Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Farms ... at Safeway? Grocer Launches its Newest Private Brand ... 'Safeway Farms'

Private Brand Showcase

Farms ... At Safeway?

The answer to the sentence above is yes, if the specific question is ... What's the name of Safeway Stores' newest private brand.

Pleasanton, California-based Safeway Stores, Inc., which we've nicknamed the "Private Brand Factory" because of its prolific practice of creating new food and grocery brands, is this week launching its newest own brand - "Safeway Farms" - which it's debuting on a line of packaged fresh produce items and salads.

We counted around 17 SKUs in the fresh produce and packaged lettuce/salad categories under the new Safeway Farms fresh produce brand in store visits.

Those items include fresh produce category staples like packaged Red Leaf, Green Leaf and Romain lettuce, bagged spinach, and petite baby carrots (pictured at top and below), along with bagged salad blends - American Blend, Spring Mix and Italian Mix, for example - salad kits, like Caesar and Southwestern Ranch, and ready-to-eat salad bowls in four varieties.

We also spotted one Safeway Farms steam-in-the-bag SKU, which is a steam-and-eat vegetable medley item.

The grocer's new Safeway Farms brand also features a selection of ready-to-eat salad bowls, called "Safeway Farms Cafe Bowl," in varieties including Cranberry-Walnut, Cobb and two others.

A list of the Safeway Farms' SKUs we've identified is at the end of this piece.

Safeway Stores hasn't announced its new private brand to the press via a press release or statement. Therefore it's likely you're reading about Safeway Farms for the first time in Fresh & Easy Buzz.

With the addition of Safeway Farms to its store brand portfolio, Safeway Stores, Inc. now offers three private brands in its fresh produce departments. In addition to the new brand, the others include - O' Organics (for organic packaged produce) and Eating Right, which is the retailer's healthy foods brand.

Safeway Stores' also offers a few packaged produce items under its "Safeway" value brand. The "Safeway" brand will go away in produce however, in favor of Safeway Farms, we're told.

Dual corporate name, no corporate name PB strategy

Safeway Farms is the second new private brand the supermarket chain has introduced this year that includes the the "Safeway" corporate name as part of the brand name.

The other Safeway name-inclusive brand is Safeway Kitchens, which we wrote about here in May. The brand featuring the corporate name was launched earlier this year, featuring a variety of bread and bakery items. The supermarket chain recently extended the Safeway Kitchens brand, which we said in the May 2011 story it would do, from the bread and bakery items into a two or three SKU line of breakfast cereals.

The Northern California-based grocer now offers four private brands featuring the Safeway name. Those brands are: "Safeway" (it's everyday value store brand), Safeway Select (a premium-oriented brand), Safeway Kitchens (so far in the bread/baked goods and breakfast cereal categories), and now Safeway Farms, which it's debuting in the fresh produce category.

At the other end of its private brand spectrum, Safeway Stores, Inc. offers numerous brands that don't include the "Safeway" name as a part of the brand name.

Those brands include: 'O Organics, which has become the leading organic foods brand in the U.S. with over $1 billion in annual sales; Eating Right (healthy foods) and Open Nature, the natural foods brand the supermarket chain introduced early this year with a line of fresh meats and poultry, and has since expanded into multiple categories encompassing perishables (deli, dairy), bakery (including a full line of breads), frozen foods and dry grocery (salad dressings, breakfast cereals, cookies and crackers and more).

Additional non-Safeway labeled private brands include: Signature Cafe (ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat fresh-prepared foods); Primo Taglio (lunch meats, cheese and related perishable deli items); Rancher's Reserve (fresh beef in the meat department); Waterfront Bistro (fresh and frozen packaged fish and seafood); Lucerne (dairy products); mom to mom (a line of baby products including disposable diapers, infant formula and toiletries); Priority Pet Care (pet supplies); and Bright Green, which is a line of environmental-friendly or "green" household product (cleaners, paper goods, light bulbs) and general merchandise items.

In early summer Safeway also introduced a new value-priced and value-positioned private brand called Pantry Essentials.  So far we've seen a handful of consumable items under the new brand, including toaster pastries and pancake mix in the dry grocery category, and packaged hot dogs in fresh meat.

Safeway Stores has also replaced the non-consumable products it previously offered under its Basic Red brand, which before that was called Value Red, with the Pantry Essentials brand. The products are household items - toilet tissue, paper towels, facial tissue, garbage bags, paper plates, plastic cups and a few others.

Safeway sells its 'O Organics and Eating Right brands to other retailers in the U.S. and overseas through an entrepreneurial venture business it created in 2009. It plans to offer its fast-growing (in SKU-count and dollar sales) Open Nature natural foods' brand as part of that brand marketing and wholesaling business in the near future, a source in a position to know at the grocer's headquarters in Pleasanton recently told Fresh & Easy Buzz.

Meanwhile, the addition of the Safeway Farms' brand and the new produce items under it demonstrates that Safeway Stores, Inc. plans to continue extending the "Safeway" product brand name (and corporate name) throughout store departments - it's in the dry grocery, bakery, perishables, frozen food and general merchandise categories under the Safeway and Safeway Kitchens brand names already - along with putting a focus on its various non-Safeway-named private brands, the two most recent being the price and value focused Pantry Essentials brand and the value-added Open Nature, both of which were launched this year.

Below are the Safeway Farms' brand produce SKUs we've identified:

Packaged Specialty Produce
Safeway Farms Petite Carrots
Safeway Farms Steam In Bag Vegetable Medley

Packaged Lettuce
Safeway Farms Romain Lettuce Singles
Safeway Farms Hearts of Romain
Safeway Farms Green Leaf Lettuce
Safeway Farms Red Leaf Lettuce

Safeway Farms (packaged) Lettuce Mixes
Spring Mix
American Blend
Baby Spinach

Safeway Farms (packaged) Salad Kits
Apple, Blue Cheese & Pecan
Southwestern Ranch
Italian Salad
Supreme Caesar

Safeway Farms Cafe (salad) Bowls
Cranberry-Walnut Salad
Chef Salad
Cobb Salad
Spinach Dijon Salad

Related Stories

June 19, 2011: Safeway Has A Picnic in San Francisco Featuring the 'World's Longest Picnic Table' to Showcase its 'Open Nature' Natural Foods' Brand

May 28, 2011: At The 'Brand Factory': Safeway Stores' Launches Newest Private Brand - 'Safeway Kitchens'

February 7, 2011: Getting There First...Plus, Are Tesco's Fresh & Easy and Safeway Traveling Down A Similar Private Brand Aisle?

January 5, 2011: Safeway Adds 'Open Nature' to its Natural-Organic-Healthy Foods' Private Brand Portfolio

April 8, 2011: The Branded 'Signature Cafe' in Safeway Stores' Soon to Open 'Social Safeway' in Washington D.C. Should Turn A Few Heads

July 21, 2010: 'Sipsational' & 'Quenchtastic': Safeway Introduces New 21-Flavor Line of Soft Drinks Under 'refreshe' Private Brand

Click on this link -  - to read additional stories about Safeway.

Click on this link - - to read past stories in our 'Private Brand Showcase' feature.

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