Sam’s Club aims to transform its Member’s Mark private label into a more sustainable brand.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Sam’s on Tuesday unveiled a new identity for Member’s Mark, including a new logo and the tagline, “Made with Our Members and Planet in Mind.” In repositioning the label, the warehouse club chain said the product line — spanning the grocery, health and wellness, baby, apparel, home goods, furniture, office and technology categories — now aspires “to be of the highest quality while featuring trend-right innovation and a focus on people and the planet.”
The new Member’s Mark logo and design features a subtle checkmark to signify the brand’s sharper focus on sustainability as well as high product quality, Sam’s said. Plans call for the new logo and check design to appear on packaging in clubs over the next 18 months.
“Increasingly, our members are looking to us to offer them on-trend items and items that have sustainable quality,” Megan Crozier, executive vice president and chief merchant at Sam’s Club, said in a press call yesterday. “We are announcing that we have taken all of that member feedback into consideration, and we are evolving our Member’s Mark private brand into a purpose-driven brand.”
Sam’s noted that it has launched, renovated and reformulated more than 1,200 Member’s Mark items since 2020, when the chain decided to re-evaluate the brand after parent company Walmart announced its goal to become a regenerative company. Member’s Mark was launched in 1998 and, in 2017, Sam’s consolidated its 20 proprietary brands under the label.
Many Member’s Mark products already have sustainable attributes, such as Fair Trade Certified Member’s Mark Colombian Supremo Coffee, and now Sam’s Club said it plans to bring a stronger sense of purpose to the brand. That includes removing certain ingredients from Member’s Mark food and consumables and expanding the assortment of items made using practices that promote animal welfare, support land and ocean health, mitigate deforestation, use more sustainable textiles and come from renewable sources.
"Increasingly, our members are looking to us to offer them on-trend items and items that have sustainable quality." — Megan Crozier, Sam's Club chief merchant
For example, by 2025, Sam’s aims for 100% of its seafood to be sustainably sourced, 100% of its eggs to be cage-free, all poultry to be raised with no antibiotics, all animal proteins to be sourced humanely, and 100% of its coffee, tea and cocoa products to be Fair Trade Certified. Among other goals set for 2025, the retailer is targeting 100% of its fresh and frozen produce and floral and live plant products to have certified Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices, 100% responsibly sourced palm oil, 100% of its packaging to be recyclable or reusable (or industrially compostable), and a 15% reduction in virgin plastic packaging design.
Sam’s also said it aspires for 100% of its products to be free from ingredients on its “made without list” by 2025. The 39 items now on the list include such ingredients as high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors (by 2028), parabens, phthalates, synthetic colors (by 2028), aspartame, saccharin and nitrates, among others.
Additionally, Sam’s will call on Member’s Mark suppliers to participate in Project Gigaton — Walmart’s private-sector consortium to reduce or avoid 1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions — as well as source Member’s Mark items more responsibly and seek more diversity in the brand’s supplier base.
“As we continue to evolve the Member’s Mark brand, we intend to develop items that are reflective of the ingredients, processes and materials our members want — and don’t want — in their products,” Prathibha Rajashekhar, senior vice president of private brands and sourcing at Sam’s Club, said in the press call. “We will be making these decisions that not only focus on quality, innovation and value, but on the impact that we’re making on the world around us.”
All Member’s Mark products are slated to be converted to the new logo by the end of 2023, and members will begin seeing the updated logo soon, according to Rajashekhar.
“We’re introducing a new Member’s Mark logo, inserting a check mark. We hope this conveys our heightened ambition around quality and to regeneration,” she said.
The new identity for Member’s Mark, Crozier said, reflects feedback from the My Member’s Mark Community, a group of 40,000-plus Sam’s Club members who provide input on Member’s Mark items through every phase of a product’s lifecycle.
For instance, one product — Member’s Mark Beer Battered Cod — was removed from clubs in October 2020 after not meeting customer expectations. Following a review of member feedback, an adjustment of the recipe with the supplier (adding more crispiness and beer flavor and using cleaner ingredients) and a packaging update, the cod was relaunched in February 2021 and is now highly rated and has grown in popularity, according to Sam’s.
“We know members who purchase Member’s Mark products have higher renewal rates and enjoy shopping at Sam’s more than those who purchase more national brands. So we tapped into our members to understand how can we make a brand they already love even better,” Crozier said. “The feedback that they gave us was largely positive, but we do see an opportunity to have higher and consistent quality standards across all categories.”