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Behind SpartanNash’s New Curated Store Brand

Progressive Grocer talks to company’s creative services director about the launch of Finest Reserve
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
SpartanNash Finest Reserve
SpartanNash's new Finest Reserve line delivers a premium experience at an attainable price point.

SpartanNash’s product development group had a lot to consider when creating a new private label brand. For one thing, the retailer’s original store brand, Our Family, is one of the oldest in the country.

“The Our Family brand is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year, and there is a tremendous amount of trust in that name,” said Rick Weekley, senior director of creative services and Own Brand Marketing in a recent interview with Progressive Grocer. 

Weekley and the team at SpartanNash spent at least a year in the R&D process to bring the new Finest Reserve brand to shelf. The artisan-crafted, premium-style products are rolling out at SpartanNash-owned stores and at the independent stores that the company services in its wholesale business. Initial offerings include crafted frozen pizzas, upscale pastas, sauces, dressings and marinades, premium spices, salts and seasoning blends, chocolate and wine. 

[RELATED: Not Your Parents’ Store Brands]

To build on the legacy of the Our Family brand with a curated assortment of items, SpartanNash focused on the concept of attainable indulgence, especially pivotal during the past few years marked by ongoing inflation and cook-at-home preferences. “SpartanNash made a transition a few years ago to really become committed to customer-centric food solutions – everything starts with the shopper,” explained Weekley, noting that rigorous consumer research and testing went into the launch, from the portfolio name to the first products to be introduced.

Based on consumer demands and preferences, the Finest Reserve line was shaped by three core values: authenticity, culinary creativity and inclusivity through variety and accessible price points. “We wanted instant focus, but also wanted it to stand alone,” said Weekley. 

Early feedback from SpartanNash’s independent customers who got a first look at the Finest Reserve line at the company’s food solutions expo in Grand Rapids, Mich., last summer was positive. “We have customers at retail stores who are hungry from this solution,” Weekley reported.

In addition to the quality of the products, packaging is a signal that this is a curated yet accessible store brand line. “This is a passion area for me. I spent a lot of time working on the label design and shelf presence and, ultimately, the storytelling and marketing,” said Weekley, whose vocation was sparked by a middle school assignment to create a cereal box and brand. “One thing I am focused on and we are focused on as an organization is creating differentiation at shelf. We look at all of that – texture, embossing, stamping – to create the extra eye-catching element to elevate. That’s our mission when it comes to packaging.”

New products will continue to be added to the Finest Reserve line, including some seasonal chocolates for fall. “We want to keep it fresh, keep it on trend and create some surprise and delight for customers,” noted Weekley.

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based SpartanNash operates two complementary business segments – food wholesale and grocery retail. Its global supply chain network serves wholesale customers that include independent and chain grocers, national retail brands, e-commerce platforms, and U.S. military commissaries and exchanges. On the retail side, SpartanNash operates 144 brick-and-mortar grocery stores, primarily under the banners of Family Fare, Martin's Super Markets and D&W Fresh Market, in addition to dozens of pharmacies and fuel centers. The company is No. 41 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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