• Home
  • >
  • Focus
  • Specialty Grocers Look to Private Label for Growth

Specialty Grocers Look to Private Label for Growth

Natural Grocers launched a line of premium quality private label products. The line includes over 35 different new items across 10 categories.

“Our name has been defining the highest quality standards in the natural foods industry since before it was really an industry, so when it comes time to put our name on products, only the highest quality products will do, and we make sure that they are priced so that everyone can afford them, said Kemper Isely, Natural Grocers Co-President.

The Natural Grocers Brand product lineup includes organic pasta sauce, organic olive oil, organic preserves, organic bread, organic apple cider vinegar, organic tortilla chips, organic taco shells, organic canned tomatoes, organic canned beans and organic canned vegetables, organic maple syrup, organic and fair-trade coffee and organic frozen fruits are expected to be released in November.

Other items such as organic and 100% grass-fed cheese, organic and free-trade chocolate, organic coconut milk, 100% grass-fed beef jerky and organic frozen vegetables are expected to be in stores in 2019.

Research consultancy Magid’s newly released report, Consumer Attitudes Toward Private Label, shows consumers expressed loyalty for specific private label grocery brands, many similar to Natural Grocers’ new line of products.

Trader Joe’s has seen great success in private label goods. More than half of U.S. consumers – 56% – would consider purchasing private label grocery products from Trader Joe’s, according to Magid’s report, because of the specialty retailer’s established reputation within the category. The store’s success can be attributed to the perception that it provides unique, trendy products that are ahead of national brands. The report noted that adding copies of national brand products can lower consumers’ overall evaluation of the retailer, particularly among Millennials.

Following Trader Joe’s, consumers expressed the most interest in private label grocery items from Meijer and Aldi, at 55% each. Private label groceries from Publix, Kroger, and Costco each receive top marks from 53% of the respondents.

Among big-box retailers, Walmart and Sam’s Club were more popular with consumers, with 51% open to private label grocery products from both. In contrast, 46% were willing to consider buying private label groceries from Target.

“Private label provides the single strongest level retailers can utilize to keep consumers engaged in an age of increased competition where differentiation matters more than ever,” said Matt Sargent, Magid’s SVP of retail.

“However, it is important that retailers position their private label offerings as either ‘unique’ or ‘cost savings,’ as anything that comes off as inauthentic comes off the wrong way among consumers.”

Natural Grocers is adhering to this by keeping its products affordable, as well as characterizing its products. To highlight the differentiators of a few of the new private label items, the premium organic pasta sauce is made with heirloom tomatoes from plants that haven’t been altered for generations and with no added sugars. The organic extra-virgin olive oil has not been blended with any other type of oil or treated with heat or chemicals. The preserves use a family recipe dating back to the 1800’s and are made in small batches.

“We want products that represent our values: hormone and antibiotic-free meats; pasture based dairy; pasture-raised eggs; no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, sweeteners, hydrogenated oils or partially hydrogenated oils and non-GMO,” said Isely.

For the full story, go to this week’s Food Institute Report.