Smart Spending Attracts Loyal Consumers

Smart Spending – Most people love spending on products they trust, but are grocery stores taking over loyalty to brands? For example, Supermarkets including Kroger, Safeway and Whole Foods are improving the image of their store brands with better packaging and more distinctive offerings. But where exactly do these products come from?

It’s a question a growing number of people may have as retailers increasingly develop their store brands as a way to cultivate loyalty among shoppers.

Safeway, for example, offers versions of Doritos, Cheetos and other salty snacks. But rather than merely imitating the look of their big-name counterparts, the “Snack Artist” line comes in distinctive, earth-tone bags made to look more like a premium brand. The Safeway logo appears only a small strip at the bottom.

“In many cases, people are buying some of our brands and think it’s a national brand,” said Diane Dietz, chief marketing officer for Safeway.

The rise of store brands – known in the industry as “private-label” products – became apparent last year when ConAgra Foods Inc. said it was buying Ralcorp Holdings Inc. Although it’s not a household name, Ralcorp makes pasta, granola bars and other foods for a wide array of retailers.

ConAgra executives note that there’s still plenty of room for growth, with store brands representing just 18 percent of packaged foods in the U.S., compared with 36 percent in the United Kingdom and 44 percent in the Netherlands.

So as store brands get more attention, here’s a look at what’s behind the packaging.

To maintain the image of their store brands, supermarkets like to keep the origins a mystery.

In Florida, Publix grocery stores are following the same pattern.

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