packaged ice cream

Buyk leans into European roots for first store brand program

CEO James Walker told Store Brands that private label will represent 40% of the product mix and will be a “core element” of the deliverer’s strategy.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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The New York-based grocery delivery startup Buyk has launched a line of private label products — and there is more to come — as the CEO told Store Brands that the retailer aims to have private brands account for nearly 40% of its assortment by year’s end.

Buyk, a real-time grocery service delivering in 15 minutes or less, initially launched a range of store brand items in December 2021, consisting of coffee, artisan bread, and snacks and sweets, but the assortment will grow.

James Walker, CEO of Buyk, told Store Brands that private label is a core element of Buyk’s business strategy, growth and expansion plans. “We aim to have private label account for up to 40% of our product mix by the end of 2022, and we strongly believe that private label is key to ensuring profitability and creating a beloved brand.”

Buyk was founded by Slava Bocharov and Rodion Shishkov, who curated a private line with its previous venture, the European ultrafast grocery giant Samokat. This experience, alongside the knowledge of Walker, a restaurant industry veteran, is driving a private label assortment that is similar to what shoppers see in Europe.

“As for the lessons we have learned from previous experience of running one of Europe’s fastest-growing ultrafast delivery services and the largest operator of dark stores among on-demand grocers outside of China, there are a few,” Walker told Store Brands. “Hyperlocality and knowing your customer are key to creating a successful private label product line. The flavor of ice cream or type of bread loved in one location may not be the product du jour in a different neighborhood of the same city,” adding that “having the proprietary software to help navigate this process and fine-tune the offering as you go is crucial."

New private label products are being added on a weekly basis, per the company, which also secured an exclusive partnership with renowned national butcher Pat Lafrieda. Starting in February, Buyk customers will find a range of best-in-class beef, poultry, and other meat products available in the app.

“We are confident that this ever-expanding private label line-up will quickly become a fan favorite in New York, Chicago and across new cities as we continue our expansion,” Walker said. “We are also extremely excited to partner with Pat Lafrieda to bring our customers even more high-quality options to choose from in the Buyk app.”