BOSTON -- Stop & Shop Cos. redesigned its private-label packaging and is using the label rollout to market its store brands to consumers.
The chain first alerted its customers to the change last month when it devoted a full page of its weekly circular to products sporting the new look. The new packaging uses more color and graphics than the old, but still relies on the Stop & Shop logo.
The chain is expected to launch a major private-label sale in October with the revamped label as a centerpiece.
The July ad proclaimed, "Great new look! Same great quality and value!" It told readers that Stop & Shop's private label offers "an extensive variety that just keeps growing," and that "over 400 Stop & Shop brand products now use recycled packaging."
The chain alerted shoppers to look for signs in the store pointing to the new packaging.
Officials at Stop & Shop could not be reached for comment, but local observers told SN that the chain decided more than a year ago to seize the opportunity to update its labels as it complied with new federal labeling laws implemented earlier this year.
"There was a delay because of a discrepancy on what the labeling requirements were going to be," said one local observer. "Once that was decided, they went into full gear on it."
Implementation of the new label probably won't be completed until later this year or early next. "Stop & Shop has tried to manage the packaging materials with the manufacturers, so it is coordinated with manufacturing runs," said one New England observer.
Items with the new label already include high-volume commodity products such as soft drinks, tortilla chips, popcorn, potato chips, toaster pastries and frozen pizza, as well as dairy items such as milk, sour cream, yogurt, cottage cheese and butter.
"In addition to updating the style of the packaging, I believe Stop & Shop is trying to group like commodities," said a local observer. "For instance, private-label pasta would all have the same color scheme on the box."
Observers said they expect Stop & Shop to continue to be aggressive on private-label pricing and promotion. "Stop & Shop does a lot of promotional activity. They do a lot of couponing, although they do run straight sales as well," said one source.
Stop & Shop's private-label program is considered a standout in New England. "Stop & Shop has an extensive private label and has a strong following with the customers," said one observer.
"Their merchandising of private label is probably better than most, so they take it a little more seriously," said another.