In recent years inflation has been the main factor driving shoppers to choose private-label products as they sought to save money and make ends meet. But as prices moderate, consumer appetite for private brands is expected to remain strong, according to a recent survey conducted by FMI – The Food Industry Association for its 2023 Power of Private Brands: What’s Ahead for Shoppers and Private Brands report.
This year’s analysis from FMI, as the Store Brands magazine reports, reveals an acceleration in private brand buying habits. Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) grocery shoppers said they purchase store brands at least occasionally, with 46% purchasing private brands most or all of the time. Additionally, about 60% of shoppers said they were buying private brands “much more” or “somewhat more” in the past year, compared to just 26% for national brands.
Overall, 90% of shoppers say they are likely to continue purchasing store brands should inflation or the price of groceries decrease, indicating the growing loyalty shoppers have for store brands.
THE EVOLUTION OF STORE BRANDS
“Although inflationary pressures may have been the catalyst that prompted consumers to try more private brand products over the past few years, shoppers have clearly come to appreciate the quality and value that store brands offer,” said Doug Baker, Vice President of Industry Relations FMI. “The overwhelming majority of shoppers tell us they plan to continue purchasing private brands in the future, even as grocery prices normalize.”
Baker added shoppers are motivated to purchase store brands because they like the quality and the taste of the products, not just because of the affordability and value private brands provide.
“This growing trust and loyalty consumers have developed for private-label products highlights how these products have really evolved to become an extension of a retailer’s brand and value proposition, which is reflected in the way that private brands are also playing a bigger role in how consumers decide where to shop for food,” he said.
THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALITY
Price (68%) and good value (67%) continue to be the top reasons cited by shoppers for buying more private-label items. However, 65% of shoppers mentioned a reason other than price and value that motivated their private brand purchases. Of those, shoppers cited quality (30%), taste (26%), and meeting meal solutions needs (16%) as some of the factors driving their store brand purchasing decisions.
Notably, more than half of those shoppers who said “quality” was a reason they purchased store-brand products noted the store-brand item was comparable to that of a national brand. When asked which kind of brand is better, 59% of shoppers said that private and name brands were equal at providing detailed product information; 57% said they felt private labels were just as healthy as their manufacturer-brand equivalent; and 63% said the private brand was just as good for the planet as the national brand. Crucially, more than half (52%) said that the store brands were products they trusted as much as the manufacturer brand product.