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Leading design consultancy Elmwood has partnered with Costcutter Supermarkets Group to launch a new take on own-brand ranges. Independent breaks away from the Costcutter label with a new and unique proposition that can be sold across local independent shops. The team at Elmwood developed the name, identity and tone of voice and is now overseeing the brand’s rollout. Following the announcement of the partnership between Costcutter Supermarkets Group and Palmer and Harvey, the businesses combined their expertise to create the Independent brand. Independent is owned and operated by The Independent Trading Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Costcutter Supermarkets Group.

Using the ethos ‘Stay local. Shop Independent’, Independent has been created as an alternative choice for local people. Retailers who sell the range will be able to have real ownership over what is sold. No one knows the customers or neighbourhood the way they do, so each store can tailor the range depending on their own customers’ daily needs. The Independent range will contain around 750 items and start to roll out this month. It has been developed for local convenience stores using Costcutter Supermarkets Group’s expertise in supporting independent retailers and will be distributed through its retail brands, Costcutter, Mace and kwiksave and also through Palmer and Harvey’s independent and mini-mult customers.

To appeal to shoppers on all budgets, the range has been organised into three easy-to-navigate categories. Independent Trader has a selection of basic products at accessible price points. Independent is a mid-range core offering for everyday shopping. And Independent Specialist is the more premium range for treats and special occasions. Elmwood created distinct look and feels for each category to make them clearly identifiable. Independent Trader packs have white backgrounds, block colours and simple graphics. Independent is bolder and brighter with sky backgrounds and a detailed image of the product or ingredients. The use of dark colours and appetising photography showcases Independent Specialist as the more premium line.

Elmwood designed each pack individually, with its own concept and story. Each product has a ‘little’, which is positioned under larger-than-life product images to highlight the Independent message of ‘huge flavours, small prices’. The juxtaposition of the ‘littles’ versus the giant products is also a nod to local and independent stores taking on the larger retail competitors. Imaginative and colourful, the simple, bold illustrations showcase the Independent range as individual and feel good. Elmwood also created Independent’s tone of voice and wrote pack copy and product descriptions. The language is full of flavour, energy and fun, with a human voice and a hint of gentle humour.

John Kubale, Design Director at Elmwood said: “Nowadays, people seem to shop little and often. Independent is able to really capture this modern method of shopping, keeping it local, authentic and personal. The project was a great opportunity to use an array of illustrators and typographers to bring our ideas to life. The simple yet bold colour palette combined with the feel-good contemporary graphics work perfectly to capture the vibrant personality and local values of Independent.”
Richard Coates, Interim Marketing Director at Costcutter Supermarkets Group, said: “Own label is a very important part of our product range and Elmwood really helped us find a totally new and unique take on an own brand with its own distinct direction. We’re delighted with the way Elmwood’s designs convey our local and independent ethos and bring it to life in its authentic yet impactful packaging and we are looking forward to seeing Independent roll out across stores soon.”

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