"We're not just here to stand out for what's not in our products, which is the free-from concept, but also the good stuff about taste, and deliciousness, and quality, and health. And so, I think what you'll see going forward is the brand has a little more attitude and a tasteful edge and also more transparency, simplicity, hoping to make it kind of simpler for customers to make healthier choices," Brown said.
Supporting the rebrand with plant-based product launches
In rebranding, Open Nature also looked at consumer trends and "identified opportunities to meet the changing needs of [its] customers with innovative new products," Brown said.
Albertson released a host of products to go with the rebrand, which will be available at its banner stores (Safeway, Albertsons, Vons, Jewel-Osco, ACME, and Shaw’s), including:
- Dairy-Free Coconut Yogurt Alternatives in Mango, Strawberry, Raspberry, and Mango.
- Non-Dairy Cream Cheese Alternatives in Original and Chives & Onion.
- A Non-Dairy Shredded Cheese Alternative in a Mozzarella and Cheddar blend.
- Non-Dairy Oat Frozen Desserts in Chocolaty Peanut Butter Pretzel, Peanut Butter Chocolaty Chip, and Vanilla Bean flavors.
- Non-Dairy Almond Frozen Desserts in Caramel Macchiato and Cherry Maximum Fudge Moose Tracks.
Open Nature is also offering a 100% domestic-raised grass-fed Angus beef that is antibiotic and hormone-free for consumers looking for more transparency when they purchase meat, Brown said. "Consumers who are looking for grass-fed and Angus, they actually care where it's from, ... [and] they actually want to know where my cows from," he added.
Brown also sees an opportunity for the Own brand to meet consumers where they are with healthier, better-for-you options.
"We've seen there was a giant spike up in some of these alternative products, and we think ... the trend has kind of turned the other direction, maybe isn't growing as fast," Brown said. "We still think there's a big role to play, especially as an Own brand, to provide that kind of accessible and value alternative to what's in the marketplace now for these products."
[Editor's note: Interested in learning more about where the plant-based meat segment is headed? Listen on demand to FoodNavigator-USA's recent free webinar -- Plant-based Meat: Beyond the honeymoon period.]
Private label on the rise
The Open Nature rebrand also comes at a time of increased interest in private label offerings, with consumers seeking out value in various ways, Brown pointed out.
“Customers are looking for value, and value is very different based on different types of customer segments. So, some customers really want just the best price point possible. And they are going to shop for that lowest price point; they're [going to] go around from different stores and try to find that best price. Others think about value in terms of how can I provide … a well-rounded meal for my family.”
As consumers look for value and opt for private-label products, the private-label food and beverage market will continue to grow. The global private label food and beverage market is projected to grow $281.15bn between 2022-2027, growing at 6.39% CAGR, due to the accessibility of private label offerings and their competitive pricing, according to a Technavio report.
As Albertsons and its 11 private label brands prepare for further shifts in the market, it’s looking to meet its customers' needs for better for you and value, Brown said.
“We see customers trading down from restaurants and QSR to cooking their own meals; we've seen them trading down from national brands to private label and Own brands. There's a shift of value, especially in the inflationary environment we are in. I think our goal now as an Own brand organization is how do we make sure we have the right value across our portfolio that meets the needs of what our customers are looking for.”