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PLMA 2013: On Cloud 9

Today, I met with Emma Fuerst Frelinghuysen, FreshDirect’s senior director of private brands.

While Fuerst Frelinghuysen has been with the online grocer for six years, last year she was named to the newly created private brands position specifically to create a comprehensive private-label program for the retailer.

The result is two private-label lines: “Just FreshDirect” for groceries; and “Cloud 9” for household goods.

FreshDirect is showcasing its new “Just FreshDirect” and “Cloud 9” brands in the “Idea Supermarket” section of the show floor in hopes of attracting new suppliers.

Just FreshDirect will launch next month with an initial 20 shelf stable, dairy and frozen products. Butter, unbleached flower, milk and olive oil will be among the first items. By the end of next year, the brand will grow to 150 items, including grass-fed beef jerky.

Available since last month, Cloud 9 currently consists of 14 household items, including bathroom tissue and garbage bags. The line will grow to 20 items next year. I went to the website, and found a variety of Cloud 9 items for sale, including two-ply paper towels, 3-roll package, $4.99; and two-ply bathroom tissue, 9 mega rolls, $9.99.

Both brands are big news for the company. Yes, FreshDirect markets prepared foods under its name and has a few legacy private labels. But this is its first major foray into  private-label groceries.

I met with Fuerst Frelinghuysen in the Idea Supermarket, where she showed me the product packaging, and talked about the brand development process. FreshDirect’s goal, she said, is to offer differentiated product that customers could understand and trust. To do so, Just FreshDirect foods contain wholesome ingredients.

Local sourcing is key. Area farmers and producers are clearly identified on packaging, even down to the name of the farm (Alderfer Farms in Pennsylvania) that supplies the eggs.

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