Food In Canada


Private label popularity continues to grow

Survey says retailer-brand food products now seen as higher quality

Chicago, Ill. – A new survey by global trend researcher Mintel shows that the popularity of private-label grocery products is higher than ever, with no signs of slowing down.

According to the survey, 44 per cent of North Americans believe private-label food products are now better quality than they were five years ago. In addition, 39 per cent of primary household grocery shoppers say they would recommend a store brand.

Private label improvements

Survey respondents cited improvements in packaging and the introduction of healthier products, combined with lower prices, as reasons for choosing grocery brands over national brands. Only 19 per cent of consumers surveyed say they believe it is worthwhile paying more for national brands.

The survey also found that some categories of private label foods are faring better than others. For example, 62 per cent of consumers now believe there is no difference in quality between national and store brands of dairy products, while 61 per cent see no difference in canned or shelf-stable foods.

Consumers also reported buying private-label bread and baked goods (60 per cent) and cheese (58 per cent) on a regular basis. Retailer-brand beverages were the only food category not seen by consumers as being of equal quality to national brands.

Continued trend

“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 flavour and nutritional value, as well as the packaging design and shelf placement,” explains Fiona O’Donnell, senior analyst for Chicago, Ill.-based Mintel. “Private-label brands are overcoming the stigma once associated with ‘generic’ products.”

O’Donnell adds that despite a rebound in the economy, consumers are not likely to give up private label any time soon, noting “it’s likely that many [consumers] will continue to buy store-brand staples that are of equal quality.”