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Customers help Albertsons redesign Open Nature brand

New look ‘relied heavily’ on consumer insights, retailer says

Albertsons Cos. enlisted the input of customers in redesigning its Open Nature natural brand.

Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons said it “relied heavily” on customer and consumer insights during the redesign. Customers were invited to build their “ideal natural brand,” including the logo and the aesthetics of the package design.

Thousands of customers participated, and the retailer said its own-brands fielded suggestions over a six-month period.

Dubbed “Green Farm,” the winning design is now on all of the more than 450 Open Nature products across Albertsons Cos.’ 17 grocery banners, which encompass 2,300 stores in 38 states and the District of Columbia.

“This new look reflects what customers have always loved about Open Nature: high quality and minimally processed products that support a clean lifestyle for the whole family,” Geoff White, president of own brands at Albertsons Cos., said in a statement. “We are thrilled to have the new design fully rolled out across all of our trusted Open Nature products.”

Completion of the brand redesign caps off a marketing push for Open Nature in July. During the month, Albertsons ran promotions for established and new Open Nature items, all of which are free from 110 ingredients such as antibiotics, MSG-type ingredients, nitrates, and preservatives like sulfites and benzoates.

Albertsons plans to roll out over 240 new Open Nature products by the end of 2018. With the releases, the company has also expanded the brand into non-food categories, including pet, baby and Safer Choice Certified house cleaning products.

“We expect Open Nature to be our next billion-dollar brand,” White noted.

In a mid-May investor presentation, Albertsons reported that the natural and organic category has grown 19% over the past three years, with an annual growth rate of 7.8%. The category’s sales penetration across the store is 12.3%, up nearly 1% year over year. The retailer’s own-brand penetration in natural and organic stands at about 22%.

Open Nature is slated to include 700 items in 108 categories by the year’s end and is projected to become a billion-dollar brand by 2022. O Organics, which became a billion-dollar brand in November 2017, comprises more than 1,000 items and is expected to include 1,400 items in 192 categories by the end of 2018.

Albertsons has said it aims to launch almost 1,400 new own-brand products this year, twice as many as introduced in 2017. New products are planned throughout the private-label portfolio, which besides Open Nature and O Organics includes the brands Lucerne, Signature, Waterfront Bistro, Value Corner, Primo Taglio and debi lilly design.

Earlier this month, Albertsons and Instacart launched O Organics Market, a virtual store showcasing the grocer’s organic and natural private brands. Offerings include items from O Organics and Open Nature and products from other brands.

Open Nature is part of Albertsons Companies’ portfolio of exclusive Own Brands, which includes the Signature family of brands, O Organics, and Lucerne. Together, Albertsons Companies’ Own Brands products achieved more than $11 billion in sales in fiscal year 2017.

Private label penetration also rose 56 basis points to 24% in the first quarter. This year, Albertsons plans more than 400 new own-brand products, led by its billion-dollar O Organics label.

TAGS: Marketing
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