Shoppers Save More With Private Brand This Summer

While temperatures sizzle and the economy fizzles, families can still find a way to budget more fun time in their summer. Whether they’re packing provisions for a weekend excursion or stocking the pantry for a “stay-cation” at home, a new survey of supermarket prices on thirty summertime essentials found that shoppers can save over 30% by choosing the retailer’s brand instead of the national brand.

The research, conducted by the Private Label Manufacturers Association, tracked the pricing on commonly purchased items at a typical supermarket. Included in the survey were food items such as hot dogs and condiments, salad dressing and ice tea mix, in addition to non-food items like aluminum foil, charcoal and insect repellent. The results indicate that consumers buying the Private Brand would save $41.42 on average on the total market basket. When buying national brands the 30-item purchase came to $125.30 while the same purchase for the retailer’s brands cost $83.88.

For each category in the study, a leading national brand product was compared to a similar Private Brand product and prices were adjusted to account for all known discounts, coupons and promotions available for each of the weeks included in the study. Savings on individual products ranged from 14% (charcoal lighter) to 59% (hot dog and hamburger buns). The survey was repeated on a weekly basis during a recent 4- week period in a suburban supermarket located in the northeast.

Comparable savings by shoppers in every season on products throughout the store have no doubt helped the annual sales of Private Brands to climb to $87 billion in 2010. According to industry statistics, the products currently account for about one of every four items purchased in U.S. supermarkets.

The economy appears to be a factor in winning shoppers over to Private Brands. In a recent study by GfK Roper, two-thirds of shoppers who changed their food buying habits as a result of economic conditions say they are purchasing private label products in categories where they used to buy only national brand items. Looking ahead, the data indicates this trend will continue: Eight out of ten respondents say when the economy returns to normal they will still buy the retailer’s brand where previously only the national brands would do.

The Private Label Manufacturers Association is the industry trade association devoted exclusively to Private Brands. Founded in 1979, PLMA today represents over 3,000 companies who are involved in the manufacture and distribution of Private Brand products. The products supplied by PLMA members include food, beverages, snacks, health and beauty aids, over-the-counter drugs, household cleaners and chemicals, outdoor and leisure products, auto aftercare and general merchandise.

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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.