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    Supervalu Launches Wild Harvest National Organic, Natural Foods Brand

    With its failed Sunflower Markets format still a vivid memory, Supervalu bows a proprietary line of affordable organic and natural productsonths later.

    Although its short-lived tenure with organicnatural supermarkets failed to meet expectations, Supervalu is delivering on a promise it made to apply what it learned from the experience and utilize it elsewhere in the organization, with the national launch of a new house brand line of organic and natural products.

    The new proprietary Wild Harvest brand, which will cover a wide assortment of products across numerous food categories, will make its debut this month in the aisles of both the company's corporately owned grocery banners, and the independently owned supermarkets its also supplies, Supervalu spokeswoman Haley Meyer told Progressive Grocer.

    Although the Minneapolis-based retailer's rollout of a house brand organic and natural line trails other national and regional conventional industry counterparts in launching a signature natural and organics line, its selection is said to be among the largest and most competitively priced. It also represents the first major brand initiative for Supervalu since its historic acquisition of select Albertsons properties in June 2006.

    Initially slated to feature roughly 150 items -- ranging from fresh foods like milk, eggs, meat and fresh produce to center store stalwarts like pastas and sauces, cookies, crackers, cereal and juice - the line is positioned to meet or beat competitors' private label organic prices by approximately 15 percent, the grocer said.

    Long term, Supervalu officials envision that the brand will include some 250 to 300 products across various categories.

    "With the Wild Harvest brand, we're focused on helping consumers 'organify their world' by delivering a wide assortment of affordable, fresh, healthy and wholesome foods at their primary grocery shopping destination," said Adam Graham, Wild Harvest brand manager.

    "Now, the entire family meal can be organic - at a lower cost - from products conveniently available at a local SUPERVALU-owned supermarket," Graham said.

    Supervalu said it launched the new line in response to surging consumer demand for organic and natural foods, a market that has grown 10 to 15 percent annually over the past 15 years across all retail channels, according to 2006 Organic Industry Trends Data, Cannondale Associates, and 2007 Supervalu Organization Opportunity Study by AC Nielsen.

    The launch comes just two months after Supervalu abruptly shuttered its Sunflower Markets in Columbus, Ohio, Chicago and Indianapolis, effectively retiring the retail format. The smallish-footprint Sunflower banner was designed to be easier to navigate and shop than larger conventional stores, and positioned as a less-expensive organic food option.

    At one point, Supervalu had planned to open as many as 50 Sunflower Markets by 2011, but ultimately scrapped those plans in a bid to cut its losses and move on.

    "The Wild Harvest launch demonstrates Supervalu's renewed focus on being a more customer-centric organization," said Duncan Mac Naughton, Supervalu's e.v.p./merchandising and marketing, noting significant research and consumer insights that went into the development of the brand.

    Pledging to adhere to the strictest definitions of organic and natural, all Wild Harvest products contain no artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors.

    Supervalu said to populate the line it has placed a high priority on collaborating with suppliers and farmers who emphasize sustainable farming/manufacturing practices and conservation, enhancing environmental quality for generations. Further, the line is certified to be organically grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides.

    The brand's integrated marketing campaign, a tagline urging consumers to "Organify Your World," debuts Sunday, April 13, and includes print, TV, radio, and online advertisements, as well as direct marketing.

    Supervalu operates 2,450 retail grocery locations operating under the Acme, Albertsons, bigg's, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher's, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw's/Star Market, Shop 'n Save, and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy brands.

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