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The proliferation of Kroger’s private labels

Kroger Co., BB #:100073 Cincinnati, OH, started putting more emphasis on its proprietary brands in 2012 and made private label one of the centerpieces of its Restock Kroger effort, adding 1,022 private label items in 2018 alone.

By early 2019, more than 30 percent of its unit sales were attributable to private branded products.

At the time, Kroger said its Simple Truth line generated $2.3 billion annually from 1,500 products, making it the biggest U.S. natural and organic brand. Simple Truth expanded its product line in September 2019 with the new plant-based items.

Among Kroger’s many other private labels are Home Chef, the meal kit brand that came from a merger between the two companies in 2019, and the Dip brand, introduced in fall 2018 and now extending to apparel, home goods, and furniture.

Kroger’s emphasis on private labels is part of the evolution of food retailing in general.

“Brand names are becoming less relevant in the minds of certain consumer groups, so a robust private label program is necessary to remain relevant,” says Bruce Peterson, president and founder of Peterson Insights Inc., in Bentonville, AR.

This is a multi-part feature adapted from the cover story of the March/April 2020 issue of Produce Blueprints.