As part of our dedicated Private Label Issue, ESM spoke to industry leaders at a number of retailers across the continent, about why they believe private label continues to set the pace in European retail. This article first appeared in ESM's May/June 2023 edition.
The current inflationary situation has led many customers to embrace private labels. What trends have you noticed at your company?
At the end of 2022, we already knew that the challenges we were going to face in 2023 would be even bigger than in previous years. The uncertainty of tomorrow, coupled with rising inflation – which has been with us for some time – has led us to make different decisions, but we have also noticed that consumers’ behaviour has changed.
We had predicted it, and we started to prepare for it because we know how to dynamically respond to challenges – and will continue to do so.
We continue to innovate to make sure that we are closer to our customers every day. Most importantly, we will continue to innovate within our product offer, introducing many new products to make sure that we create great value for our customers with a fair price.
In what product categories have you seen the highest private-label growth, and why?
At Żabka, we are building an ecosystem of convenient solutions that support the everyday lives of millions of our customers. Our promise to our customers is that we free up your time by taking off your hands the daily inconveniences and challenges that are so time consuming and energy consuming that you can’t find a moment for yourself. Our brands and products are visible example of bringing this philosophy to life.
We are very satisfied with the double-digit high sales growth in the QMS (quick meal solutions) category, which consists mainly of private label. Our QMS portfolio includes several hundred products under 14 private-label brands.
As we consistently develop our range, we focus on high-quality-ingredient ready meals for every occasion during the day, offered in convenient and ready-to-eat and/or -heat packaging. This includes, for example, Tomcio Paluch sandwiches, Szamamm lunch and dinner meals, liquid meals and smoothies under the Foodini brand, Dobra Karma salads and lunch boxes, cold drinks and juices sold under the Wycisk brand, and of course hot takeaway meals and snacks served at Żabka Café.
The hot dog remains the iconic hot snack served at Żabka, with the highest number of loyal and returning customers. In 2022, we sold approximately 74 million hot dogs – 34% more than the previous year – averaging three hot dogs per second.
How are you seeking to adapt your private-label offering to cater to both value-hungry and premium shoppers?
We prioritise understanding consumer needs and strive to provide a carefully selected, tailored assortment and well-thought-out brands and products, perfect for on-the-go consumption or for heating up at home or the office. Our products are delicious and require minimal preparation – this offer has become Żabka’s trademark.
The Le’Frog brand, launched in 2021, is a premium private brand of fresh, ready-made meals, which are prepared by chefs following original recipes and are perfect for customers seeking light, diverse, and high-quality meals made from fresh ingredients. The range includes lunch dishes, salads, breakfast snacks and desserts, all with a short shelf life of less than 24 hours from preparation to the store shelf, and an expiration date of only 48 hours.
What new private-label product launches or campaigns have proven particularly successful over the past year?
We love to surprise our customers with innovative offerings. Żabka provides a wide range of unique products created specifically for us, and this diversity is both attractive and appreciated by our customers.
Two innovative, limited-time product launches based on our iconic hot dog, which were particularly successful, are the Black Dog, a black hot dog prepared for Black Friday, and the Love Dog, a pink hot dog for Valentine’s Day 2023. Both products received a positive response from customers and generated incremental sales and appreciation.
Another unprecedented success was the ‘You’re Hungry? Try It!’ campaign, both in terms of sales and brand reputation.
Throughout the year, we offered a couple of editions. During each, we offered our customers three delectable meal options at low prices. Our offer under this campaign aligns with Żabka’s image as a place where customers can save valuable time while enjoying high-quality ready-to-eat/-heat products.
© 2023 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest private-label news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones and Robert McHugh. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.