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Albertsons_upgraded_format-store_exterior_0_1_1_2.jpg Albertsons Cos.
These brand innovations are supported by a recent survey commissioned by Albertsons indicating that consumer demand for private label products continues to grow.

Here’s why Albertsons is consolidating its private label brands

Grocer says it has everything to do with consumers

Albertsons Companies recently announced that it would rebrand its Signature Farms, Signature Care, and Signature Cafe products under one master brand, Signature Select. The consolidation and rollout also included a new logo, packaging, and marketing campaign—which is currently underway across stores and is expected to be completed in early 2024.

These brand innovations are supported by a recent survey commissioned by Albertsons indicating that consumer demand for private label products continues to grow, with 93% of Americans embracing and expanding their purchases of store brands. 

But why consolidate and rebrand now? Albertsons VP of Own Brands Katie Ceclan told SN that the grocer is constantly looking at evolving its private-label brands in order to delight and satisfy the needs of its consumers. And while some speculate that it has something to do with preparing for the potential Albertsons/Kroger merger, Ceclan said that this decision was purely consumer-led and was in the works quite some time ago. 

This Signature Select consolidation and rebranding follows recent updates to the company’s own brands portfolio including the evolution of the O Organics brand and redesign of its Open Nature brand. 

As Albertsons surveyed and worked with consumers, Ceclan says what they heard loud and clear was that quality, value, and availability are some of the main drivers of how shoppers select private brands. And, of course, taste is a crucial factor. 

“So, what we’ve done is consolidated all of our sub-lines … and decided to put all of that under Signature Select so that we could have more brand recognition and consistency for consumers to really help build the brand and have consumers come back to us all the time,” explains Ceclan. 

Next, Albertsons focused on redesigning the brand to refresh it and make it look more modern. The new branding is present on all of its SKUs so consumers can tell that it’s all one brand. 

Lastly, the grocer decided to support the brand with a new marketing and advertising campaign. 

The multiple pieces of consolidation and redesign were done with a hybrid of partnerships (agency for packaging and agency for marketing campaign strategy), and some in-house (with an internal design and packaging team). 

Ceclan offered some lessons learned during the process: “Any time you make a change to a brand, there is always an adjustment period for customers.” So, here are two tips: 

  • At every stage of consolidation and rebranding, be sure to keep following and listening to consumers. In this case, Albertsons accomplished this through surveys with consumers to make sure the products are items they love and ones that satisfy their needs
  • Make sure as the products roll out, you are helping consumers with the transition. Albertsons is doing this through in-store signage and marketing pieces that communicate there is a transition

However, a change like this does not come without its risks, especially given the size of the consolidation for Signature Select. Every change can seem like a subtle one, but when consumers are used to something else, you never know how they will react. As such, Ceclan says keeping in touch with consumers throughout the process helped to reinforce the decisions that were being made—for example, showing before-and-after packaging for key categories to encourage consumer feedback. 

The ROI for the strategy might seem obvious (more private label sales), but Ceclan says that the main return for Albertsons is that consumers can find the brands and make the brand connection across any store and any banner. 

Customers can also see how the product packaging of the Select brand is recyclable. Albertsons ESG framework, called Recipe for Change, focuses on maximizing its positive impact across four pillars: Planet, People, Product, and Community.

As for timing, consumers should already be seeing Signature Select brands hitting the store shelves complete with the marketing and advertising campaigns that are also live. Albertsons estimates that it should take about nine months to come to fruition across all stores, and across its 8,000 private-label SKUs. 


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