Wal-Mart's Private Grocery Line Celebrates Italy

"Private labels" are not what they used to be: generic brands aiming to be as cheap as possible and disguised as alternative, familiar brands. In other words, low-price look-alikes (think Market Pantry tomato ketchup vs. Heinz).

That was then, but this is now.

Now, cheaper private labels are giving national brands a run for their money. The latest example of multinational retailing corporations investing in private-label lines is Wal-Mart's "Sam's Choice Italia," a new Italian brand line of groceries sourced from Italy and created in partnership with the Italian Trade Agency, an Italian government organization promoting Italian companies abroad.

According to Brand Eating, Sam's Choice Italia will mark Wal-Mart's first private label dedicated to a single country, which will include food items made popular by Italian cuisine. Gnocchi, risotto, pasta sauces, balsamic vinegar and canned tomatoes can be found at Wal-Mart stores and online for low prices.

Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods sparked heavy competition among big retail corporations like Target, Kroger, Costco, and Aldi, and Wal-Mart must look for opportunities to make up for dollars lost, according to CNBC. This is only the beginning of grocery wars.

Wal-Mart's additional private-label brand, Uniquely J, will compete against Amazon's private label, Target's in-house grocery line Market Pantry and Costco's Kirkland Signature. Wal-Mart's private label may pressure the competition to offer even lower, favorable pricing.

These companies may see spikes in private-label sales, according to an IRI consumer survey, which predicted that two-thirds of consumers will look to private-label items more frequently in the next six months.

Dan Hooker, the head of private-label products and e-commerce for Walmart, said Uniquely J's products focus on quality, style, and value. Wal-Mart's Uniquely J label offers everyday items including toilet paper, coffee, laundry detergents and other products that are focused on young consumer trends and sustainability as a way to attract "metro millennials," CNBC reported. The line includes lemon thyme basic cleaning wipes and organic teriyaki sauce in eye-catching, artistically designed boxes.

Wal-Mart seems to dominate the grocery aisles with plenty of cheap offerings, and now -- ciao, Italia! -- rigatoni, tomato sauce and salad dressings for a bargain!