- Albertsons has appointed Geoff White as its new president of Own Brands, according to Supermarket News.
- In the newly created position, White will lead the private label brands team, which consists of both the culinary kitchen and technical center.
- White's responsibilities include growing the development and innovation of the company’s private label products, including O Organics, Lucerne, Open Nature and Signature products.
Albertsons has been paying close attention to what’s been happening with private labels recently. The company is banking on the future of the segment by investing more heavily into this unit and naming an industry vet to a new position that can help with its efforts.
Private label brands have come a long way from the generic offerings of generations past. Growth and popularity of store brands — which rival their national counterparts in appearance, taste and packaging — is expected to continue to accelerate in the next five years. Private-label brands' annual sales comprise about $120 billion of the $725 billion for packaged goods overall, according to a January 2015 report from IRI. Nielsen calculates private-label brands' U.S. market share at about 18% of packaged food sales.
Private labels are exploring more segmentation strategies to offer multitiered price points of products, ranging from value buys to premium varieties. Albertsons’ Signature brand, which consists of more than 4,000 products, aligns with a movement among retailers to produce private-label brands that focus on consumer preferences — like trendy ingredients or attractive packaging — to better compete with large manufacturers.
Devoting too much shelf space or bandwidth to private label has possible negatives. A failed private label product means losing out on the profits that branded counterparts could have brought — and the shelf space they could have occupied. Some customers looking for particular national brands could also decide to go to another store because they couldn’t find the brands they wanted.
However, stores that are dominated by private label brands, including Trader Joe's and Aldi, have found a lot of success with those strategies. For the time being, Albertsons' investment into private label has potential to pay off in a big way — and inspire other retailers to employ similar strategies.