With an eye on growing penetration of private brands as a means to better meet the changing demands of its shoppers, ShopRite is radically refashioning its private label strategy behind the launch two new store brands: Bowl & Basket and Paperbird, which combine value and innovation with a distinct and modern brand style.
The two brands are launching this month with about 100 products, expanding to 300 by the end of the year and more than 3,500 by the end of 2021, according to Wakefern, the Keasbey, N.J.-based cooperative wholesaler made up of ShopRite store owners. Those items will gradually replace counterparts under the ShopRite, ShopRite Trading Co. and Cape Gourmet brands as the company reinvents a core private label that its customers trusted but didn’t always buy, officials said.
“When you look at a retailer of our dimension and size we are very much underpenetrated vs. the rest of the market in own brands,” Will Magistrelli, director of innovation for own brands at Wakefern, told WGB in a recent interview. He said the company envisions the new products will help it get to about 30% penetration overall, bringing ShopRite in line with competitors and peers.
Photograph courtesy of ShopRite
Magistrelli said he was part of a division created about 18 months ago to drive new growth of private brands. “Our focus is to excite and delight the customers with a whole new quality, a whole new price strategy, a whole new marketing approach,” he said, including what he described as “marketing and packaging elevation we’ve never before seen in the marketplace.”
Laura Kind, director of brand marketing and packaging for the group, said consumer research into ShopRite’s store brand items indicated shoppers on the whole were satisfied with the quality of the items but not their look or the message they sent. Some consumers, she said, wouldn’t buy the brand. Others who did were hiding it in their baskets and pantries.
“If the marketing vehicle, the packaging that the consumer is seeing, does not entice them to purchase it or eat it, then we as a retailer are at a disadvantage,” Kind told WGB. “Those statements reaffirmed the path we were going down, which is to say that not only should the product inside be the highest quality at the lowest price, but consumers should feel good about it.”
Bowl & Basket is a tiered label with core and specialty labels across food categories to be marketed behind the slogan “For Life’s Recipe.” Paperbird’s household items are designed, the company said, “to look as good as they clean,” and offer consumers a message that they can “clean in peace.”
For Bowl & Basket, “it was important to bring forward quality, freshness, the ingredients, the taste level—all of the components integral to a food brand,” Kind said. Paperbird is about “bringing whimsy and voice to a somewhat dull category” of household goods, she said.
Chris Skyers, VP of own brands for Wakefern, said new product introductions come “at a transformational moment” for ShopRite as it acknowledges progress by competitors and a changing consumer.
“Aldi, Lidl, Trader Joe’s—they have products of great quality. It’s not a white box with no frills. They have great foods that are on-trend, and that’s been a major change. The consumer’s mindset has also shifted to where ... they are more willing to try retailer own brands and fall in love with those brands," Skyers said.
“At ShopRite, our core purpose is to care deeply about our shoppers, and if we truly are, then we need to be moving with them along this journey as well,” Skyers added. “By providing them this amazing portfolio of high-quality, great-cost products, we think we are meeting their needs at the moment they need us the most.”