheese straws, toffee made in North Carolina, and some new items imported directly from Italy including frozen pizzas with a crust that’s been stone-baked, as well as Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, artisan bronze-cut pasta, Panettone, and gelato.

Seasonal private brand items include The Fresh Market’s flavored coffees, snack mixes, and cookies. For the fall, this includes more than 60 pumpkin-flavored items (pasta sauce, salsa, coffee, cookies, hot cocoa, snack mixes, yogurt-covered pretzels, bakery items, etc.).

The very first private brand item The Fresh Market carried was based on a family recipe of the founder, Ray Berry: pimento cheese. This unique southern dip is made with two kinds of cheese, mayonnaise, and pimentos. It was introduced in 1983, and it is still a top-seller today.

“I love developing cool, delicious specialty products for our guests,” says Michelle Beck. “I am really excited about some of our new limited-time items that are based on the latest flavor trends.”

Bryan Bowers, Creative Director at The Fresh Market

The Fresh Market design team also updated the packaging on the store’s private brand items to reflect the new improvements and provide a more contemporary look for the brand.

“Our team updated private label with a design system that would provide a consistent look and feel across all our product categories without having them adhere to a rigid template,” says Bryan Bowers, Creative Director at The Fresh Market. “We wanted these products to stand out within their category while also supporting our updated brand look.”

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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.