Friday, April 22, 2011

A Little About Those 'green things' At Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market on Earth Day 2011

Private Brand Showcase - Earth Day 2011

Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market publicly introduced its 'fresh&easy green things' brand of "eco-friendly" household cleaning and paper products to the media in a product press release, dated April 21, 2011, which landed in the Fresh & Easy Buzz electronic inbox this morning.

Today is Earth Day, and Fresh & Easy's announcement of its line of "green" household cleaning products and paper goods was timed to coincide with today's celebration of the annual event, which is designed to remind us to conserve the earth we inhabit.

Tesco's Fresh & Easy may have publicly introduced its 'fresh&easy green things' line of household cleaning and paper products in the April 21 press release. But the line isn't brand new - its been on the shelves in the 172-store grocery chain's stores in California, Nevada and Arizona for over two months.

We reported on and wrote about the introduction of the 'fresh&easy green things' line in a story over two months ago, as the products were hitting store shelves. You can read the story here - February 9, 2011: New 'fresh&easy green things Eco-Friendly Household Products' Line Hitting the Shelves at Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market.

The primary "green" features of the private brand household cleaning products are: they're made from plant-based ingredients; are free from phosphates, dyes and perfumes; are pH neutral; biodegradable; and scented with essential oils rather than chemicals.

The paper products are made from 100% recycled paper and comprised of 80% post-consumer recycled paper or waste. Additionally, no chlorine is used in producing the white paper towels and tissues, according to the product package labels. In addition, the paper products' clear-cello packaging is biodegradable, designed to degrade in 12-18 months.

There are no national standards for "eco-friendly," "environmentally-friendly" or other similar terms used for "green" household consumer products, like there is for organic, which is a term regulated by the U.S. federal government. The government's organic-use regulations also have legal penalties attached, if used improperly by farmers, manufacturers, marketers and retailers. Therefore, buying "eco-friendly" household cleaners and paper goods is mostly a "buyer beware" situation for consumers.

For example, not all brands of "eco-friendly" paper goods are made from 100% recycled paper, like Fresh & Easy's are. Additionally, the percentage of post-consumer recycled paper used in such brands of products can vary considerably. At 80% post-consumer recycled paper, Fresh & Easy's brand is at or near the top percentile, along with a number of others, based on the numerous brands in the category we've examined.

The packaging for both "eco-friendly" lines was designed for Tesco's Fresh & Easy by London-based P&W, which works extensively with El Segundo, California-based Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Neighborhood Market, as well as with its parent company, United Kingdom-based Tesco, on private brand packaging design creation.

Fresh & Easy's 'fresh&easy green things' "eco-friendly" household cleaning products and paper goods lines join similar private brand lines it's competitors, such as Safeway Stores, Inc., Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's and others, offer in their respective stores.

Both the "eco-friendly" household cleaner and paper goods categories have been expanding significantly over the last few years in the U.S.

For example, among the numerous national brand leaders in the "eco-friendly" household cleaners category are: Seventh Generation - one of the creators and a pioneer company and brand in the category - Clorox, with its "Green Works" brand line of household cleaners; and San Francisco-based Method, which is a fast-growing company and brand in the "eco-friendly" household cleaning products, laundry detergent and related green products' categories.

Seventh Generation is also one of the pioneer's in the "eco-friendly" paper goods category, having introduced its first line of such products around two decades ago. Another popular national brand in the category is the "Green Forest" brand of household paper products, which has significant distribution in grocery stores throughout the U.S.

The "eco-friendly" household cleaning and paper products categories are also being expanded, both in distribution and in sales, by the introduction of private brand lines by retailers like Safeway Stores, Inc., which debuted the first 28 SKUs of its 'Bright Green' brand of household cleaning products, paper goods and related products in 2008.

Safeway has over 1,700 stores in the U.S. and Canada. That extensive store-base allowed Safeway to go from zero distribution of its 'Bright Green' line to having the private brand on the shelves of one thousand-plus stores in a very short period of time. In contrast, it can take non-retailer manufacturers-marketers of similar brands and products years to gain distribution in one thousand-plus stores, although that's changing as the categories grow and mature, and as demand becomes stronger for the "eco-friendly" products.

Tesco's Fresh & Easy currently has 172 stores in California, Nevada and Arizona. It's offering its 'fresh&easy green things' products in all those units. That, albeit on a smaller-scale than what's available to Safeway Stores, is still a significant and rapid expansion of  "eco-friendly" product availability, which adds to the growing distribution and sales in the categories.

And in the case of retailer's and their private brands in these still small but growing "eco-friendly" product categories, there's a benefit to owning the points of distribution - their stores - and the shelf space inside those stores.

Reader Resource

>Read other recent and past stories from our Private Brand Showcase feature at this link - .

>Click on the following links - , , , , , , , , , , ,  - to read a selection of past stories about food and grocery retailing and Earth Day, along with other "green" aspects of food retailing.

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