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Store Brand Promotions for Easter

With Easter approaching, egg sales are likely on many retailers’ minds.

In February, natural and organic brand Wild Oats made a comeback at Fresh & Easy stores. The Tesco chain was acquired by Yucaipa Cos., owned by Ron Burkle, late last year. Since Yucaipa owns Wild Oats, it’s uncertain if the brand will remain a Fresh & Easy store brand or be offered in other retailers as well. However, the relaunch of Wild Oats is unsurprising, since Yucaipa previously stated it “plans to build Fresh & Easy into a ‘healthy convenient food experience,’ providing busy consumers with more local and healthy access for their daily needs.”

The brand’s revival brought with it cage-free eggs and four types of organic milk. The brown eggs go for the ultimate promotion in freshness by including “hen laying” date stamps on each egg, as well as “Just Laid” stickers on cartons and an in-store flier that states the “hen to store” delivery is within 72 hours, according to the Orange County Register.

As consumers clamor for more transparency in food and animal welfare, retailers are beginning to respond in the egg aisle with store brand options like this. For example, all eggs under the Trader Joe’s label come only from cage-free hens (of course cage-free doesn’t mean the hens have access to the outdoors or that the retailer doesn’t practice debeaking, which savvy consumers will be aware of).

In the online-grocer space, New York-based FreshDirect launched Just FreshDirect a few months back, which includes fresh organic eggs both grown and packaged at the family-run Alderfer farm in Pennsylvania (for information on FreshDirect’s new Cloud 9 brand see the Household Products Category Insights article on page 22), so at least consumers know where the eggs are coming from. This is a move that traditionally retailers are unwilling to take with their store brands, but as transparency becomes a hotter topic, they would be wise to reconsider.

Personally, I’m still hoping someday I’ll find a pastured, organic, humane, omega-3 store brand option for my Easter eggs. But the wait has left me considering that maybe Williams-Sonoma’s chicken coops under the retailer’s Agrarian private label aren’t such a crazy idea ($699.95 for the Barnyard Chicken Coop).

Of course, many shoppers will be purchasing eggs for dyeing without as much consideration, which should prompt retailers to consider ramped-up egg displays, social media promoting, and cross-promotions between store brand eggs and dye kits or Easter candy. Beth D. Podol, director of sales & marketing services, Mount Franklin Foods, tells us jelly beans are always the popular item for Easter candy (for more information, see the Candy Category Insights article on
page 19).

Whether holiday promotions are on your mind or not, I wish all of our readers a Happy Easter and Passover, and a warm spring! Hopefully the fresh air brings fresh ideas to your private label program. 

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