Albertsons Expands 'Premier' Brand for the Holidays

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Albertsons Expands 'Premier' Brand for the Holidays

By Jacqueline Barba - 12/10/2018

Just ahead of the holidays, Albertsons Cos. expanded its newest private label, Signature Reserve, to more categories to help build credibility for SKUs from the label as a perfect holiday gift.

The retailer initially debuted the line in May with seven super-premium flavors of ice cream including "Brazilian guava cheesecake," which Albertsons says has become a crowd favorite. The retailer has since widened its curated, globally sourced offerings to pasta and pasta sauce, single-origin whole bean coffee, loose leaf tea, confectionery and pie filling.

According to a Nov. 1 press release announcing the new additions, a “smoky pecan pie filling is flavored with aged bourbon, brown sugar and real vanilla bean sourced from Madagascar, known for growing the finest vanilla in the world," the "Ethiopian coffee is grown by 150 local farmers," and the pasta and pasta sauce are "made in Torino, Italy, based on authentic recipes.”

“Products earn the Signature Reserve label only after a rigorous selection process, which includes scrutiny by our culinary professionals and expert merchants for top quality craftsmanship,” said Geoff White, president of Albertsons Cos. own brands, in a media release announcing the new additions.

“Source of origin and flavor ideation are imperative during product development,” an Albertsons spokesperson told P2PI. The sourcing team's most recent trip was to France to investigate popular trends in that part of the world to ensure that Signature Reserve products remain ahead of emerging tastes in the culinary world.

The aforementioned release also noted the timing of the latest roll out, stating “customer interest in premier-level products like Signature Reserve is typically higher during the holiday season, when shoppers hope to discover giftable items or special new products for a festive occasion.”

Albertsons chains tapped influencers to help drive sales and position Signature Reserve products as excellent holiday gifts. For example, food and lifestyle blogger of Mirlandra’s Kitchen wrote a Nov. 14 “10 Tips for Holiday Entertaining” post plugging Signature Reserve SKUs as “great gifts and gift baskets,” also highlighting other products and services from Albertsons such as its pre-made holiday meals available for preorder.

“Influencer outreach is certainly part of our marketing strategy,” the Albertsons spokesperson told P2PI. "We are leveraging food and lifestyle influencers with highly engaged audiences to help convey the unique origin and ingredient stories for Signature Reserve.” Influencers are asked to spotlight their own holiday gift baskets using Signature Reserve products across their social channels including blogs, Pinterest and Instagram.

Other support for the line’s new products includes an Oct. 31 Twitter and Facebook update and a Nov. 1 Twitter update from Jewel-Osco, all directing users to Jewel’s November Big Book of Savings, which plugged the brand using a full-page feature offering a recipe and coupons. Most chain circulars have also touted the line.

In stores, the new SKUs have been spotted enjoying secondary merchandising space on a slick black “Discover the best” floorstand in the cereal and snack aisle in at least one Safeway in Fairfax, VA. Multiple Jewel-Osco locations in Chicago have merchandised the new items in-aisle, using yellow price tags highlighting deals to lure shoppers, such as a two for $5 deal on Signature Reserve pasta SKUs. In-store sampling events have also supported.

Despite just expanding Signature Reserve, “we know through very recent consumer research that customers are delighted by several of the new items," the spokesperson told P2PI. "They appreciate the brand’s luxe, unique packaging in loose leaf tea and chocolate truffles ... Customers are excited that they can find these types of items at their local Albertsons Cos. store.”

Signature Reserve falls under the Signature label, which accounts for $6 billion of the company’s $11 billion in private label sales. Albertsons plans to continue adding to the line in 2019.

Path to Purchase Institute members can view more images of Albertsons private labels at p2pi.org. Members also have access to more than 2,700 images and 200 articles of marketing and merchandising activity at Albertsons Cos., along with a full Retailer Profile outlining the chain’s operations and strategies.