The parent company of Winn-Dixie announced Thursday that it is revamping its generic brands as competition continues to heat up in the ever-expanding market for groceries.
About 3,000 private-label products will be changed, said officials at Southeastern Grocers, which is based in Jacksonville and operates stores under four brand.
Winn-Dixie has six grocery stores in Manatee County and several locations in Sarasota County.
The company has tested more than 2,330 of its private-label products and about 2,260 of those have been reformulated, Southeastern Grocers president and CEO Ian McLeod said.
“I was disappointed in the quality of our private-label products. It was one of the first things I noticed when I came to the U.S.,” McLeod, a Scottish businessman who has been running Southeastern Grocers for 20 months, told the Tampa Bay Times.
If you can’t taste the difference, why pay the difference.
Ian McLeod, the president and CEO of Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of Winn-Dixie.
“Private label brands have been around for many years and they’re known for being the cheap alternative,” he added. “But that’s not the position we want to achieve.”
Some of the overhauled items already are on store shelves, while others will be available in the coming months. According to McLeod, Southeastern Grocers wants to price its private-label products up to 30 percent below name-brand items without sacrificing quality.
Private labels have taken off since the Great Recession, according to Nielsen research, which shows close to 75 percent say they are a good alternative to name brands. Moreover, discount competitors such as Aldi, Save-A-Lot and Walmart have forced Winn-Dixie’s parent company to overhaul its house label, McLeod said.
The percentage of consumers who say private-label brands are a good alternative to name brands, according to Nielsen research.
Southeastern Grocers plans to offer three private-label product lines:
▪ SE Grocers Essentials, which will offer “dependable quality at an affordable price.”
▪ SE Grocers, which “have been developed to quality benchmarks as close, if not better than the taste and quality currently offered by the established brands ... but at significantly lower prices.”
▪ Prestige, which will offer “an indulgent experience, at an incredible price.”
“If you can’t taste the difference, why pay the difference,” McLeod said.
Winn-Dixie has 518 grocery stores, 145 liquor stores and 393 in-store pharmacies throughout Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. Company officials said the new product lines also will be available at sister supermarkets Bi-Lo, Harvey’s and Fresco y Mas.