Upmarket own-brand Taste the Difference is to be re-launched, as Sainsbury’s today became the third supermarket in three days to unveil an own-brand range.
The Jamie Oliver advertised products will have several new lines and a whole new range of restaurant quality meals for two called Taste the Difference Bistro.
Sainsbury’s will be releasing 26 new beers, wines and spirits as part of the launch and the whole range will now total over 1,000 products.
Mike Coupe, Sainsbury’s Group Commercial Director, said: “The re-launched Taste the Difference range is our biggest ever investment in own brand and represents a great opportunity for us.
“All of our products are either tested on customers or selected by experts and we have acted upon their suggestions to ensure each offers the very best in both quality and flavour.”
“Ten years after its groundbreaking launch, this new range represents a huge transformation for Taste the Difference. Our development teams have travelled across the world and we believe that this is the best range of premium food available in any supermarket.”
It has been a busy week for releasing new own-brands, with Ocado launching its first own label products on Monday and Asda revealing a transformation of its branded products yesterday.
This sudden surge of supermarkets promoting in-house produce may have economic significance, with grocers reacting to struggling sales and rising inflation.
Sam Hart, Equity Research Analyst at Charles Stanley, said: “The own brand re-launches are probably one of a number of initiatives being implemented to boost like-for-like sales growth, which has slowed sharply in recent quarters.
“Own brand ranges generally tend to be higher gross margin, so driving own brand sales is also a way to support operating margins.”
Although these three seemingly similar announcements were made in the space of three days, each retailer has unique reasons for promoting its own-brand products.
Sainsbury’s is targeting increased share in the quality foods market and its launch is more of a tweak to the model than a total revolution.
Neil Saunders, Consulting Director of Verdict Research, commented: “Sainsbury’s move is about the enhancement of the top end of its offer. In the battle for selling premium end food Waitrose is the clear winner with Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer close behind.
“Those players have a quality heritage which means their demographic base and positioning is favourable to selling premium foods.”
Asda’s re-launch is more drastic and is focused on rehabilitating its reputation as a grocer after it suffered two successive quarters of falling like-for-like sales.
Nick Bubb, Retail Analyst at Arden Partners, said: “The Asda news is more significant, reflecting the fact that market share is under pressure, because of the perception that their food is cheap but low quality. Perceptions take a long time to change but they have to start somewhere.”
Ocado is a grocer with a point to prove and by making its first foray into own-brand groceries it may be trying to send a message to the market that it is ready to mix it with the big boys.
Saunders continued: “There is also an element of Ocado wanting to show its own brand is strong enough to be put on everyday groceries. The difficulty here is how far they can push such development without annoying Waitrose; unlike the other grocers, Ocado does not have a completely free hand in own label development.