Private Label Gains Quality Reputation

CHICAGO -- The private label market has enjoyed sales growth in recent years that isn’t likely to decrease in the near future, as private label companies continue to introduce better-for-you products and more attractive packaging, all while being easier on consumers’ pockets.

According to newly released Mintel research, 44 percent of grocery shoppers believe store brand products are of better quality today than they were five years ago. Moreover, 39 percent of respondents who identified themselves as their household’s primary grocery shopper say they would recommend a store brand product.

Meanwhile, 34 percent don’t feel they’re giving anything up (such as flavor or prestige) by using store brands; and only 19 percent believe it’s worth paying more for name brand products.

"With the exceptions of drinks and personal care products, most consumers believe private label options are of equal quality to nationally branded products," stated Fiona O’Donnell, Mintel senior analyst. "The lack of perceived difference can be attributed, in part, to the fact that many retailers have introduced premium private label products in recent years that rival their branded counterparts in flavor and nutritional value, as well as the packaging design and shelf placement."

In fact, 62 percent of consumers believe there’s no difference in quality between name and store brand dairy products. Similarly, 61 percent said there’s no difference when it comes to canned or shelf-stable food products, and 56 percent think private label and name brand household cleaners are of equal quality, according to Mintel.

Sixty percent of primary grocery shoppers usually or sometimes purchase private label bread or baked goods, and 58 percent usually or sometimes purchase store brand cheese.

"Private label brands are overcoming the stigma once associated with ‘generic’ products," O’Donnell said. "Even though the recession has ended, and consumers may be in a better position financially to return to name brands, it’s likely many will continue to buy store brand staples that are of equal quality."

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