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A&P exec shares insight at PACK EXPO

A&P exec shares insight at PACK EXPO
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In Monday’s opening keynote address, Doug Palmer, Vice President, Own Brands, the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (parent company of A&P and other store chains), shared insight into the evolution of store brands, evolving consumer perceptions of the market, and various factors behind the surge in PL purchasing. One factor behind the increasing PL success, he said, is retailers’ willingness to look beyond mere rock-bottom pricing to take quality and other factors into account, and intelligent branding of PL products.
 
“A brand is a promise of value that results in a positive collection of perceptions, which causes an expectation in the minds of the customer,” says Palmer. 

During the address, entitled “The Future of Retailer Packaging and Branding—the A&P Story,” Palmer listed the three elements a retailer must pursue to launch and sustain a strong PL brand: quality product, innovative packaging, and the brand itself. 

“In the past, retailers tended to focus on one or two, but not all of those,” said Palmer. “But no two of the three can stand without the other.”

The rethinking of branding PL products is working, said Palmer, citing widespread consumer desire for store-brand products and, in many cases, preference for PL products over name-brand equivalents. Palmer added that large companies such as Procter & Gamble are slashing prices and introducing product promotions to recover the market share PL products have been luring away.

Among the PL case histories Palmer imparted was A&P’s successful Via Roma product line. The company detected a consumer desire for high-quality Italian food products, then launched Via Roma brand touting premium ingredients, conducting an advertising campaign that included images and stories of Tuscan villagers, and produced high-quality, well-designed packaging to draw eyeballs to the shelved products.

Palmer also stressed that PL package design must take into account the products already residing on store shelves. For example, in order to stand out from the eye-popping colors frequently found on pasta-sauce and cereal containers, A&P branded its Via Roma jars and Greenway organic cereals with subdued, elegant designs—the result being that the less colorful items actually stood out. “No color sometimes is the best color,” he said.

Palmer--member of the Chief Marketing Officer Council--also discussed ways that retailers can continue to enhance the growth of their private brands, and he stressed the importance of forming strategic relationships with suppliers.

Prior to joining the firm in 2001, Palmer was Vice President of Corporate Brands at Safeway, where he created and launched the successful ‘O Organics’ Brand and steered the rebuilding Safeway’s portfolio of brands.

The PACK EXPO keynote program continues today (Tuesday 10/6) at 10 a.m. in Room N110. Andrew Abraham, vice president, Our Own Brands, SUPERVALU, will present “Packaging—A Holistic Approach to Winning.” The address will explore key areas in which the private-brand industry and packaging suppliers can work together: retail efficiency, communication effectiveness, brand positioning and differentiation, and sustainability.

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