Albertsons Cos. is adopting Signature Select as the master label for its Signature product family, the largest in its Own Brands portfolio.
With the move, announced Wednesday, Albertsons will rebrand Signature Farms, Signature Cafe and Signature Care products with the Signature Select label, which now sports a new, modern logo and refreshed packaging. Just one Signature sub-brand—Signature Reserve, a premium “top shelf” label—will retain its current branding.
Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons said it has already begun the rebranding to Signature Select across its base of stores, including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s and other supermarket banners. Plans call for the transition to wrap up early next year.
The Signature brand family has grown to more than 9,000 products since its inception in 2016 and now generates over $8.9 billion in sales annually, according to Albertsons.
“Signature Select is our flagship brand, offering shoppers an incomparable assortment of quality products at an incredible value,” Jennifer Saenz, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at Albertsons Cos., said in a statement. “We are incredibly proud of our Signature family of brands and by bringing these sub-brands together under one name, we are building greater brand recognition, driving brand loyalty and creating customers for life.”
Albertsons expects the brand consolidation to help shoppers more easily identify the Signature Select name throughout the store. Currently, Signature Select spans more than 8,000 items, including packaged salads, ice cream, frozen pizza, coffee, paper goods, pasta, snacks, canned vegetables and fruit as well as ground beef, pork and chicken. Joining that product roster will be Signature Farms’ fresh poultry and produce, Signature Cafe’s deli items and Signature Care’s personal and baby care products.
The Signature brand arose from the 2016 merger of Albertsons and Safeway that formed Albertsons Cos. Safeway had sold products under the “S” brand— including milk, bread, ice cream, coffee, jelly, soft drinks, lunch meat, canned fruit and vegetables, frozen food and paper products—since the 1960s, Albertsons reported. The brand remained a staple for Safeway until 2012, when the supermarket chain retired the “S” private label and merged its products under the Safeway Kitchens, Safeway Farms, Safeway Home and Safeway Care brands, which later became the Signature brands.
To support the brand shift to Signature Select, Albertsons said it has launched a summer marketing campaign “to build an emotional connection with customers.” Appearing in print, social, online and streaming channels, the multimedia initiative (see video above) plays off the “Signature” name in scenes and images from family cookouts and backyard brunches to summer treats to highlight how Signature Select “elevates everyday life” with convenient, affordable product options to national brands across the store, without sacrificing taste or quality, the retailer said. Signature Select items carry a 100% satisfaction guarantee, enabling dissatisfied customers to receive a full refund.
“When developing the marketing campaign to accompany our expanded Signature Select flagship brand, we knew we wanted to celebrate the brand’s virtues of quality, taste, value and convenience,” according to Brandon Brown, senior vice president of Own Brands at Albertsons Cos. “Our Signature creative showcases warm, welcoming scenes that puts the Signature Select brand at the center of life’s moments. We’re creating an emotional connection with our customer and showing her how everyday occasions can have their own signature flavor and style.”
Albertsons’ Signature brand realignment and update comes after the company announced refreshes of its Open Nature and O Organics brands in March. An Albertsons-commissioned survey of about 2,000 U.S. adults, conducted earlier this month, found that 46% now buy more store-brand products than they did previously, while 47% purchase the same amount of these items. The top reasons that respondents cited for buying private brands were price (51%), quality (27%) and availability (26%), with many also writing in “taste” as a key factor in choosing the store brand.
Signature Select and Signature Cafe are among Albertsons’ billion-dollar own brands, which also include O Organics and Lucerne. Open Nature was projected to join the billion-dollar club by the end of 2022. Albertsons’ portfolio of about a dozen private brands also includes Waterfront Bistro, Primo Taglio, Debi Lilly Design, Value Corner, Soleil and ReadyMeals. The Own Brands portfolio encompasses more than 14,000 items and generated sales of more than $16.5 billion in fiscal 2022, when 375 new items were added.
On the private-label front, Albertsons and merger partner The Kroger Co. will have some difficult decisions to make if their $24.6 billion deal—in which Kroger plans to acquire Albertsons—gains approval from regulators. For instance, O Organics competes directly with Kroger’s 10-year-old Simple Truth brand, which generates more than $3 billion in annual sales and includes 1,500-plus items. Kroger describes Simple Truth as “America’s No. 1 Organic & Free From Brand,” with over 30 million households—more than half of Kroger customers—shopping the brand each year.