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.
In a crowded and competitive marketplace, Asda’s much-loved baby private brand Little Angels had become outdated, outgrowing its existing graphical toolkit, losing credibility, consistency, and brand ownership. With a loyal following of existing customers, the brand was fast losing market share as it struggled to gain trust and attract new parents to the brand.
The agency Our Creative was challenged was to create a stronger brand positioning and graphic ownership, whilst also allowing controlled flex to be appropriate across various product categories from feeding to bath toys and everything in-between.
Join this unparalleled conversation to gain insights and perspectives completely focused on Private Brand and its evolving role during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Hear from Sobeys, Weis Markets, Boxed, Catalina, and Daymon as we explore the latest research, insights, opportunities, and challenges for Private Brand retailers, manufacturers, and service providers.
Demystifying the Private Brand Shopper Journey During COVID-19
Wesley Bean SVP of Global Retail Network, CATALINA
Leveraging its Buyer Intelligence Database, Catalina continues to track the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on consumer behavior, including the skyrocketing sales of Private Brands. This pandemic has radically altered shopping behaviors and buying decisions, propelling Private Brands into the forefront of the discussion. Wesley will share insights about the Private Brands shoppers, their behavior, the impact on the Private Brand industry, and future considerations for retailers and manufacturers as societal restrictions loosen.
The 5 Keys to Private Brand Success in the New Normal
The COVID-19 crisis brought in new shoppers and drove trial of Private Brands, as shoppers were limited by both selection and budget. Given this increased trial and the reality of a financial downturn, Private Brands stand to see significant growth in the months and years to come. Leveraging Daymon’s insights and decades of Private Brand experience, Aimee will share the five key focus areas retailers and manufacturers must maximize to grow our new normal.
Seanna Rishor, VP Private Label, SOBEYS John Evans, Director of Private Brands, WEIS MARKETS Brandon Wehmeyer, Senior Private Brands Product Development Manager, BOXED Moderator: Christopher Durham, President, MY PRIVATE BRAND
Christopher will lead a panel of retailers in a discussion about private brand in the current COVID-19 world and its potential impact moving forward.
Kroger announced last week the launch of an expanded Dairy Rescue Program, designed to support children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic through the summer months. In partnership with its dairy cooperative suppliers and farmers across the Midwest and South, Kroger will process and donate about 200,000 gallons of additional private brand milk to Feeding America food banks and community organizations through the end of August, uplifting its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste initiative.
\”Kroger recognizes the growing need for fresh, highly nutritious food in our community, especially for children as schools remain closed during the pandemic to flatten the curve,\” said Erin Sharp, Kroger\’s group vice president of manufacturing. \”At a time when dairy farmers have surplus raw milk, we\’re doubling down on our mission to reduce hunger and waste.\”
The Dairy Rescue Program is expanding on an existing partnership model between Kroger and its dairy cooperative suppliers to direct even more fluid milk — one of the most requested but harder to stock items at food banks — to food-insecure communities. Through the expanded program, during the pandemic dairy cooperatives will donate surplus milk normally sold to restaurants, schools and hotels, while Kroger will donate the processing and packaging of the donated milk. Additionally, in some areas, Kroger\’s logistics team will also donate the transportation of the milk to local food banks.
\”As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses like restaurants and hotels across the country to close, some of America\’s farmers are left without buyers for their dairy supply,\” said Heather J. McCann, director of public affairs for Dairy Farmers of America\’s Mideast Area. \”Kroger\’s Dairy Rescue Program is an invaluable resource for the dairy industry during this crisis and beyond, helping distribute and process surplus milk to communities who need it the most.\”
The expansion of Kroger\’s Dairy Rescue Program builds on the existing partnerships with the Michigan Milk Producers Association and Dairy Farmers of America, which already donate a combined 129,900 gallons throughout the year. Through the expanded program, Kroger\’s dairy processing plants and suppliers will be donating an additional 50,000 gallons of milk per month to local food banks and community organizations. Feeding America member food banks and other partners will help transport the gallons and half-gallons to local hunger relief agencies.
From May through August, four of Kroger\’s manufacturing facilities will process the rescued milk to benefit several food bank organizations and communities:
Tamarack Farms in partnership with Dairy Farmers of America will donate milk to benefit the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, YMCA Van Buren, and the Salvation Army in Columbus, OH; New Beginnings in Youngstown, OH; and the West Ohio Food Bank in Lima, OH.
Kroger Michigan Dairy in partnership with Michigan Milk Producers Association will donate rescued milk to Michigan food banks supported by Food Bank Council of Michigan.
Winchester Farms Dairy in partnership with Dairy Farmers of America will donate milk to benefit Feeding America Kentucky\’s Heartland in Elizabethtown, KY; Dare to Care in Louisville, KY; God\’s Pantry Food Bank in Lexington, KY; and the Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati, OH. Transportation will be donated by Penske Logistics.
Vandervoort\’s Dairy in partnership with Select Milk Producers will donate milk to benefit the Tarrant Area Food Bank in Fort Worth, TX and the Houston Food Bank in Houston, TX. Transportation will be donated by Quickway Carriers.
The program is further enhanced by Kroger\’s Centennial Dairy partnership in Atlanta, GA with Dairy Farmers of America, to direct 24,000 half-gallons of milk to support health care workers and first responders in Augusta, Macon, and Savannah, GA during the pandemic over the next month. Kroger kicked off the Great Georgia Give milk donation campaign in Metro Atlanta last week with Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary W. Black.
\”With so many families struggling with unemployment and food insecurity today, providing access to fresh, nutrient-rich milk has never been more important,\” said Blake Thompson, chief supply chain officer, Feeding America. \”Kroger\’s Dairy Rescue Program is keeping America\’s farmers productive, avoiding unnecessary food waste, and helping families in need.\”
New categories of commodities are driving impressive growth in private brand purchases during the COVID-19 crisis. Shoppers aren’t stopping at traditional entry points like milk, bread and eggs, but are adding vitamins, flour and breakfast mixes to their carts. Are retailers prepared to make this new dynamic last?
Forced trial led 38 million new grocery and OTC shoppers to buy private brands in the seven weeks since March 1st. Instead of shifting back to brand names as store shelves restocked, 29% have already returned to buy private brands again, Catalina’s Buyer Intelligence Database shows.
What once looked like lockdown-induced, short-term spikes are evolving into an extended buying pattern. Private brand dollar share surged from 12.9% to 14.7% during stockpiling in mid-March and is now settling at a new plateau of 14.0%. New shoppers to private brands are spending an average of $12.99 per trip on these products for the seven-week period beginning March 1.
To discover the specific catalyst of this trend that was prompted by homebound living, we zeroed in on products in three categories: vitamins, baking and breakfast. Each offers insight for retailers looking to boost their private brands’ basket size.
Getting and staying healthy People are hypervigilant about their health now and are looking for simple, proactive ways to embrace wellness. Essential vitamins, minerals and supplements are one way that shoppers are looking to boost their immune systems due to the COVID threat. Data shows shoppers are finding such products are a low-risk entry point to private brand. Labels, pill counts, and potency are easy to compare across brands. While the entire category has seen hefty sales increases (up to 189%) versus last year, private brand lift is 26% higher than name brand lift during stockpiling for the three weeks ending March 28.
Over-the-counter categories are an opportune area to earn trust with new private brand shoppers. Private brands can use simple “compare and save” messaging to educate shoppers about the product quality at a low price. Building trust in this category may create a halo effect on shoppers more willing to try higher risk categories such as baby and pet.
Seeking comfort Baking has become a panacea for these times. It’s a low-cost way to fill time, channel creativity and feed the family economically.
Baking includes a lot of commodity products such as flour, sugar and flavor extracts that typically have little to no distinction in ingredient quality or composition from name brands. Because they are primarily recipe ingredients instead of the main attraction, they are another low-risk category that’s enticing new private brand buyers. During the two major stock-up weeks ending March 21, sale of flour increased 142%, with an average lift 35% higher for private brands than name brands.
New shoppers in your baking aisle create an opportunity to educate shoppers about the breadth of brand categories across the store.
The new breakfast table Until recently, breakfast was gravitating toward grab-and-go items, but now consumers are cooking this meal at home before multi-tasking between Zoom calls and home-schooling kicks in. For retailers, breakfast may be the most likely mealtime to win with private brands. It’s already full of low-risk products like milk, bread and eggs that have long been staple private brand categories.
Pancake and waffle mixes are commodity-plus products that are enjoying a renaissance. Previously stagnant, sales of these mixes have shot up, with private brands posting an average lift 84% higher than name brands during stockpiling the three weeks ending March 28 with a peak of 287% lift during the week ending March 21.
Think of the pancake as a center-of-the-plate item that may bring along other complementary opportunities to encourage promotion of private brands as a meal solution. By adding juice, syrup, meat products, and even coffee, you can bring together a quality meal solution for the private brand-curious in a value-driven way.
There is now enough weekly data for retailers to see how these new commodity-driven buyers behave differently than the average pre-COVID-19 private brand shopper. Capitalize on this free trial period that’s normally part of a costly conversion. Moving forward:
Understand the buyer profiles of your brands and categories to identify scaled segments.
Engage shoppers in a relationship with a reward or value to purchase again ahead of the next buying cycle.
Look for ways to effectively manage future inventory to keep these new buyers interested.
Start to prepare campaigns that will hold their loyalty when name brands unleash their trade dollars later this year.
About Wes Bean
Wes Bean oversees Catalina’s global retail network and is an expert on private brand strategies. He brings vision, strategic insight, and an analytical focus to the buyer intelligence company’s offerings and partnerships. Was has held several leadership positions at Walmart and led Southeastern Grocers’ private brand business. He also has extensive global experience, working in more than 20 international markets.