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Albertsons grows Open Nature with more eco-friendly products

Line expansion supports own-brand, sustainability efforts

Albertsons Cos. has added 17 compostable and Earth-friendly items to its Open Nature private brand.

The Boise, Idaho-based grocer said Tuesday that the new products include eco-friendly picnic wares — plates, bowls, cutlery, straws and cold and hot cups — as well as garbage bags, lawn and leaf bags, food scrap bags, bamboo facial tissue, bamboo washable rayon towels and bamboo bath tissue.

Sustainability attributes for the new Open Nature offerings include tree-free, BPA-free, plastic-free and plant-based.

Albertsons said the picnic wares and bags are made of plant-based material and certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute. Plans call for more compostable products to be added to the Open Nature roster in coming months.

Meanwhile, Albertsons noted that the new facial and bathroom tissue and washable towels are sustainable because they’re made from bamboo — not a tree but a grass, which is more easily renewable, takes up less land, uses less water and requires no pesticides to grow. Bamboo also reduces soil erosion and greenhouse gases and captures more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than trees or cotton, the company said.

In addition, the Open Nature bamboo washable rayon towels can be rinsed and reused up to 100 times, and the facial and bath tissue have no added fragrance.

Albertsons said customers can identify the compostable products by the circular green leaf on the label. A similar green icon with the word “bamboo” is on each of the bamboo items.

“The driving belief behind our Open Nature brand is that people want high-quality, minimally processed products that are carefully crafted using thoughtfully chosen materials you can trust,” Geoff White, president of own brands at Albertsons Cos., said in a statement. “That’s why our customers will love these new Open Nature items. They know that a product’s lasting effects extend beyond its performance and value. They care deeply about its impact on the environment.”

Recently, Albertsons’ O Organics product line added compostable coffee pods to its selection of coffee. The pod is 100% certified compostable and made from renewable, plant-based materials like corn, beets and bamboo. Flavors include Italian roast, breakfast blend and a Fair Trade Certified roastery blend.

Both O Organics and Open Nature also have expanded their sustainable offerings in the household products category. O Organics recently launched what Albertsons called one of the first private label, USDA-certified organic laundry detergents, including lavender and “free and clear” items. Open Nature offers biodegradable household cleaners packaged in containers made of post-consumer recycled materials, include all-purpose cleaner, bathroom cleaners, cleaning wipes, dish soaps and granite cleaner.

Albertsons has made private label a major strategic focus. The company planned to add nearly 1,400 new own-brand products across its store banners in fiscal 2018, double the number introduced in the previous year.

Most recently, the retailer expanded its Signature Reserve brand, launched last spring, into a half-dozen new categories. O Organics, which became a billion-dollar brand in November 2017, was projected to include 1,400 items in 192 categories by the end of 2018. Open Nature, slated to have 700 items in 108 categories by the end of last year, is expected to become a billion-dollar brand by 2022.

Other labels in Albertsons’ own-brand portfolio include Lucerne, Waterfront Bistro, Value Corner, Primo Taglio and debi lilly design. Lucerne, Signature and Signature Café also are billion-dollar brands. The company generates annual private-label sales of approximately $11 billion.

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