- IGA has appointed Robin VanDenabeele as director of IGA Exclusive Brands, according to a company announcement. In her new role, VanDenabeele will be responsible for the organization’s private label products, including an ongoing redesign.
- Before joining IGA, VanDenabeele spent four years overseeing the launch of Fresh Thyme’s private label brand, which involved launching more than 1,800 SKUs that received 30 artistic awards. The brand generated $100 million in sales under VanDenabeele's leadership.
- The hire comes as IGA prepares to test a new label design for its IGA Exclusive Brands line. The new label marks the first revamp of the brand in ten years.
While IGA Exclusive Brands has a strong reputation for quality among its consumers, it falls short when it comes to the look and feel of the brand, IGA found in its research. Now the company has set out to reinvigorate the product design and incorporate new offerings into the private label line to make it feel more innovative and on trend.
"Our goal is to reignite the IGA brand and get consumers to fill their pantries with all things IGA," VanDenabeele said in a press release announcing her hire. "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.”
The new line will harmonize with IGA’s new Local Equals Fresh marketing and merchandising platform, which demonstrates IGA’s commitment to purchase products from regional family farms whenever possible. Factor in VanDenabeele’s prior experience at natural grocer Fresh Thyme, and it’s clear that IGA is seeking to promote a fresh, modern experience for shoppers.
VanDenabeele's award-winning branding experience will be an asset as retailers increasingly focus on packaging to attract shoppers. Target’s latest private wine label features impressionist artwork, while H-E-B’s latest store launch in Texas showcases art installations. Consumers, particularly millennials, are after a new look and feel for products and don't respond to traditional marketing messages and approaches.
Investing in a private label revamp is a move that seems long overdue. Experts suggest brands be upgraded every three to five years in order to stay relevant, putting IGA well behind the mark.
Other major retailers have shown that keeping private labels fresh is a top priority, and some are going beyond a basic reboot, as evidenced by Kroger’s decision to seek out a creative agency of record. California chain Raley’s is also updating its private label line, including packaging redesigns.
The tables have turned for private label in recent years. What was once seen as a value brand is now outpacing national brands due to retailers' emphasis on everyday and premium private label lines. The Private Label Manufacturers Association reported that private label brands yield roughly $120 billion a year. Private label products boost customer loyalty and drive in higher profit margins, and this recent surge is largely driven by millennials that lack brand loyalty and are more price sensitive.