Amazon Challenges Food Industry By Starting to Sell Private Label Perishables

Photograph by NurPhoto via Getty Images

Amazon has debuted its first private-label groceries including coffee and baby food as it branches out into yet another business.

The e-commerce giant is selling its own coffee brand under the Happy Belly label as well as baby food under the Mama Bear label, according to the Wall Street Journal. Amazon had no comment from the report.

Amazon has reportedly been preparing to roll out its own grocery product for some time, effectively competing with many of the brands that already make their perishable items available through the online marketplace including Starbucks and Earth’s Best baby foods. Other perishables that the company is expected to start selling are nuts, spices, tea, vitamins, and household items such as laundry detergents. Earlier this year, the e-commerce giant also selling its own-private label clothes.

All of these items will be available exclusively through Amazon’s subscription membership program, Prime, which costs $99 annually for access to streamed movies, TV shows, and Amazon’s original productions in addition to free two-day shipping and one-hour delivery on certain orders.

Currently, a 12-pack of Mama Bear baby food cost $12.49, compared to $13.48 for a similar package of Earth’s Best baby food, sold through Amazon by Earth’s Best. A nine ounce bag of Happy Belly coffee retails for $9.99 while a Starbucks’s French Roast 12 ounce bag of coffee sells for $13.95 from merchant bakeDelights.

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Although Amazon has started selling private label groceries, it doesn’t advertise that it’s doing so. The perishables’ description pages don’t include any mention of Amazon being the creator

Amazon has been pushing private-labels because they let the company sell the goods at a higher profit margin than by reselling products produced by others. They also give Amazon more control over the shipping and distribution so they can be more reliably shipped to Prime members within two days.

The hope is that its perishables will have more success that Amazon’s private-label diapers line, which pulled off of online shelves only seven weeks after launch in 2015.

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