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New Private Label Grocery Brand Offers More Than The Essentials

December 1, 2011 - 1:39 am

Historically speaking, private label grocery store brands don’t get a lot of love or attention from the brand design establishment. And with good reason; all too often these in-store ‘generics’ have paid little attention to the value of brand design and applied brand identity, and often provide little differentiation visually from similar chain-store store brands.

essential everyday logo

Recently, SuperValu, Inc. unveiled a new private brand for its network of supermarkets across the US, including Chicago’s Jewel-Osco stores. Essential Everyday products have begun appearing on store shelves, replacing the old store brands in select grocery categories.

essential everyday branded products

The branding approach here is notably successful for a number of reasons. Firstly, the naming of the brand couldn’t be more straightforward or appropriate for a value-oriented store brand. Its a no-nonsense brand name in a sea of hyperbole on the shelf. The typography chosen to render the brand name is unpretentious and approachable.

Second, the use of a ‘stamp’ or ‘tear-off’ label visual metaphor is a natural, if literal, approach to labeling a product. When applied consistently on the top edge of packaging, it allows for a tidy, standardized application across many categories.

And lastly, the choice of white text on a black element is ultimately flexible when applied to any product-appropriate color background, as evidenced in the product samples shown here. The black label conveys an almost upscale feel to what is ultimately a value-oriented product offering.

PREDICTION: This new private-label brand will be a profitable brand for all the stores that carry it.



Chris Hartman

January 24, 2012 1:39 am

I find the private-label grocery brand design challenge to be really interesting. You basically want something that communicates “this stuff has the lowest price, and quality to match, but it’s still good enough to give to your children.” I’ve noticed that in general the private-label identity changes I’ve seen have gone from (possibly deliberately) amateurish and sometimes downright ugly, with a lot of reliance on poorly-lit photos of canned beans or what-have-you, brown-and-green color schemes, and product names in Zapf Chancery, to logo-centric color-block identities with large fields of primary colors and/or white space.

Here’s a good article that includes SuperValu’s Essential Everyday as well as the one I’m familiar with, Ahold USA’s no-name flower icon identity that Stop & Shop has been rolling out. I also really dig Walgreens’ new Nice! private label identity.

No gradients or bevels or fancy computer techniques—a lot of it looks like it could have been produced in the pre-digital age, with PMS colors specified on a keyline and hand-stripped at the color-separation house. That these attractive identities were actually produced on a digital platform is a testament to the value of restraint, and that a store brand doesn’t absolutely have to look homemade and awful in order to convey a “good value” message.

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