Do Brands Stil Matter In A Private Brand World?

The core objective of this report is to examine the current state of private label products within the global packaged food industry, including any impact that continued global economic uncertainty -or its immediate aftermath -is having on the performance of retailers‟ own brands.

While the recent global economic downturn had a comparatively minimal impact on packaged food sales, continued economic anxiety, largely stemming from ongoing concerns over sovereign debt levels in Europe, mean future industry growth prospects are far from guaranteed.

In turn, many consumers remain very price sensitive and are looking for bargains and perceived “value for money” wherever they can. This is creating more space for private label packaged food items to maneuver.

Private label packaged food offerings are also becoming more sophisticated and up market. Not only are some private label food items attempting to leverage a more premium-minded cachet, and thus leading to a tiered pricing strategy between traditional budget ranges and more expensive gourmet options, retailers are also looking to add value in other ways, both to compete more effectively against brands looking to differentiate themselves and to boost their own margins. As such, recent years have seen private label packaged food tap into driving industry trends such as health and wellness (better-for-you food such as reduced salt/fat/etc., functional food, naturally healthy food) and ethical positioning (organic, fair trade‟, free-range, sustainable, etc.).

In addition to providing a global overview of private label packaged food market performance, the report also provides insight on benefits and shortcomings inherent to private label, retail market performance by geographic region and product category, key trends and developments and global prospects and opportunities.

The report does not claim to be comprehensive, focusing on key industry categories, but rather seeks to offer high-level insight into key changes in the market at a time of continued macroeconomic instability.

The recent economic downturn has benefited private label food. Consumers have been encouraged to try the relatively cheaper offerings and have invariably continued to purchase them even as economic conditions have begun to improve.

In addition to competing on price, retailers have also continued to work aggressively to improve their private label packaged food ranges in an effort to transcend the stigma of being cheap and poor quality imitations of branded items.

Retailers are acting in a more brand-orientated manner and introducing innovative and added-value packaged food including functional and ethical products (organic, ‘fair trade’, etc.). This is boosting the image of private label food among consumers.

In line with this greater focus on adding value, retailers are also starting to segment their private label ranges by price point and are implementing a tiered pricing strategy distinguishing economy lines from their premium/value-added counterparts.

Despite recent advancements, private label packaged food still struggles with a low-quality image, especially in sectors such as baby food and confectionery where brands have established reputations. Trust is a major barrier to wider acceptance.

Retail consolidation has driven private label’s overall packaged food retail value share, but in emerging markets such as Eastern Europe a general lack of modern grocery channels will make it harder to penetrate and ultimately win consumer acceptance.

The future growth of private label packaged food will largely depend on the ability of both retailers and their contract suppliers to remain at the forefront of innovation and to further build up consumer trust, while still keeping prices competitive.

Should this continue, opportunities in previously off-limit sectors such as baby food should arise. This is already happening in major markets such as the USA, where private label consumer healthcare manufacturer Perrigo has entered the baby food market.

Do Brands Still Matter? – Focus on Private Label Packaged Food market report offers a comprehensive guide to the size and shape of the market at an international level. It provides the latest retail sales data, allowing you to identify the sectors driving growth. It identifies the leading companies, the leading brands and offers strategic analysis of key factors influencing the market – be they new product developments, packaging innovations, economic/lifestyle influences, distribution or pricing issues. Forecasts illustrate how the market is set to change.

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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.