Supervalu Launches Private Label Organics/Natural Line

Discussion
Apr 10, 2008

By George Anderson

Supervalu has joined Safeway, Kroger, Publix, et al. to become the latest mainline grocer to announce it was coming out with its own line of natural/organic food products under the Wild Harvest brand.

Now that the chain has joined its competitors in going the natural products route, the question is whether the Wild Harvest offering will propel them ahead in the battle for consumer dollars.

Duncan MacNaughton, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing for Supervalu, told Forbes.com, “Significant research and consumer insight went into the development of the brand, which has enabled us to create a highly desirable offering that speaks directly to consumers’ desire for fresh, wholesome and affordable foods that help them live a healthier lifestyle.”

The line will initially include approximately 150 items and eventually fill out to encompass up to 300 products across the store. Supervalu has said the Wild Harvest line will be priced at roughly 15 percent lower than comparable branded items.

“With the Wild Harvest brand, we’re focused on helping consumers ‘organify their world’ by delivering a wide assortment of affordable, fresh, healthy and wholesome foods at their primary grocery shopping destination,” said Adam Graham, Wild Harvest brand manager, in a company press release.

“Now, the entire family meal can be organic – at a lower cost – from products conveniently available at a local Supervalu-owned supermarket,” he added.

Discussion Questions: Is Supervalu too late to the natural/organic store brand party to gain market share? Are there banners operated by Supervalu that are a better or worse fit for the Wild Harvest line?

[Author’s note: Supervalu has said that the Wild Harvest line will debut in the following banners beginning this month: Acme, Albertsons, bigg’s, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher’s, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw’s/Star Market, Shop ‘n Save and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy.]

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15 Comments on "Supervalu Launches Private Label Organics/Natural Line"


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Mark Lilien
Guest
14 years 1 month ago

Supervalu has no downside risk adding an organic private label line. It’s so late to the party that it’s not innovative at all. Wild Harvest is such a similar name to Wild Oats, and it sounds like a totally innocuous generic offering. Fifteen years ago this would’ve been a gutsy move. This isn’t necessarily meant as a criticism: maybe the most conservative supermarket folks are the smartest.

Ed Dennis
Guest
Ed Dennis
14 years 1 month ago

Organic is mainstream. Supervalue wouldn’t be doing this if they didn’t have a reasonable expectation that consumer preferences can drive volume line. The Whole Foods/Wild Oats niche still exists but like any other growing preference, it spills over into the main stream. Main stream grocers are reacting and filling a need.

It isn’t often that the main stream grocers pioneer new categories and I really don’t think that’s their job. At this point in time I would be thrilled if my main stream grocer could get good produce in the store so I wouldn’t have to stop at the farmers market to get it (farmers market in name only, everything there is purchased from a produce supply house).

W. Frank Dell II, CMC
Guest
14 years 1 month ago

Supervalu is late to the party, but not too late. As organic/natural product sales continue to grow their stores and customers should capture some of the sales. The Whole Foods purchase of Wild Oats must have been in part due to the understanding that traditional supermarkets were adding organic products.

The future growth potential has been significantly reduced due to the larger playing creating the Private Label organic products. It also keeps their customer from having the need to shop at Whole Foods. Better late than never.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
14 years 1 month ago

Phrases like “There’s a sucker born every minute” and “It’s impossible to underestimate the intelligence of the public” come to mind. Supermarket chains have had some luck with so-called “natural” and “organic” private label products, so Supervalu’s clients are asking for something to help them compete. Can’t blame them. In the supermarket bidness it’s hard to avoid getting swept up in phony trends like Generics, the Atkins Diet, COOL, and carbohydrate avoidance. They flare brightly for a while and then fade, leaving only reams of unused packaging and labels behind. Because there is no proof that either “natural” or “organic” products are better for our bodies or the environment, purveyors of these products must rely upon the kindness (or ignorance) of strangers.

Lee Peterson
Guest
14 years 1 month ago

Having your own organic label makes good business sense, and it’s just plain good to do. Supervalu will succeed with this out of necessity in the same way they would fail if they didn’t do it…it’s a market driven necessity, not really a choice.

Of course, like anything else, if they don’t execute, there’s much less likelihood of it succeeding. Safeway’s O label’s the best emulator out there at the moment.

Julie Parrish
Guest
Julie Parrish
14 years 1 month ago

There are people who are really loyal to Supervalu/Albertsons. For consumers who are looking to transition to a green lifestyle but don’t want to run around to multiple stores, this will be an easy switch for consumers.

As someone who watches and tracks retail grocery prices, the Wild Harvest line also seems to be a better value than the Safeway O line, so they might see some green shoppers slide over to try the products. Now, let’s hope the taste is there because the Safeway Eating Right line is really not that palatable.

Joel Warady
Guest
Joel Warady
14 years 1 month ago
Supervalu’s launch of Wild Harvest is certainly not too late. The organic market continues to grow, and there remains a huge opportunity for retailers to add skus in this category. Every retailer has Whole Foods in their sights, and they see adding an organics line to their product mix as a quick fix. So are they too late? No. However, a different question is whether or not the Wild Harvest line of products will matter. Retailers can’t think that simply by adding a product line of 150 skus will turn their chain into a Whole Foods alternative. The products have to be certified, the packaging needs to be green, the stores need to be in line with sustainable living and the LOHAS community, etc. In essence, it has to be a cultural change within the chain, and adding a PL product line that happens to be organic is not the simple fix. I would not bet my money on this product line being a success…it will most likely go the way of low carb items… Read more »
Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
14 years 1 month ago

The organic party is just getting started and its about time Supervalu got into the game. Having the organics under its own banner is critical to the success of the line.

We want customers to realize that these products are separate from the house brand and the associated discount mentality consumers have towards private label. Shoppers Drug Mart has rolled out their own line of organics under the Nativa label and it has been wildly successful but they were careful to not put it under their own Life brand label because of the cost comparisons that consumers make versus the national brand.

Private label organics should stand alone on the shelf.

Max Goldberg
Guest
14 years 1 month ago

It’s not too late for Supervalu to launch organics; in fact, to be competitive, it needed to make this move. As this forum has questioned in the past, how long will the organics “revolution” continue? Will it be long-term or go the way of Atkins and other diet programs?

Justin Time
Guest
14 years 1 month ago

Every grocery chain that is serious about fresh, is required to have an organic line. Supervalu is just another chain jumping on the bandwagon.

Next up will be Great A&P, which mentioned at its last conference call that it would also be announcing new private label offerings.

This gives the shopper a great way to experience a whole range of organic products at incredible savings. Offering private label organics is a win-win situation for both the retailer and the consumer.

Dick Seesel
Guest
14 years 1 month ago

It’s not too late for Supervalu, although they trailed behind their competitors on this one. The organic/natural food movement is clearly a mainstream trend, not a fad. Since they operate stores under many different banners nationwide (unlike competitors like Kroger and Publix), it presents a challenge: Will Supervalu position Wild Harvest as a true brand (not just a store private-label) and put some marketing muscle behind it to establish its credibility?

Li McClelland
Guest
Li McClelland
14 years 1 month ago

Probably a necessary long term competitive move, but I question the wisdom on the timing of the launch. When so many shoppers are currently dealing with food cost inflation shock and actively looking for ways to reduce their grocery spending, is another premium priced product going to appeal right now? I dunno.

Alison Chaltas
Guest
Alison Chaltas
14 years 1 month ago

It is certainly not too late for Supervalu to drive organics. While their SunFlower Stores were not “successful,” Supervalu certainly learned from the effort. While the jury is still out on how well organics is doing in any traditional grocer compared to Whole Foods, Supervalu is clearly applying lessons learned from the past experience into organics plus. While their products are good, their marketing is fantastic!

Supervalu’s shopper base is more likely than most to respond positively to the effort. We bet they succeed in building a strong organics business that also build their “traditional” categories.

Warren Thayer
Guest
14 years 1 month ago

Overdue, but better late than never. Duncan’s smart; he’ll help make things happen. The question now is not whether or not “organic and natural” is a fad. (If so, it’s one of the longest fads out there, having been been around since at least the 60s.) Over the last few decades, little empires have been built on this “fad.” The real question today is how much further it can penetrate into the mainstream, and where it might mutate as new (and unpredictable) medical research continues to take hold.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
14 years 1 month ago

Food retailers today believe there’s a wild harvest to be reaped in organics. So why shouldn’t Supervalu participate?

It’s not too late for SVU…but it’s later than the competition.

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