12 Retailers Private Brands Rated Subpar by Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports

When it comes to quality, consumers don’t want just the best meat and produce, but the best Private Brands, too. Would you shop at a supermarket that sold lousy store brands? One of five Consumer Reports subscribers said quality Private Brands are a key criteria in store choice. Moreover, 65% of those surveyed for the new supermarket study said they buy private labels whenever they’re available. Rarely are those shoppers disappointed: 63% were completely or very satisfied with the quality; only 5% expressed even a hint of dissatisfaction.

Store brands are a proven way to economize. How much can you save buying a supermarkets’ own label? Consumer Report’s studies over the years have been remarkably consistent. The average is around 25% vs. comparable national brands. Equally important, testing has consistently revealed that many store brands are at least as good as their better-known counterparts.

Store brands can sell for less because it’s astronomically expensive to turn a product like Heinz ketchup, Tide laundry detergent, or Lays potato chips into a household name. Besides research and development, there are hefty advertising and promotional costs. Icons don’t come cheap. Ironically, name-brand manufacturers often make store-brands, too, utilizing their expertise and excess capacity to generate incremental revenue. It’s the industry’s dirty little secret.

That said, the survey clearly shows some retailers are doing a superior job with their Private Brands. Of the 68 grocery chains in the ratings, 49 earned average scores for quality; twelve received subpar grades—including Walmart Supercenter, the nation’s largest grocer. The top scorers include:

  1. Trader Joe’s
  2. Wegmans
  3. Publix
  4. Costco
  5. Raley’s
  6. Whole Foods Market
  7. Harris Teeter.


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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.