Using IGD's 'Global retail trends 2019' as a framework, we explore how private label and brands are evolving and consider the implications of this.

We visited the top three discount retailers to observe what is driving the dynamic growth of the channel and to get a better understanding of their relationship with suppliers.

We take a look at the drivers of private label growth and the current trends globally.

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Albertsons is streamlining several of its existing private brands as part of the relaunch of its Signature Select brand.

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Coles has launched a new healthy living private label brand called 'Wellness Road'.

Specialist premium healthy living range

The new Wellness Road range includes 28 products such as organic flaxseed oil, organic buckwheat kernels, tiger nut flour, organic red rice noodles with Chia and textured vegetable protein. Coles has launched the range, which has premium black and gold packaging, to give health conscious shoppers a more affordable range of nutritionally conscious products. As well as affordability, the products include specialist ingredients that are not part of the Coles range currently and will appeal to a new set of shoppers.

Private label penetration and innovation a priority

Growing private label range and penetration is part of Coles' strategic objective to transform its food offer. The retailer already has specialist healthy living ranges under the Coles Simply Less and Coles Simply Gluten Free brands, however is keen to develop this area further. At its half year results, Coles announced that it had launched 700 new private label products, with penetration of private label now at 29% of sales and product innovation a real focus.

Target has introduced a new sustainability-led range of household essentials. The Everspring private brand range, consisting of around 70 products, is being launched in conjunction with Earth Day.

Retailers focusing on the environmental sustainability agenda

The launch of the brand aligns with one of our key trends for the year, ‘Doing good is good business’. We expect retailers and brands to further differentiate their offers and set higher standards on a range of sustainability-based topics. We have seen several retailers act to reduce the use of plastics, while earlier this year, Albertsons expanded its Open Nature private brand as part of its Earth Month activities. This features a range of products with environmentally friendly attributes.

Aligned with new Target Clean programme

The range includes laundry detergent, dish soap, paper towels, essential oils, candles and hand soap. The products are Target Clean compliant, the retailer’s standard for products that are formulated without specific chemicals and feature bio-based or recycled materials or natural fibres. Earlier this year, the retailer introduced the Target Clean icon on products across household essentials, beauty, personal care and beauty categories.


Source: Target

Style credentials to life through product packaging

The packaging features easy-to-understand ingredient lists and graphic icons on the front of each product. The majority of the packaging’s bottles are made up of 50% or more recycled content, including post-consumer plastic. As with last year’s launch of the Smartly range of everyday household and personal care products, the retailer has aimed to bring its style credentials to life with Everspring.

Overhauled private label programme

Private label development remains a priority for Target. Over the last two years, it’s introduced over 15 new private brands. Most of the new ranges have been focused on clothing and homewares, although last year it moved into the electronics space with the launch of the Heyday brand. Target has also introduced several digitally-native brands into its stores as part of its goal to create a more relevant and differentiated offer.

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We round up the latest news from the retailer in Europe and North America as it acquires the FoodFirst Network and offers transparency in egg sourcing in the Netherlands. Meanwhile in Belgium, Delhaize has introduced cashless shopping at its Fresh Atelier food-to-go concept, while in the US it is rolling out an AI-powered supply chain.

1. Albert Heijn acquires FoodFirst Network…

Albert Heijn has acquired the FoodFirst Network, ‘an online lifestyle platform where payment subscribers receive advice and tips in the field of nutrition, exercise, sleep and relaxation’. A press release from the retailer noted that 'the cooperation naturally also offers opportunities for special promotions for Albert Heijn customers and the 100,000 employees of Albert Heijn'.

Marit van Egmond, CEO of Albert Heijn said, ‘We want to be the supermarket that helps customers with a healthier lifestyle. For example, with the introduction of many healthy products such as recently pureed soups, with transparent information about ingredients such as sugar and fat, the introduction of a nutritional value dashboard and of course also with recipes on our various platforms’.

For more insight on how retailers and brands are inspiring shoppers to lead healthier lives, IGD Retail Analysis subscribers can access our new insight presentation, ‘Global health and wellbeing’.

Source: IGD Research

2. … As it delivers transparency in egg sourcing

In other news, Albert Heijn has made the supply chain of eggs more transparent. This applies to eggs with at least one 'Beter Leven Keurmerk' (Better Life Quality) star. This designation ‘means that the chickens can roam freely, get fresh air and sit together with fewer hens’.

How does it work?

Customers can use the unique codes on eggs to find out when the egg was laid, as well as insight on ‘poultry farming, the chickens and their stable’. Additionally they can learn about which packing stations and distribution centres the eggs have travelled through.

Source: Albert Heijn

Who has Albert Heijn partnered with to make this happen?

The retailer has collaborated with:

In related news, last year, Albert Heijn partnered with Refresco on orange juice sourcing in a similar way.

Reflecting a wider trend across Europe and beyond

Other European retailers are continuing to invest in transparency and traceability. For instance, M&S offers an interactive sourcing map, which gives customers insight on the supply chain of select fresh food and drink categories.

Blockchain is just one type of technology that retailers are using in this space. For more insight and case studies on the subject, Retail Analysis subscribers can access our exclusive insight presentation, 'Blockchain'.

Source: IGD Research

3. Delhaize Belgium introduces cashless shopping at Fresh Atelier...

Meanwhile in neighbouring Belgium, Delhaize’s Fresh Atelier food-to-go concept has launched a new scan and pay app, ‘YesWeScan’.

How does the app work?

Source: Delhaize, YouTube

  1. Customers download the app, register and then scan a QR code at the entrance of Fresh Atelier to begin shopping
  2. Items can then be added to digital shopping baskets in items in one of two ways. Either by using NFC technology linking their smartphone with the corresponding electronic shelf label or by using the app to scan barcodes on products
  3. Payment is confirmed by pressing ‘pay’, with this functionality integrated into the app. Once payment is confirmed, the app generates a QR code, which can then be scanned to exit the store. Receipts are then shared via e-mail

So what do we think?

Such apps help to streamline the customer journey, making it more efficient, convenient and environmentally friendly, having eliminated the need for paper receipts too. This innovation also demonstrates how collaborating with Albert Heijn is feeding through.

Elsewhere in the market, last year, SPAR Belgium, operated by Retail Partners Colruyt Group introduced its own cashless ‘Scan.Pay.Go’ app, which we've seen in-store too.

Looking for more insight on the new Fresh Atelier food-to-go concept? IGD Retail Analysis subscribers can access our exclusive store visit report here.

Source: IGD Research

4. ...As Ahold Delhaize US rolls out AI-powered supply chain

In North America, Ahold Delhaize is rolling out artificial intelligence to overhaul the way its US businesses order food from suppliers.

Initial focus on short life

The technology, developed by Reflex Systems will be used in Food Lion, Stop & Shop, Giant Food and Giant/Martin’s stores. The AI is designed to improve how buyers predict and aggregate demand across large numbers of stores. Initially, the roll out will focus on short shelf life products, but the technology will be used more widely in time, with the retailer planning to extend its use to longer life products later in the year.

A phased roll out

Chris Lewis, executive vice president of supply chain at Retail Business Services LLC, said the solution provides 'one logical view of inventory across the brands'. Following a pilot, a phased roll out of the solution will begin across the retailer's banners. It is expected to take three years to complete.

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