The Fresh Market is taking a different tack as it expands its roster of store-brand products.
Instead of merchandising private-label items in value tiers as alternatives to national brands, The Fresh Market said it “curates categories” by serving up the best offerings in terms of quality, variety and exclusivity. The Greensboro, N.C.-based specialty grocer now carries more than 1,500 private-brand SKUs across perishable and non-perishable grocery categories.
“Consumers typically view store brands as generic versions of well-known brand names, but it is the opposite with The Fresh Market,” according to Michelle Beck, director of private label at The Fresh Market. “For us to put our name on a product, it has to be better than the best-selling brand in that category.”
To that end, The Fresh Market said its merchandisers scour food trade shows, track industry and trend data, and work closely with vendors to curate — and create — the best products within their categories. Items fall under three segments: Everyday Extraordinary, Signature and Seasonal (or limited-time offerings).
Everyday Extraordinary products exceed the benchmark comparison brand by at least one attribute, such as quality of ingredients, flavor variety and taste, the retailer said. New Everyday Extraordinary items under The Fresh Market label include potato chips in Sea Salt, Sour Cream and “all dressed” (barbecue, ketchup, sour cream and onion, and salt and vinegar) flavors; sulfate-free hand soaps and lotions with all-natural essential oils; organic peanut butter in original roast and dark roast varieties; and peanut butter cookies (vanilla cookies with a peanut butter filling enrobed in a rich milk chocolate).
Signature store-brand items, meanwhile, are highly curated, premium or proprietary to The Fresh Market, the supermarket chain said. Examples include NomNom Salsa made by a local vendor in Georgia, cheddar cheese straws and toffee made in North Carolina New offerings imported from Italy include frozen pizza with a stone-baked crust, aextra-virgin olive oil, artisan bronze-cut pasta, panettone and gelato.
Seasonal products include The Fresh Market flavored coffee, snack mixes and cookies. This fall, for instance, the retailer is offering more than 60 pumpkin-flavored items, ranging from pasta sauce, salsa, coffee and cookies to hot cocoa, snack mixes, yogurt-covered pretzels and bakery items.
“I love developing cool, delicious specialty products for our guests,” Beck commented. “I am really excited about some of our new limited-time items that are based on the latest flavor trends.”
In support of its curated private-label approach, The Fresh Market also has updated its store-brand packaging to reflect the latest improvements and provide a more contemporary look.
“Our team updated private label with a design system that would provide a consistent look and feel across all our product categories without having them adhere to a rigid template,” explained Bryan Bowers, creative director at The Fresh Market. “We wanted these products to stand out within their category while also supporting our updated brand look.”
Overall, The Fresh Market operates 160 fresh-focused supermarkets in 22 states.