- Ahold Delhaize USA has partnered with Italian grocer COOP Italia to offer a limited release of its Fior Fiore premium Italian products to U.S. consumers this fall, according to Supermarket News. Fior Fiore products such as olives, bruschetta, pasta, pastries and assorted snacks will be available at Food Lion, Giant Food, Giant/Martin’s, Stop & Shop stores, and online through Peapod.
- The decision to feature Fior Fiore brand Italian products reflects U.S. consumers’ ongoing preference for Italian cuisine, with a study by Statista showing that 60% of consumers aged 18 to 64 eat Italian food at least once a month.
- Coop Italia is Italy's largest supermarket operator, with 1,200 stores and hypermarkets located around the country. Coop Italian Food, which oversees more than 4,000 SKUs, including the Fior Fiore brand, was recently formed by the cooperative grocer to expand its store brands internationally.
Ahold Delhaize's private label partnership with Coop Italia hits on a few key consumer trends right now, including the popularity of Italian cuisine and growing demand for premium store brands and limited-time offers.
According to research from Nielsen, premium private label sales account for nearly one-third of dollar volume and drove 8% of the growth in the segment in 2017. Retailers like Kroger and Southeastern Grocers have rolled out premium lines in recent months. And some releases have centered on Italian cuisine, like Walmart's Sam's Club Italia brand, which the retailer launched last year in concert with the Italian Trade Agency.
Shoppers are also gravitating towards limited-time releases, and retailers are responding with everything from exclusive beer lines to tote bags and even an entire slate of exclusive national brand products, in the case of Dollar General. Ahold Delhaize runs its own Limited Time Originals program that features new store brand food products centered on unique flavors like salted caramel and toasted coconut.
There's also the fact that Fior Fiore brand products are made without artificial ingredients, contain no GMOs, or hydrogenated fats — attributes that should appeal to the growing number of U.S. consumers looking for clean labels and free-from foods.
“This is a versatile product line that offers a gourmet, balanced selection of both kitchen staples and indulgent treats and snacks,” Juan De Paoli, senior vice president of private brands with Ahold Delhaize's Retail Business Services, said in a release.
Private brands now outpace national brands in sales growth, and retailers are spending more time and money than ever on this part of the business. As grocers continue to evolve their private label selections, look for more creative partnerships, limited-time releases and other roll-outs that will help them stand out from the competition.