Hudson Group Launches Proprietary Product Concept

June 24, 2016

Target has Archer Farms. Whole Foods has the 365 brand. And now, Hudson has joined the ranks with its own line of proprietary (store brand) products for the airport retail industry.

Dubbed “The Traveler’s Best”—a spin on the company’s “The Traveler’s Best Friend” slogan—the new Hudson branded concept includes thirteen fresh food grab-and-go combinations sold in Hudson’s open coolers.

Prepared fresh daily, they include such variety as Bistro Box, premium sliced Italian meats and cheeses with crackers and fruit; and The Rustic, a mix of white and mild cheddar cheeses along with grapes and crackers.

The packaging matches the fun and whimsical names. They are colorful and provide travel tips and playful messaging in handwritten-like fonts to align with the brand’s personality such as, “Whenever possible never let your bestie travel hungry.”

“People identify with brands, and the packaging sought to further that emotional association with Hudson’s owned brand and slogan,” commented Steve Goulbourne, vice president creative director at Hudson Group.

James Healy, Hudson Group buyer for food and beverage, stated that with continued brand awareness and engagement, these proprietary brands will become, well, brands. Consumers traveling through Hudson stores will instantly recognize them and feel a connection, he explained.

In crafting the concept, Hudson analyzed the latest trends to discover that millennial shoppers crave protein and healthy, grab-and-go snacks, explained Healy. It added open coolers to supply fresh food products; whereas, initially Hudson offered customers cold water and sodas in closed coolers.

Research was conducted on what combinations would be best. For instance, when Bistro Box was first created it included cheddar cheese with the pepperoni and crackers. While this combination was consistent with the competition, Hudson internal research found that an Italian pairing of provolone cheese paired better with the pepperoni. Grapes were thereafter included to add color, boost the health aspect, and offer more of a complete snack.

It’s said you eat with your eyes first, so presentation was very important. A lot of vendors just slice the cucumber leaving the peel. Hudson shaved parts of it off to offer a fresher look/feel.

There was also a focus on convenience. Rather than being bulky, the packaging was light but compact with product. Likewise, subtle changes were taken into account such as the cheeses being sliced instead of cubed to make it easier to eat on a cracker.

The new line of products also emphasizes the company’s corporate social responsibility. All of the containers are bio-gradable. And a majority of the unsold, perishable products get donated to Harvest Program charity’s local chapters on a daily basis in such major locations as Chicago, Seattle, and Los Angeles airports.

Launched just this year, the numbers speak volumes. Sales have grown 40 percent year-to-date with 131 stores that carry them. The plan is to carry them in all locations within the next several years.