I LOVE this concept and can see it working as an additional convenience option when placed within the existing parking lots of the stores they represent as a secondary pick up/shopping point for last minute staples/meal kits/grab & go lunches, and whatnot.
I like Raley's, but find these letters more confusing than helpful. One of the most consumer-friendly ways I've seen unique labeling was at Snap Kitchen in Austin (Snap has cases in some Whole Foods). Granted Snap sells meals vs. ingredients, but their cute and intuitive icons made finding the right food for your lifestyle and diet easy. A few of the icons are at this link. This approach wouldn't work for all of grocery, but it would be nice in the prepared foods section, and could be a differentiator there.
I've seen a variety of retailers and brands pitching in -- but my favorite story has been "Mattress Mack" turning the Houston area Gallery Furniture stores into shelters and housing and feeding 400 evacuees. It's authentic and inspiring to people even out of the area.
From the focus group of one:
I'm a regular Grocery Outlet shopper. We shopped a version of this store growing up, and I always thought there was a bit of magic and excitement in what you might find. I remember finding and buying Arabic-labeled Jell-o. among other things.
I now live in the Bay Area (Peninsula) and it's the *only* grocery store I'll regularly visit. All my other shopping is done via Google Express, Instacart or Walmart Grocery delivery.
The magic of Grocery Outlet is just like TJX. It's all about the "treasure hunt." A month or so ago, I received an email from them saying they had four days of inventory of Mt. Vikos Halloumi cheese available for $3.99 for the 14 oz. package. The same size package costs $11.99 at at Mollie Stones. I hurried right over to buy it.
They regularly have things for sale from large brands that were probably tested but never rolled out on a wide scale, There are interesting packages, flavors and line extensions to see. I haven't personally encountered something too close to expiration to preclude a purchase.
The blog "Grossout Wine" about "The magical world of wines from Grocery Outlet" re-kindled my love for Grocery Outlet. I was surprised and delighted when they had Mazzocco available for $10. I'm a member of their wine club, and that price was a steal.
I'm a 40-something woman and G.O. has become a favorite with many of my college friends — it was a topic of conversation that came up recently and it seemed like we'd all recently discovered it again. The incredible bargains you can get on upmarket brands (especially with wine and cheese) make it a place worth shopping regularly.