Wednesday, July 21, 2010

'Sipsational' & 'Quenchtastic': Safeway Introduces New 21-Flavor Line of Soft Drinks Under 'refreshe' Private Brand

Private Brand Showcase

Pleasanton, California-based Safeway Stores, Inc. this week is introducing a new line of carbonated soft drinks under its 'refreshe' private brand. Previously, Safeway used the 'refreshe' brand only on bottled drinking water.

The new 'refreshe' brand soda line comes in 6-pack/12 ounce cans and in 2-liter plastic bottles.
The colorful new soda line if offered in 21 flavors.

The 'refreshe' soda brand packaging features a pop art-like graphic and includes a "refreshing" droplet of soda on the label. Each SKU is color-coded, based on it's flavor. Safeway is using the tag lines "sipsational" and "quenchtastic" for the sodas. [You can view a detailed graphic of the 'refresh' brand soft drink line here.]

The 'refreshe' brand sodas have the Safeway logo around the bottom of the can and around the bottom of the label on the 2-Liter drinks. We would eliminate it. In our analysis and opinion, the co-branding by using the small Safeway name and a small Safeway logo on the cans and labels doesn't add anything to the brand's value. We're open to counter-arguments via the "comments" link at the end of this post though.

Safeway Stores, which operates 1,712 supermarkets throughout the U.S. and Canada, and is the third-largest traditional supermarket chain in the U.S. (after Kroger Co. and Supervalu, Inc.), officially launched the new 'refresh' brand soda line today in its weekly advertising circular, as well as on its website. The grocery chain attached a full-page leaf on the front of the multi-page paper ad circular, which it direct mails to homes and distributes in daily newspapers, promoting the new line. The ad features full-color pictures of the canned and 2-Liter 'refreshe' brand soft drinks, along with promotional price points for the items.

And those promotional price points are hot: Safeway is promoting the 'refreshe' canned soda's at four six packs (which equals a 24-pack which shoppers can mix & match among all the 21 flavors) for $3.49. Customers must buy four 6-packs to get the price.

To put the promotional price in perspective, the hottest advertised price-point generally for any grocery chain or mass merchandiser for 24-packs of Coke or Pepsi in the U.S. tends to be $5.99 -to- $6.99. In contrast, Safeway is promoting its 'refreshe' private brand soft drinks for nearly half that price. Additionally, we don't often see retailer brand sodas at or near the $3.49/24-pack promotional price Safeway is offering this week.

The 2-Liter 'refreshe' sodas are being offered at the promotional price of $2 for $1.00 (or 50 cents each) this week. A rather hot price point as well. Customers have to use their Safeway Club Cards to get the promotional pricing for both the cans and 2-Liter sodas.

Safeway is also introducing a new line of beverage mixers in plastic bottles under its 'refreshe' brand this week.

Additionally, Safeway Stores has redesigned the packaging of the 'refreshe' bottled drinking water items it already sells in its stores. To tout that fact its offering 24-pack/16.9 ounce cases of 'refreshe' bottled drinking water at $2.99 this week, as part of its "brand refreshe" soft drink line launch and promotion.

Safeway Stores, Inc. has sold a full line of soda's first under its 'Safeway Select' private brand then under the Safeway brand for over a decade. The 'refreshe' brand replaces the Safeway brand as the chain's private label soda brand and line.

We like the 'refreshe' brand for the soft drink line because it allows the grocery chain to create a private brand grouped around a specific functional category - beverages.

We like the strategy because it's our analysis that grocer's should, when they can and when it makes sense, use various private brands, grouping them around functional product categories (which differs from branding all organic items under one private brand, for example) whenever possible. Doing so offers the potential for strong marketing and brand building.

Safeway operates hundreds of supermarkets under the Vons, Vons Pavillions and Safeway banners in California and southern Nevada, and under the Safeway banner in Arizona, the three states where Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market has its 159 fresh food and grocery stores.

Recent Private Brand Showcase Features in Fresh & Easy Buzz:

July 17, 2010: New Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market Clock-Shaped Private Brand Candy Line Hits the Shelves at Fresh & Easy

July 12, 2010: Tesco Launches Private Brand 'Lasagne Sandwich' in the UK Today...With No Apologies to The Earl of Sandwich

June 24, 2010: New Fresh & Easy Clock Logo-Shaped Candies Are A Pretty Sweet Idea

May 11, 2010: Tesco Might Want to Get 'fresh & naked' at 'fresh & easy'

April 2, 2010: Fresh & Easy's New 'EatWell' Healthier Fresh, Prepared Foods Brand to Hit Stores on April 7

April 11, 2010: When it Comes to Fresh, Prepared Foods, New York City's Duane Reade is Simply 'deLish' for Walgreens

February 22, 2010: Food, Drug Retailers With Stores in California, Nevada & Arizona Honored for Private Label-Store Brands' Excellence


Anonymous said...

The GOOD news is that safeway is expanding the flavors, especially in the diet category. The BAD news is that these sodas will undoubtedly taste as lousy as their Select brands did, many contained artificial flavors. Ironically, the one Safeway diet flavor I could stomach was their ginger ale and that is not being offered here.

Avon R. said...

I've tried the non-diet selection. I am not one to stray from the brand I love (Pepsi) but after tasting the Dr. Dynamite flavor which is obviously the Dr. Pepper knock off, I was sold. It didn't taste overly sweet like most lower end sodas. I've also tried the Strawberry, Grape, Punch, Black Cherry, and Cream Soda flavors and I love them all. The price is completely awesome as well. Good job on this one Safeway!

jacob said...

I just tried the new refreshe Root Beer, and I thought it was one of the grossest tasting root beers that I've ever had. I'll be taking it back under their satisfaction guarantee.