In the most recent edition of ESM, we spoke to retailers across Europe about their private label strategies, including chatting to Raffael Li Preti, vice-president of the fresh business unit at Delhaize, about the importance of collaboration. This article first appeared in ESM Issue 3 2020.
Belgian retailer Delhaize, part of the Dutch-based Ahold Delhaize group, has made a number of shrewd investments in recent years, such as the to-go focused Fresh Atelier, as well as encouraging shoppers to eat healthier.
ESM spoke to Raffael Li Preti, vice-president of Delhaize’s fresh business unit, about the how the business is similarly seeking to embolden its private-label offer.
ESM: What consumer trends are influencing private-label development in Belgium at present?
Raffael Li Preti: At the moment, it’s clear that the coronavirus is going to have a large influence on what we do in the coming months, and even years. The world after this crisis will definitely have changed, but if you look at the trends in the marketplace that were around before the crisis, many of them will be reinforced.
A growing trend in Belgium is around ‘local’. After the crisis, I think this will be even stronger. Also, health is a major trend, not only in Belgium, but all across Europe.
We have communicated a lot about Nutri-Score labelling, and we see that there is a clear link between Nutri-Score and better sales. So, we are undertaking the enormous job of reformulating a lot of products, together with our suppliers. That’s also linked with clean-labelling, particularly with regard to processed foods.
Elsewhere, something that’s not linked to private brands, specifically, is the sustainability aspect. It’s important to reduce plastic and to reduce the impact on the environment, certainly in fruit and vegetables.
Does Delhaize use the provenance of its products as a badge of honour?
I think it’s already in our way of working, to use Belgian products or local products as much as possible. Maybe one thing we could be doing better is to communicate that. If you look at countries such as the UK or France, that’s more visible – you have French colours on the packaging and things like that. That’s something I think we could be doing better in Belgium. The demand is there, so we need to develop more of a marketing approach around that.
Does the development of the Fresh Atelier concept give you additional opportunities to grow your private-label offering?
It’s clear that the world is changing and the way people consume food is changing – there’s an increased trend towards food to go and ready meals. That’s something that is outside the classic retail model, but that we, as retailers, want to get a share of. That’s why we created Fresh Atelier, and it has inspired us to create new ranges, such as fresh salads, and roll them out into our other banners, such as Proxy and Shop&Go.
Fresh Atelier started a bit as an experiment, and it is a way to test a lot of things, and to see what’s happening in the market.
How do you intend to use private label as part of your future strategy at Delhaize?
Private brands are an important pillar for us, but I think they will be even more important in the coming months and years. So, if we want to be a leader, we need to work more closely with our partners on product development.
We are developing strong partnerships with our suppliers, so we can work collectively to grow together and test products together. I think this will make a real difference in the future.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.