Bits & Pieces

December 20, 2010
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Exciting things are happening between private label and national brands at Hy-Vee’s, says its CEO. “We've seen private label products assume a major presence on store shelves,” says Ric Jurgens, CEO of Hy-Vee, “where they are competing head-to-head with national brands. Manufacturers are responding with more aggressive retail promotions in a battle for brand dominance. This kind of competition is exciting for our business and a great opportunity for consumers.” Jurgens was responding to questions in an interview appearing in Food Marketing Institute’s FMI Daily Lead newsletter. “There has been an evolution in customer attitudes toward private label that will continue in 2011,” Jurgen goes on to say. “During the recession, private label penetration increased across the country as customers switched to store brands in order to save money. A large percentage of those customers will stick with private label as they discover private label products provide value for their shopping dollars. Many analysts see this focus on value as the ‘new normal’ that's likely to linger beyond the recession.”

Giant Food stores are home-brewing a connection to Ethiopia, according to a story that appeared in The Gazette for Maryland Community News Online. Pride of Ethiopia, a Silver Spring, Md.-based company, will sell Ethiopian coffee to 120 Giant Food stores in Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia and Delaware. The brand sells unroasted Ethiopian Harar beans and, as of last week, is the only unroasted coffee available at Giant Food. "It's a matter of community," Pride of Ethiopia owner Sophia Bunch says. "They are saying what they want. Whatever they say they want, we bring in." Roasting coffee is an Ethiopian tradition. Bunch says she wanted to cater to the large Ethiopian population in the area. There are roughly 250,000 Ethiopians in the Maryland, D.C., Virginia and Delaware region, according to the Ethiopian Embassy.


At least 90 percent of consumers who are responsible for a majority of grocery shopping are buying as many or more private-label products this year, according to an exclusive Ad Age/Ipsos Observer survey of U.S. consumers. These PL-related facts were unearthed in a survey that reveals nearly 30 percent of consumers report that they will buy presents for fewer people this year. The Ad Age/Ipsos Observer survey shows that nearly 90 percent of respondents buy at least some private-label products each time they shop. More than value, quality is a consideration, Ad Age reports. The survey finds two-thirds of consumers believe that the private-label products are of a comparable quality to their branded counterparts.

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