Farewell to Safeway
The much-loved Safeway brand in Victoria is to be abolished.
Parent company Woolworths Limited have decided to progressively re-brand all 129 Victorian supermarkets in the coming 12 months. Coinciding with this decision is the announcement that a new Woolworths logo has been developed, but the “Fresh Food People” moniker will remain.
Safeway was launched in Melbourne in 1963 when the American chain of the same name bought three locally-owned supermarkets and established Australian Safeway Stores Pty Ltd. Competing locally with rival Woolworths, Safeway slowly expanded into New South Wales and Queensland whilst Woolworths continued to expand in Victoria. In 1985, Safeway Inc. sold all of its Australian operations to Woolworths and the two supermarket chains merged. At the time, Safeway was considered to be a stronger brand and so the decision was made to that all Victorian stores would be named Safeway whilst the New South Wales and Queensland stores became Woolworths. And so it was until now.
Of course this re-naming process is not new to Tasmanians. In a situation reminiscent of the Victorian Safeway saga, Woolworths had been operating separate Roelf Vos and Purity brands (depending on which part of Tasmania they were located) since the two Tasmanian supermarket chains were acquired in the mid-1980’s. All supermarket brands were advertised as “The Fresh Food People” after 1986 and shared a common marketing strategy, which meant that national advertising jingles and campaigns had to be re-worked to fit in with the Roelf Vos and Purity identities. Eventually Woolworths came to the realisation that operating four nearly-identical brands was sheer madness and so in was in 2000 that Roelf Vos and Purity became history.
In the context of that upheaval, it remained a mystery why it was that Safeway was preserved where Roelf Vos and Purity hit the chopping block. I guess we all knew that it was simply a matter of time before Safeway suffered the same fate. Anyone who’s been into Safeway lately would have seen the subtle signs… all the own-brand products have been labelled as “Woolworths” rather than “Safeway” for quite some time.
Old logos for Woolworths, Safeway, Purity and Roelf Vos (left) and the new Woolworths logo (right).
For most, this change is nothing more than a new name and logo. That said, I can’t help but feel a bit of nostalgia for good ol’ Safeway with it’s crazy “Red Spot Specials” (whatever that referred to) and early childhood memories of being dragged up and down its drab aisles. And then there’s that catchy jingo “We’re Safeway the Fresh Food Peeeeee-ple…“.
It’s the end of an era for sure… farewell Safeway.
For more information on the name change, you can read the Official Press Release.