A Fresh New Look for IGA Exclusive Brands

Mar 20, 2019

Private label products have been around since retail’s earliest days, characterized as a cheaper—and often lesser quality—option for shoppers. And while private label has certainly had some popularity surges over time, the growth of ecommerce and relentless store expansion over the past decade has given shoppers access to higher quality and more innovative private label lines, leading to a private label revolution the likes of which have never been seen before.

“If you look at private label sales versus traditional brands, private label is growing as a total percentage and growing faster than the rate of grocery sales globally," IGA CEO John Ross says. “That’s a trend we expect to increase dramatically as retailers focus more of their efforts on differentiating through the quality of their private label line.”

So, what does this trend mean for IGA Exclusive Brand, a private label line with nearly a century of being a trusted brand of choice for IGA shoppers? In short, opportunity, says Ross—providing IGA can align the quality and reputation of its product with the look and feel of a modern, innovative product line.

Where Does IGA Stack Up?

Contrary to the Nielsen data illustrating the increased popularity in private labels, IGA Exclusive Brands haven’t, up to this point, been matching the trends.

To identify why IGA’s private label line wasn’t growing in popularity, last fall Ross initiated a systematic research process analyzing the brand’s quality, shopper interest, design, marketing, and the range of offerings.


What the Research Says


After many rounds of testing that compared the IGA Exclusive Brand to national brands, other private labels, and even international brands, they confirmed that the IGA quality is outstanding.

According to Ross, shoppers "trust that the IGA brand is going to be higher quality, and taste better versus other private label options. And in fact, our trust scores were at or above many national brands. To get a trust score like that on a private label brand is unheard of in branding."

Shopper Interest

The interest is strong, too. 69 percent of shoppers said they want the IGA Exclusive Brand products, with 25 percent saying they would shop elsewhere if IGA didn't have them. Ross says these findings prove that IGA is a brand to hold on to. "I’ve been in brands all my career," Ross says, "and many of them have become billion dollar brands in their own right, but we never got scores like these shoppers were giving our IGA Exclusive Brand."

Here are just some of the findings:

69 percent of shoppers want IGA to have Exclusive Brand products

47 percent of shoppers want storewide selection of Exclusive Brand products

78 percent of shoppers trust IGA Exclusive Brand products more

25 percent of shoppers would shop elsewhere or less without Exclusive Brand

Current Design

After researching the quality, shopper interest, marketing, range of options, and design, the team determined the look of the brand was preventing the IGA Exclusive Brand sales from growing in comparison to other private labels.

Ross notes, "It's been 10 years since the label has had a significant redesign." He elaborates, “When I walk into an IGA store that stands for incredible service, quality products, commitment to fresh and local, and then I see an IGA product on the shelf that looks cheap and dated, you know we aren’t doing our part to give this product the support we need.”


The New Look

Knowing that the IGA Exclusive Brand quality is superior to other private labels and the shopper interest is surging, Ross tapped Greg Corey of Porchlight, an Atlanta-based retail design firm, to work with the team to create a fresh, modern look for the brand that would capture IGA's mission and commitment to local, fresh, and high quality products.

Corey and the IGA team prioritized IGA's "Local Equals Fresh" strategy. "It's not just the words," Corey says. "We had to figure out a way to visually communicate this so that when a consumer is shopping for these packages, that they believe and see and understand that without necessarily having to explain it."

The shopper research drove the team to create a brand mission for the product line, focusing on repositioning IGA as "one of the best products on the shelf at any cost," not just in IGA stores, but everywhere.

The mission is supported by a host of key attributes that will be called out on the product and/or in supplemental signage:

  • IGA offers a top quality product regularly measured against leading national and local competitor brands.
  • The Exclusive Brand has proven to be in demand among IGA shoppers who expect and receive great items only available at IGA.
  • IGA offers a double money back guarantee—the IGA Exclusive Brand’s quality reputation is one reason why people shop IGA.
  • IGA is committed to healthier products, working to remove ingredients shoppers don’t like and improve the attributes they increasingly crave.
  • Wherever possible, IGA commits to:
    • Natural—No or limited genetic modification.
    • Heart Healthy—No HFCS, low sodium, high protein, low fat.
    • Environmentally Friendly—BPA-free, recyclable packaging.
    • Locally Sourced—Wherever possible we buy from regional or local family farms.

The new look delivers strong IGA branding and correlates with the new in-store signage and marketing. Porchlight kept the recognizable IGA logo and the attention-grabbing red colors. The farm imagery, which conveys the fresh and local focus, received an update, too. There is more emphasis on product photography and clear, appealing images. The packaging and photography recall shopping at the farmers market, picking out fresh fruits and vegetables and putting them in a brown paper bag.


The Launch Timeline

Ross says there is still another round of research that will establish how the new design stands out as a set in the store, but the goal is to launch the new branding through a core number of SKUs this summer. The launch will include social media, television, blogs, food contests, and updated signage for store kits. "We're not marketing this like a private label," Ross says. "We're going to market this like a national brand."

The rollout and marketing efforts will be headed up by IGA’s new private label leader, Robin VanDenabeele, director of IGA Exclusive Brands. VanDenabeele spent the last four years launching a private label brand with over 1,800 SKUs for Midwest independent retail chain Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, which earned 30 artistic awards. She's ready to bring that experience, plus her background in analytics, market research, and category management to the IGA Exclusive Brand program.

“Connecting with the consumer on an emotional level while creating a rewarding brand experience is our top priority," says VanDenabeele. "Our goal is to reignite the IGA brand and get consumers to fill their pantries with all things IGA. To achieve this, we need to focus on household staples, while staying ahead of emerging trends to ensure our products are relevant to our customers.”

IGA already had top quality private label products that shoppers craved long before the trends shifted this way. Now is the perfect time to make the outside of the IGA Exclusive Brand packages reflect the quality products inside.


Want to learn more? Watch John Ross talk about the new label at the Rally.

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