Private Label Buyer

Exclusive Look at Private Label: Great Value Naturals

March 14, 2014

Last November Walmart entered the “green” cleaning space with the introduction of Great Value Naturals (GVN), a private brand of all-natural household cleaners.

The move was an effort to further the company’s commitment to making eco-friendly products more accessible and affordable. GVN products are made from plant-based, all-natural Evolve® cleaning technology and are 100 percent chemical-free and toxin-free, biodegradable, non-allergenic and packaged in recyclable materials. 

Keeping it simple, Walmart released the green line consists of just four products: GVN Liquid Laundry Detergent ($8.97 for 100 fl. oz. or 64 loads), Multi-Surface Cleaner ($2.47 for a 32 fl. oz.), Glass and Window Cleaner ($1.98 for 32 fl. oz.), and Automatic Dishwasher Gel ($3.97 for 75 fl. oz.).

Choosing the four products for the line was a joint endeavor, according to Benjamin P. Shell, chairman & founder, Agaia, Inc., the makers of Evolve, the patented green cleaning technology empowering Walmart's GVN line. Agaia and Walmart jointly developed the GVN line after Agaia approached Walmart in 2012.

The two looked at the products they felt would have the greatest interest by consumers based upon the shelf space that Walmart had and also, the national brands.

“It’s interesting, If you look at the sales records on a national basis of all retail products, those four products we picked are actually the bulk of the highest selling units: laundry, all purpose cleaner, glass, and detergent,” said Shell. “So those do happen to be some of the largest number of units sold in all retail stores, not just Walmart.”

Popular, yet mildly penetrated by the private label industry.

Private label all purpose cleaner/disinfectant was up 7 percent with just a 2 percent share, according to IRI data for the latest 52 Weeks ending Jan 26, 2014, while dish detergent was up 2 percent to $8 million with just a 4 percent share. Liquid laundry detergent, with less than a 3 percent share fell 18 percent, although still a $138 million category, while packet/bar detergent rose 528 percent, due to the new “pod” format’s popularity.

The new GVN line is currently offered to shoppers in 2,500 to 3,300 Walmart stores, depending on the product, said Shell, with the laundry detergent in the most, at 3,300 locations.

When it came to designing the packages, Walmart chose the translucent look and the recycled content of the GVN bottles, but Agaia designed the bottle shapes, said Shell. Walmart currently controls the label design, but Agaia is taking back the label design this quarter and Shell said you’ll see a new label in the next few months.  “We’re going to strengthen it up.”

An Evolving Industry

“What’s interesting about this,” said Shell, “it’s not just another green cleaner that’s very similar. It’s not similar to the technology that’s inside everything else.”

Shell said Agaia came across a version of this technology in the oil and gas industry and then ended up co-developing the technology with Oklahoma University.

The Evolve technology behind the brand is the first all-natural cleaning technology that is lab-tested to achieve results at levels of efficacy previously seen only through the use of petroleum-based cleaners, detergents, degreasers and solvents.

A reviewer of the GVN Multi-Surface cleaner on Walmart.com writes:

“I would not have believed that a ‘green’ product would be so effective. The price is very affordable, especially compared to some of the chemical cleaning products.” 

It’s a “nanoscale” technology, Shell explains, meaning it’s over ten times smaller than any other surfactant on the market, so it’s very small molecularly.

“The real power behind it is the technology is called Hydrophobic, Hydrophilic. One end of the molecule is attracted to water and the other end is attracted to anything that is chemically the opposite of water, which happens to be grease and things like that.”

So what happens, he continues, is they have the ability to strongly bond water and the things you want to clean up and get rid of with water, and then capture it. With everything caught in a water-sized droplet, nature is now able to break it down very quickly. 

“This is the first green cleaning, eco-safe technology that is so safe it can actually be ingested in the human body, it’ll pass right through the body with zero toxicity,” he said. “Yet, in all the testing that we, and our other customers like Walmart have done, it actually matches and exceeds the efficacy of chemical cleaners.  It’s a real paradigm change in the industry.”