PL Buyer: Private Label Without National Brand Counterparts
By Randy Hofbauer
Through a special arrangement, what follows is a summary
of part of a current article from Private Label Buyer, presented here
As national brands have pulled back on the number of new items
they’ve been introducing amid the downturn, there have been fewer targets from
which retailers can draw inspiration to develop their own store brand products.
But unlike years past, national brands are now not always the category leaders
store brands follow.
“Now you’re going to see more and more private brands putting
out innovative items,” said Al Greenwood, director of frozen foods, Daymon
Worldwide. “Retailers recognize this as a way to differentiate themselves
from their competition.”
Mr. Greenwood spoke as part of a roundtable discussion
Private Label to the Next Level: Where Do We Go from Here?”
Tim Sullivan, private brand product manager, Delhaize America said, it takes
a good supplier to take a risk in developing unique private label product with
no national brand counterpart.
Marc Lessard, manager of product development,
Delhaize America, gave an example of such an item developed for Delhaize’s
North American banners several years ago.
“When I was a category manager in dairy, we developed a private label
probiotic granola, and we merchandised it in the yogurt section,” he
said, pointing out that a large number of consumers who buy yogurt add items
to the product after taking it home — granola, fruit, nuts or something
“It’s about trying new items that may not necessarily have a brand
target, putting it under your own label and taking a chance on something,” said
Steve Felts, purchasing manager, Houchens Industries, also believes
in creating products with no national brand counterpart.
“When [customers] come to your location looking for your specific brand
— your specific private label — at that point in time, you’re setting
yourself apart from [other] retailers,” he said.
Mr. Felts added that
not only is it a huge compliment when a customer asks a retailer why he or
she cannot find a certain private label product at a competitor, it
also reveals the direction in which a retailer needs to head in product development.
Discussion Questions: What are the advantages and challenges in developing
store brands without a national brand counterpart? Which retailers are doing
the best job creating such distinctive private label products and why?