Albertsons Cos. has launched a new look for its Open Nature own brand and added a dozen new plant-based products to the better-for-you grocery label.
In revamping the Open Nature logo, which made its debut on Thursday, Albertsons went with a simpler, serene design sporting large lowercase letters atop green leaves—eschewing the oval boundary of the 2018 and 2011 versions, which were color-filled, used capital letters and featured a farmhouse icon. The original 2011 logo also included “100% natural” beneath the brand name.
Open Nature brand premiered in 2011 with more than 100 products, with the first items to hit shelves including fresh beef and pork, fresh chicken, chicken sausages, bacon and beef hot dogs. Today, Open Nature encompasses over 500 products in 100-plus categories, including nonfood items like paper towels made from recycled paper and industrially compostable cutlery.
Albertsons noted that Open Nature is targeted at health-conscious shoppers seeking a more balanced lifestyle. To that end, the brand is positioned to provide products made with “thoughtfully chosen ingredients” that are free from unnecessary additives and carry an affordable price, the company said.
“Research has shown that more Americans are adopting better-for-you eating patterns as a means for protecting their long-term health and preventing future health conditions. As we continue to innovate and grow our portfolio, we want to ensure that our customers have diverse options, high-quality products and thoughtfully chosen ingredients at accessible prices,” Brandon Brown, senior vice president of own brands at Albertsons Cos., said in a statement. “The expansion of our Open Nature offerings demonstrates an ongoing commitment to support the health and well-being of our neighbors and communities.”
The 12 new Open Nature plant-based items include dairy-free coconut yogurts (in vanilla, strawberry, raspberry and mango flavors), nondairy cream cheese (original and chives-and-onion varieties), nondairy shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese blend, nondairy oat frozen desserts (vanilla bean, peanut butter “chocolaty” chip and “chocolaty” peanut butter pretzel flavors) and nondairy almond frozen desserts (cherry maximum fudge moose tracks and caramel macchiato varieties).
Albertsons said the new Open Nature plant-based products are now available at its namesake supermarkets as well as at Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Acme and Shaw’s stores.
In another lineup update, Open Nature now offers 100% domestic-raised, grass-fed Angus beef, which Albertsons said makes the brand one of the largest private-label domestic grass-fed programs in the nation. The Angus cattle sourced for the beef line are all pasture-raised on U.S. family farms, certified humane, and free from antibiotics or added hormones, according to the retailer.
The Albertsons Own Brands portfolio spans more than 14,000 items and generated sales of over $15.3 billion in fiscal 2021, when 837 new items were added. The company reported fiscal 2022 third-quarter results in January but gave no private-label update.
Albertsons’ roster of about a dozen private brands is led by the Signature product family—including the Signature Select, Signature Reserve, Signature Farms, Signature Cafe and Signature Care—as well as O Organics, Open Nature and Lucerne. Of those labels, four are billion-dollar brands: Lucerne, O Organics, Signature Select and Signature Cafe. Open Nature was projected to join that club by the end of 2022. The portfolio also includes the brands Waterfront Bistro, Primo Taglio, Debi Lilly Design, Value Corner, Soleil and ReadyMeals.
Going forward, some hard decisions are likely to be made with Albertsons’ own brands. The company’s $24.6 billion deal to be acquired by The Kroger Co., announced Oct. 14, would merge two supermarket private-brand giants. If the transaction is approved by regulators, the combined company would field a combined private-label portfolio of 34,000 products across more than 30 brands. That could mean some duplication and the need to identify labels to keep and discontinue—including power brands—to gain efficiencies from the merger. For example, Kroger offers Simple Truth and Home Chef in the better-for-you and meal solutions arenas, while Albertsons offers O Organics and ReadyMeals.