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America's Largest Grocery Chain Just Launched a New Budget-Friendly Line of Products

Keep your eyes peeled for this signage on your next shopping trip.

Food prices have gotten out of control (hello, inflation), but America's largest grocery chain is doing something to help customers nab its best deals.

In a recent earnings call, Kroger announced that it is launching Smart Way, a budget-friendly private label that will include about 150 products. The newly branded items will be easy to spot due to the brightly colored signage, which will immediately signal to consumers that the pricing on the items is a great deal.

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Kroger already has 17 private label lines, including Simple Truth, Home Chef, and Private Selection, which focus on prepared foods, organic products, and gourmet selections. But the chain is updating its branding and has whittled the selection down to two labels—Smart Way for all non-perishables and Heritage Farms for fresh foods and dairy products.

The Smart Way label currently includes well-priced canned goods, jarred pickles, dish soaps, breads, napkins, and more. Other items are expected to be available in the fall of 2022.

"We are confident Smart Way will have something for everyone," says Juan De Paoli, vice president of Our Brands for Kroger in a statement.

Smart Way has an orange-and-white label, and it's easy to decipher the clear messaging with the taglines: "Savings in the right direction" and "Smart Ways to save every day."

"As our customers face an ongoing inflationary environment, we know they are looking to stretch their dollars further than ever before," says Stuart Aitken, Kroger's senior vice president and chief merchant and marketing officer. "Smart Way is an exciting, eye-pleasing product line that will be easy for customers to find. By adding a simplified opening price point brand strategy to Our Brands portfolio, we will further cater to every customer every time."

Smart Way comes at a time when 41% of shoppers are buying more store brands than they did before the pandemic, according to a new study from the Food Industry Association. And 77% say they will continue purchasing store brands in the future.

It seems that Kroger is definitely following the trends carefully . . . and successfully. In the 2022 first quarter, the company had year-over-year gains of 8% in net sales, with the first half of 2022 sales totaling $79.24 billion. This is up nearly 9% from the previous year. They know the smart way to do it.

Danielle Braff
Danielle Braff is a freelance writer based in Chicago. Read more about Danielle