Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Business

Winn-Dixie is beefing up its private label brands

Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of Winn-Dixie, is rolling out a new and revamped line of private label products in its latest bid to stand out in a sea of grocery shopping options.

So Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo, Fresco Y Mas and Harvey's shoppers can expect to see and taste thousands of new and updated private label products in nearly all store departments, from household goods to canned vegetables. Some stores already have a few of these new items on the shelves.

Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers, which is announcing the rollout Thursday, has tested more than 2,330 brand items and reformulated 2,260 of them. These new products will be available in all Southeastern Grocers stores over the next year, company president and CEO Ian McLeod said in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times.

"I was disappointed in the quality of our private label products. It was one of the first things I noticed when I came to the U.S.," said McLeod, a Scottish businessman whose experience includes running retail stores in Europe and Australia. He's been at the helm of Southeastern Grocers for nearly two years now.

"Private label brands have been around for many years and they're known for being the cheap alternative," he said, "but that's not the position we want to achieve."

Instead of having different private label brands at each grocery store chain, Southeastern Grocers has streamlined the products under one new brand name.

Previous Coverage: The new Winn-Dixie in South Tampa doesn't look like a Winn-Dixie, and that's by design

There are three tiers of new products. The first is called "SE Grocers Essentials," which will be a private label option on most budget household basic items. The "SE Grocers" brand will be a line of private label items that offer a 20-30 percent cheaper price alternative to brand name items. The "Prestige" brand is reserved for more indulgent products, like Winn-Dixie's Prestige French vanilla ice cream.

The grocery company created its own sensory lab to test and develop this new line of private label products. Most of the new items won't have artificial flavors, MSG or high fructose corn syrup.

Previous Coverage: Winn-Dixie trying to stand out by lowering prices of staple items

This is the latest move by Winn-Dixie's parent to draw more customers to its brand. Last year the company began updating its stores, including remodeling its store in Tampa's Hyde Park. Winn-Dixie also lowered prices on many staple items. Private label brands have seen a resurgence recently thanks to discount brands like Aldi and Save-A-Lot, which sell almost exclusively their own labels.

Contact Justine Griffin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.

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