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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According to Lebensmittel Zeitung, Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd in Germany are set to align the sourcing of their private label brands by the end of 2020.

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Canada’s leading food retailer, Loblaw, has launched several new plant-based products as part of its President’s Choice private label range.

Strong on-shelf identity

The new range covers several different product categories including frozen desserts and meat-less burgers. Using a green design concept, which incorporates a new ‘Plant-Based’ leaf logo, the products can be easily identified on-shelf. The products sit within its President’s Choice range, which is Canada’s largest food brand. The launch reflects Loblaw’s innovative approach to private label development and forms part of its broader PC Insiders Collection summer campaign.

Source: IGD Research

Growing consumer demand

Plant-based products have been gaining significant traction with both consumers. In North America, BeyondMeat has emerged as one of the fastest growing companies in the segment. Several retailers have been running in-store campaigns to highlight the availability of the company’s products within their stores. BeyondMeat, along with one of its key competitors, Impossible Foods, have also signed several restaurant and food-to-go partnerships, including with leading burger chains A&W and Burger King, as demand for their products has grown.

Growing focus for food retailers

Retailers have been quick to respond to this. In addition to Loblaw, several other retailers have launched new ranges. UK-based Sainsbury’s added several products to its ‘Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg!’ private label range earlier this year. M&S has launched a 60-product range of plant-based meals, snacks and ingredients under the Plant Kitchen brand. This new range was developed to make plant-based food more exciting. Last year, Aldi in the US launched a new range of products under the Earth Grown brand. The meat-free range also includes several vegan products. Over the next 12 months, we expect this to be an area of growing focus for retailers as the trend becomes much more established.

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

Consolidating existing ranges

Albertsons is updating the branding for its Signature Select range as it adds more than 300 new products. The retailer is consolidating several existing ranges including Signature Kitchens, Signature Home, refreshe, and The Snack Artist as part of the relaunch. This will grow the Signature Select range into a portfolio of over 2,400 products. Although this remains more of a premium-focused brand, its expansion positions it as a more mainstream option across most categories. Signature Reserve takes on the mantle of being the premium brand.

Source: Albertsons

New identify provides design flexibility

Albertsons is also introducing a new design for the brand which will provide it with flexibility in the packaging architecture in each category. Going forward, products in each category will adopt their own look and feel but feature the Signature Select tag. This will ensure that a consistent brandmark is present across the entire range. In addition to Signature Select, the retailer will continue to offer products under the Signature Reserve, Signature Café, Signature Farms and Signature Care brands.

Billion-dollar brands

Albertsons has grown the Signature Select brand into one of its four one-billion dollar brands, along with Open Nature, O Organics and Lucerne. The retailer significantly improved its capabilities in this area following the acquisition of Safeway; all these brands were originally part of the Safeway portfolio. With sales penetration of around 20%, the retailer will be aiming to move this higher and reflect some of its best performing categories, where penetration exceeds 50%.

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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.

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