Happy Belly, Wickedly Prime, and Mama Bear may sound like characters in a children's cartoon, but they're something Amazon likely hopes will prove more lucrative. According to sources familiar with the development, these are names of brands that the online retailer is adding to its private-label offerings, including what the Wall Street Journal notes will be its "first broad push into perishable foods." These new in-house brands—initially available to the company's reported 50-million-plus Prime members and set to debut by the end of May or early June—are said to include such perishables as nuts, vitamins, spices, tea, coffee, vitamins, and baby food, as well as household items like laundry detergent and diapers. "We don't comment on rumors or speculations," a company spokeswoman said in an email to Reuters.
Gone are the days when in-store brands were invariably viewed as cheap, substandard products: Per the Private Label Manufacturers Association, the sale of private-label brands increased by about $2.2 billion in 2015, reaching $118.4 billion, with a perception among some that store brands are of even higher quality than name brands, the Journal notes. And it seems to make sense for Amazon to expand its in-store line—it's been selling items such as its Elements baby wipes for some time—as these types of products offer higher profit margins; the company could also take advantage of its own data-culling to develop products that will appeal to its customers. "Amazon is 'carpet-bombing' the market with new products," a brand consultant tells the Journal. "Private label allows them to test out new prices and distinctive flavors with less risk." (Donald Trump is not Amazon's friend.)