Sainsbury’s set to boost non-food in-house design capability

Sainsbury’s is to appoint dozens of product, branding and packaging designers to expand its non-food range.

In all, about 150 new staff – buyers, technologists, merchandisers and planners, as well as designers – will be installed at Sainsbury’s Coventry site over the coming months, says a company spokeswoman.

Two teams, one focusing on branding and packaging, and the other on product design, will each be headed by senior design managers. These will report to the divisional buying director for home and lifestyle.

The appointments will swell the ranks of the existing in-house non-food design and product development team, which was established in 2003 and is responsible for the premium home and cookware range Different By Design.

The supermarket says it aims to grow non-food sales by more than £1bn within three years.

However, one consultancy that has previously worked on the development of non-food products for Sainsbury’s is concerned about the issue of copyright, pointing out that it could cause problems if the in-house team wants to modify an external consultancy’s designs.

Paul Cartwright Branding director Paul Cartwright says he is unaware of the move, even though he is currently refreshing the branding for Sainsbury’s baby toiletries range.

‘It seems bizarre that the supermarket is setting up such a huge in-house team.’

The first general merchandise range to be fully designed from the Coventry site is expected to appear this autumn.

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