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: