Will Private Brand Win Share of Stomach?

culinary circle

This press release from Mintel takes a look at Private Brand trends and growth. It points to several interesting trends on the higher end that could be differentiators for retailers as the economy improves. An demonstrates that share of stomach is a significant measure as grocers and resteraunteurs battle for food dollars.

Private Label Products Not Just for Penny Pinchers

Mintel GNPD: private label food manufacturers focus on quality, convenience, health

CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–It’s not your grandma’s generic peanut butter. Mintel GNPD reports that amid rampant private label food product development, manufacturers stay current with the latest food trends. Providing more than just cheap alternatives to national brands, the newest private label foods woo shoppers with premium ingredients, portability and health benefits.

So far in 2009, Mintel GNPD has seen nearly 1,800 new US private label foods appear on retail store shelves: 27% of all food products introduced this year. In 2005, private label foods comprised only 13% of new food product launches.

“Not only have private label introductions increased, but product innovation is reaching unprecedented highs,” states Krista Faron, senior analyst at Mintel. “Retailers no longer only launch ‘me-too’ products to compete against major national brands. Instead, private label lines are hotbeds of creativity, driving markets and establishing themselves as trend leaders.”

As over half of Americans try to spend less at restaurants, Mintel sees private label retailers creating premium in-home meals that boast restaurant quality and fresh ingredients. Supervalu’s Culinary Circle, for example, features an upscale Pork Carnitas Enchilada Casserole, while Wal-Mart claims fresh-baked taste in minutes with Sam’s Choice Thin Crust Pepperoni and Canadian Bacon Pizza.

Portable, high-quality lunches are another hot area of private label development, reports Mintel’s Krista Faron. People want to save money by lunching at the office, and new private label foods like Safeway’s Rice Noodle Soup Bowl (retailing for just $1.55) make desk-dining easy and enjoyable.

Convenience remains a driver for private label prepared foods, but Mintel GNPD sees health and nutrition increasingly influencing product development. Lucerne Foods gives shoppers convenience, nutrition and private label pricing with its Eating Right brand. Products span the store, including kids’ Whole Wheat Mini Ravioli with fiber and protein, plant sterol-fortified Apple Cinnamon Granola, and Light Ice Cream Cups containing probiotics.

“Private label manufacturers realize ‘value’ means more than ‘low price’ to consumers, so they’re wisely creating new products that deliver on some of today’s most exciting food trends,” comments Krista Faron.

As the recession causes more Americans to cut down on food spending, both at home and by dining out less, private label has benefited: the US market grew 9.3% in 2008 (compared to 4.5% for branded food sales). Mintel forecasts it will grow another 8.1% by the end of 2009.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.