As part of our dedicated Private Label Issue, ESM spoke to industry leaders at a number of retailers across Europe about the innovations that they are bringing to the table, and why they believe that private label can be a kingmaker in a changing retail landscape. This article first appeared in ESM May/June 2022.
Henrik Burkal, Chief Executive, REMA 1000 Denmark
Do you think that consumer preference for private labels increased during the pandemic?
Yes, definitely. During the pandemic, our customers had much more time for shopping for groceries because Denmark had several lockdowns, where other retailers – such as non-food-retailers and the whole sector for eating out – were closed. This resulted in increased sales in the grocery sector – and increased curiosity from our customers to try out our private labels as well.
Despite the current inflation situation, we have not changed the strategy or composition of our private-label range. We work every day to sell great goods of good quality to our customers.
How have you sought to improve the ‘eco’ credentials of your private-label offering, given increased demand for sustainable options?
Discount with value and values has always been part of our strategy, and has therefore also always been an important priority in our private-label range. We are increasingly seeing that sustainability is a basic condition for the product to sell, and not just an add-on.
What has been the biggest private-label innovation at your company over the past year? Are there any new-product launches that have proved particularly successful?
We have continuously added so-called ‘food waste products’ to our private-label range – for example, second-grade fruits and vegetables, spring rolls, and ingredients in soups. These are products that our manufacturer would have previously sold for use in animal feed, but which now achieve a higher value and are used for what they are meant for, namely food for humans.
We have also introduced products with more sustainable packaging, like the REMA 1000 cleaner for dishwasher machines – a product featuring packaging made of plastic waste from old fishing nets.