Family-owned food label

A family-owned wholesale grocery business has launched its own label in southern Ontario to help independent stores compete against the supermarket chains' private labels.Philip Lanzarotta, vice-president of marketing for Lanzarotta Wholesale Grocers, says the strategy behind Our Very Own brand products...

A family-owned wholesale grocery business has launched its own label in southern Ontario to help independent stores compete against the supermarket chains’ private labels.

Philip Lanzarotta, vice-president of marketing for Lanzarotta Wholesale Grocers, says the strategy behind Our Very Own brand products is to give independent food store customers a reason to shop for groceries in owner-operated outlets.

Lanzarotta says too frequently consumers shop for perishables such as meat and fruit in the independents, because of quality and service, but switch to the chains for their groceries.

He says unless shoppers can be persuaded to buy their groceries at the independents these stores will shrink back to being tiny niche players.

By stocking Our Very Own products, independent food store operators can compete with such private labels as President’s Choice, Master Choice and Our Compliments.

Lanzarotta says promotion for Our Very Own will be print and in-store.

Beginning Nov. 26 for three weeks, lwg will run ads aimed at women 25 to 55 in Starweek magazine’s Chef’s Showcase section. Starweek is the tv listings magazine of The Toronto Star.

For the independent food stores he is supplying, Lanzarotta says there will be p-o-s material and a product sampling program.

All Our Very Own products should be in stores by the first week of December.

The line-up includes soft drinks, Los Alamos Salsa and Los Alamos round tortilla chips, Insatiable chocolate chip cookies, and Peanut Explosion peanut butter.

Lanzarotta cannot say the value of sales for the first year of Our Very Own, but notes at the first trade introduction in Toronto recently, independent grocers booked 50,000 cases of product.

lwg, 40 years old in 1995, supplies independent stores in southern Ontario from Kingston in the east to the Niagara region and Brantford in the south and southwest, respectively, and to Midland in the north.

Lanzarotta says he hopes to supply all independents in the province in the next five years.