How a Major Grocery Chain Uses Ingredient Branding with Private Label Brands as a Powerful Marketing Strategy
by R.A. Rowell; Major Kroger Fan
Living in Colorado, I regularly shop at various Kroger supermarkets such as City Market, King Soopers, and Kroger itself. So, I’ve become quite familiar with the Kroger generic brand and their long list of private label brands. As the second largest retailer and largest grocery chain in the United States, Kroger has become an expert at building many different brands. In particular, Kroger have replaced many products that previously had their generic Kroger brand with one of their private label brands.
Of course, you don’t have to be a grocery store to use ingredient branding for your products. For example, car manufacturer Dodge does a similar thing by branding their Hemi line of truck engines. But, Kroger is perhaps the master of creating private label ingredient brands. Here are just a few of the Kroger private label branded products that my family and I enjoy.
Check This Out / PSST!
One of the best value brands that Kroger chain stores carry is Check This Out household items, also known as PSST! While I’ve never been impressed with their diapers, household essentials such as bathroom tissue and trash bags are an acceptable option if you’re short on cash. These items tend to be a better value than the dollar store equivalents with a cost of roughly a dollar or less.
What I like a lot about the Check This Out brand is how direct the name is. With the little owl saying PSST to you as you glance by the shelf, you feel like you’re being let in on a little secret. Indeed, there are certainly some PSST deals to be had at Kroger stores.
Comforts For Baby
One of my favorite baby diaper brands is actually Comforts for Baby. The price is significantly lower than the name brands like Pampers and Huggies and they have actually held up better for my babies and toddlers than the big name brands. Comforts for Baby also has baby formula that two of my babies tolerated better than the national brands. They also have a wide array of other baby care products such as infant gas drops and sippy cups for a good price.
What I especially like about Comforts for Baby branded products is the direct message of the name brand. These are products that can offer my babies comfort. From my experience, Comforts for Baby products actually do, and I’m happy to go out of my way to a Kroger store to buy them when I need them.
Good to Dough
One of Kroger’s newer private label brands, Good to Dough is the Kroger store brand for loaves of bread, hamburger rolls, and hot dog rolls. It rolled out (pun not intended) in May 2018. While it definitely is one of the cornier names for a private label brand, it is actually accurate to the brand’s mission.
The concept behind Good to Dough bread is that it’s actually vegan-friendly and contains no high-fructose corn syrup. That’s not the case with most bread products at the dollar price-point. The bread isn’t gourmet, of course, but it’s more than sufficient for making some toast or a quick sandwich. I actually prefer it to a lot of the name brand breads. The no corn syrup is definitely a plus for health, too.
Pet Pride & Luvsome
For our dogs, we’ve been buying the Pet Pride dog food and Luvsome gourmet dog food for years. As many other major dog food brands keep experiencing recalls, I have not seen this happen with the Kroger private label dog foods. In my experience, my dogs have been healthier eating this food than the more common brands. It is not the cheapest dog food, but it is very affordable and well-worth it at the price point.
For our cats we buy the Pet Pride and Luvsome cat foods and use the Pet Pride cat litter. The Luvsome litter is good, too. But, but the Pet Pride does the job well enough at a lower price point.
I like these brands because buying Pet Pride makes you feel like you’re actually taking Pride in your Pet and Luvsome is the brand you buy when you want to give them a bit of extra love. This sounds corny, but these ideas really do get into your head when you buy these products on a regular basis.
Simple Truth & Simple Truth Organic
Kroger has been making it a point over recent years to dedicate more and more time to natural and organic foods. By reducing unnecessary ingredients and using organic and non-GMO (genetically modified) ingredients when possible, Simple Truth and Simple Truth Organic foods have become some of my favorites to buy.
The price point of Simple Truth products is usually similar to other natural and organic food brands, but the price is lower enough and the quality good enough that it is worth the small savings. They also offer some snack foods, such as gluten-free crackers, that other brands don’t even offer, at least at as low of a price point.
What’s So Special About These Private Label Brands?
Kroger has become one of the best private label manufacturers by carefully crafting their branding directly to the purpose of the product that it’s branding. These aren’t just your ordinary store brands. Each of these brands exist for a specific purpose that shoppers can easily buy into. That’s the power of ingredient branding: turning everyday items into products that clearly add value to your life.
By using this ingredient branding, Kroger has been able to upsell their own products with private labeling and eye-catching packaging. This branding strategy gives shoppers an additional emotional incentive to pinching a few pennies for a product comparable to, and in my experience even superior to, many of their national brand name counterparts.
How Can You Apply Ingredient Branding to Your Own Business?
With ingredient branding, you’re giving a label to a product or service that is complementary and consistent with your main brand. But, that product is also a key ingredient to your brand’s success. For example, say you have a software-as-a-service (SaaS) package as your main offering. Then, say you particular premium upgrade in your that adds a lot of value. It’s a lot easier to upsell that upgrade as its own brand.
Really, ingredient branding allows you to brand components and features of your products and services that set you apart from your competition. How does branding these ingredients to your success help them become more marketable? People can get a quick mental and emotional attachment with the branding message before you even explain all the benefits of purchasing that particular brand.
Kroger has really mastered ingredient marketing in the grocery sector. It’s a branding tactic that’s used in many different industries. But, there may be a chance for your business to find your own ingredients to brand.
If you’re looking to take advantage of ingredient branding as part of your brand building strategy, contact one of the Brand Shamans today!
** The author of this post was in no way compensated by Kroger or any of its subsidiaries in any way for this post. The opinions of this author are entirely his own.
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