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Kroger launches new ‘global’ brand

BY Mike Troy

CINCINNATI — Kroger has a history of successful private brand launches and it is putting that track record to the test with a new globally inspired  line called HemisFares.

The names HemisFares doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but it plays nicely on the word hemisphere to capture the essence of a globally inspired food brand. The company said the new products will be imported directly from the most food-rich regions of the world and that HemisFares offers shoppers a guided tour of the best-of-the-best tastes the planet has to offer. The brand was launched with 27 Italian products and plans call for more products from other countries such as Spain and Japan to be added soon.

"Just like American barbeque can mean many different flavors: spicy, smoky, more of a vinegar base, Italian food changes considerably as you travel across the country," said Gil Phipps, Kroger vice president of corporate brands. "Imagine landing in Italy and getting an in-depth, guided tour from village to village, experiencing the single best example of the most beloved foods from each region. Our goal with HemisFares is to bring only the best food finds to our customers."

If the company is successful with that goal it stands to further deepen the penetration of store brands as a percentage of total sales. In 2014, private brands accounted for 25.5% of Kroger’s annual sales of $108.5 billion. Clearly, Kroger knows what it doing when it comes to building brands. The best most recent example that has won the company acclaim is the Simple Truth line of natural and organic products. Introduced in the fall of 2012, by the end of last year sales had already surpassed $1 billion.

It is unlikely that HemisFares will enjoy such a strong rate of sales growth given the more limited appeal country-specific foods. However, the company is committed to finding the best of what the planet has to offer and bringing it to domestic shoppers.

"Whether you're epi-curious or just like eating and sharing incredibly tasty food, when you see our HemisFares brand, you can trust the product within is the best this planet has to offer – bar none," said Phipps. "We're sure customers will enjoy them as much as we enjoy finding them.”

Kroger said it is working side-by-side with the best food connoisseurs, some with decades of experience, to identify the most delectable, regional culinary treasures from around the world. Kroger's Corporate Brands team travels to those regions, diving into what makes each edible treasure and locality unique.

The packaging on each product is also unique, as it tells the story of the food find. It takes customers on a journey, explaining precisely where it came from and what makes that product the best-of-the-best. Each HemisFares item has a "find number" on the packaging to direct customers to other similar products in the HemisFares brand that they may enjoy.

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