Brad Studer, senior director of Our Brands, Kroger
2020 presented unprecedented challenges and opportunities for the private label industry. At Kroger, we remained focused on our most urgent priority — providing a safe environment for associates and customers with open stores, comprehensive digital solutions and an efficiently operating supply chain so that our customers have access to fresh, affordable food and essentials.
We also maintained our commitment to our customers to deliver value, variety and quality across our exclusive Our Brands portfolio, launching more than 700 new products from Simple Truth, Kroger, Private Selection and more in 2020 alone.
As we look to the year ahead, our team of Our Brands trend experts, product developers, chefs and innovators has identified sustainability as a high-impact opportunity for the private brand sector.
According to Kroger’s 2021 trends outlook, consumers are more interested than ever before in the environmental impact of their lifestyle choices. A growing number of consumers are also embracing flexitarian living and reducing their intake of meat and dairy products. In the coming year, private brands will need to respond to these consumer trends with an increased selection of eco-friendly products that help customers reduce their carbon footprint with plant-based foods, sustainably packaged products and more.
At Kroger, we recently introduced more than 50 new plant-based foods to our private brand portfolio, across non-dairy segments, meat-free grinds and more. We look forward to continuing to drive the growth of this category in 2021 through our Simple Truth brand, which exceeded $2.5 billion in 2019 sales.
We’ve also responded to growing consumer interest in sustainable product packaging through the launch of our Simple Truth Recycling Program, which we’re endeavoring to expand in the year ahead. Introducing new recycling initiatives doesn’t come without its share of challenges for private brands, including new marketing priorities and project management workstreams. Collaborating with trusted partners to develop, launch and manage these programs is key to eliminating these barriers to success.
As consumers’ eating styles and health and wellness goals continue to evolve in the new year, private brands are uniquely positioned to respond with creative, innovative products and services to meet their needs. At Kroger, we believe that everyone deserves to have access to fresh, affordable and delicious food, no matter who you are, how you shop or what you like to eat, and we will continue to innovate and inspire our selection of products to deliver on that very promise for our customers.