Hands Across the Water as Stores Share Brands

Apr 11, 2011

Different strokes or shared
tastes? Possibly with transatlantic
supermarkets using their buying power to source the same products, made with
the same formulation, no difference at all. As more supermarkets have established
relationships with partners on either side of the Atlantic, shoppers have been
able to share one another’s favorites.

Latest to land in the U.K. is Hershey’s,
now to be found in both Asda (allegedly sourcing from Walmart) and Sainsbury’s
who are dealing with a new European subsidiary established specifically to
share the love. Various Reese’s products have apparently been in Morrisons
and other stores for some time.

Just-food reports Asda’s research "has uncovered a real
sense that people want to be able to buy this well known American brand in
the U.K. and we expect a positive response."

Hot on the heels of both
kisses and bars (some of which have been re-formulated for "shoppers
not used to the distinctive taste of original Hershey’s"), The
adds, "Asda’s drive to bring U.S. products to U.K. shelves
continued … with
the roll-out of RC Cola." Future additions being considered include peanut
butter and Twinkies.

Going the other way, Tesco is sending popular British
lines to Fresh and Easy in the U.S. Our "Beanz Meanz Heinz" catchphrase
has been translated (or transported) along with such delights as Marmite and
Birds Custard to name but a few. Even "English" tea has made its
way across the pond. A spokesman emphasized to RetailWire that the store
is not specifically targeting ex-pats but is gratified to know that local residents
appreciate the opportunity to access products they purchase when visiting Britain.

familiar brands available in the U.S. or U.K., having originated in the other?
Pringles and Kettle Chips (who now share an owner), Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s.
Americans may have heard tales of English chocolate company Cadbury’s (which
also owns Green & Black, high quality organic chocolates) being taken over
by Kraft. Some of their products sold in the U.K. are heading for Walmart.

barely scraping the surface, I think we all get the picture. Mergers and acquisitions
by manufacturers are being matched by sourcing further along the supply chain.

possible this is just another example of trade barriers coming down or perhaps
it’s an indication of broader tastes that encompass both imported delicacies
as well as local produce. An American due to move to England soon recently
told me she had been advised to bring some of her favorite foods. Shocked,
I asked for particulars. Macaroni and cheese, she replied to my extreme dismay.
Not a product I would ever consider buying but, needless to say, we do have
it. Transatlantic tastes have been merging for quite a while.

Discussion questions: Will retailers’ transatlantic partnerships provide consumers with an improved selection of products? Will an exchange of brands bring international tastes closer together?

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10 Comments on "Hands Across the Water as Stores Share Brands"

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Charlie Moro
Charlie Moro
11 years 1 month ago

This is not so much an expansion of brands across countries or population bases. But this is a clear indication that the world populations are more mixed than at any time and more than likely will continue to do so. Just think about Mexican food here in the US 15 years ago or Italian food here 50 years ago, Asian and so forth. As those tastes and populations continue to mix and grow here or abroad, brands, tastes and food choices will continue to have no boundaries.

Gene Detroyer
11 years 1 month ago

This is hardly a new phenomenon. Colgate, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, McDonald’s, Chanel, Gap, Oreos, Danone, Kleenex, and even Starbucks are broadly available worldwide and have been for a long time. Cadbury has been quite famous in the U.S. for at least 50 years. (Unfortunately, there is a good chance that Kraft will destroy this wonderful product, but that was a RetailWire discussion from some time ago.)

Marketers have recognized the value of world brands for some time. A walk through a supermarket in Europe is hardly a walk into a new world for an American.

With regard to taste, what would be a tragedy would be in Europeans continued to develop the American taste for processed foods that challenges the American’s population in nutrition and health.

Ryan Mathews
11 years 1 month ago

There’s a bit more to this story than is contained here.

If one is so inclined (and brave enough) one can find Marmite on the shelves of my local, provincial Rust Belt Midwestern supermarket where it’s been available for years.

Hershey’s signed a deal with Euro Foods last August specifically aimed at increasing sales in the U.K.

I guess my point here is that some of these brands are crossing the pond at the behest of their manufacturers, not retailers. It’s clear that transatlantic retailing may facilitate transatlantic branding, but it’s important to remember that–at the mega manufacturing level–it is a truly global market so the emigration of brands will occur with or without retailer support.

David Biernbaum
11 years 1 month ago

Due largely to the internet, we now live in an international marketplace. Most brands are now international brands and this is a trend that will continue and become more evident.

W. Frank Dell II, CMC
11 years 1 month ago

This trend is not limited to transatlantic; it includes transpacific as well. Without question, U.S. brands are considered the best quality products on the market. Just look how the youth of the world follows our teen styles. Years ago we had regional retailers having close working relations with each other. Today we are seeing international retailers have a similar relationship. More of our CPG companies are expanding outside the U.S. They have the brands to introduce. The problem is not all tastes are the same around the world, so this must be considered and adjustments made. The population of transplant consumers is relatively small as are the international travelers. Over time we will see more and more transplanted brands.

Joan Treistman
11 years 1 month ago

I agree that this is not a new phenomenon. Smart marketers see growth opportunities wherever there are growth opportunities. The basic concept of starting a new product regionally and rolling it out nationally has expanded to the global roll out. It appears that some brands are catching up.

Herb Sorensen, Ph.D.
11 years 1 month ago

Barriers of all kinds are diminishing, with the internet leading the way. We ARE becoming one world, with many questions remaining as to whether the old hierarchical structures will be effective. This includes silo’ing markets by geography. Going, going…but not gone!

Cathy Hotka
11 years 1 month ago

There is a hilarious article in yesterday’s Washington Post explaining British food in advance of the royal wedding. It features pictures and descriptions of digestive biscuits, salad cream, oatcakes, treacle, roast chicken Walkers, and wine gum, all unfamiliar to Americans. We could all expand our food vocabulary.

Kai Clarke
11 years 1 month ago

As an international traveler with over 3 million miles under my belt, there are many similarities that all people share, however, there are peculiarities are still unique to each culture. Sharing our similarities should be very easy as our cultures become more global and our understanding of foreign cultures makes everything less strange and more appealing. Barriers will continue to drop to foreign exports and this in-turn will encourage more “sharing” of each culture’s favorite products.

Odonna Mathews
Odonna Mathews
11 years 1 month ago

One of the more interesting developments of our international marketplace to me is the increasing variety of private label ethnic foods. Trader Joe’s offers a full assortment of fresh, packaged and frozen Indian, Thai and Asian products as does Wegmans and many others. Store brands will continue to grow in this area.


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