Private Brands To Grow In Deli, Dairy & Bakery

bakeryA new nationwide study of buying behavior and consumer preferences in deli, dairy and fresh bakery departments shows that shoppers want more fresh food options and less work in the kitchen.

Commissioned by the Private Label Manufacturers Association, the study was conducted by market research company Surveylab, covered attitudes of 800 primary grocery shoppers in the U.S.

One big beneficiary of the trend, according to the results, would be store brands. More than half of respondents say that they buy more private brand now than they did five years ago, and 44% of the survey say that they currently buy store brands either always or frequently. Frequency of buying is even higher in deli, dairy and bakery where it reached 47%.

“Consumers are making it clear they want convenience and speed in meal preparation,” explained PLMA President Brian Sharoff. “and this is creating highly profitable opportunities for retailers’ store brands to respond with their own brands.”

In the PLMA study, shoppers for deli, dairy and bakery were asked “Which products would you like to see more of?”

  • In deli, convenience was the number-one demand, with four in ten respondents opting for “more items that can save me time at home.” Following closely, were “more restaurant quality items” and “heart healthy items, such as low sodium.”
  • In the dairy department, a better assortment topped shoppers’ desires, with 35% of survey respondents wanting to see more variety in general, and 38% saying they would like greater variety of cheeses in particular.
  • When it came to the bakery, shoppers had an eye on freshness and health issues foremost, with 31% saying they would like more items baked on-site and 31% likewise opting for products containing “less fructose, sugar, corn syrup and bad fats.” With one in four shoppers, more nutritional and freshness information, greater variety of portions, and more emphasis on healthy ingredients were also in demand.

Among improvements shoppers would most like to see at the supermarket perimeter, product sampling and demonstrations ranked high across all three departments. In the deli, faster service and more nutritional information about deli products were wanted improvements.

The study is part of PLMA’s plan to spotlight store brands deli, dairy and bakery at this year’s Private Label Trade Show, to be held November 15-17 in Chicago.

“Deli, dairy and bakery are among the fastest growing sections at the annual show,” said PLMA’s Sharoff. “We are seeing more companies in these categories who are interested in exhibiting than ever before. One thing we have learned from past shows, is that when companies want to exhibit, it usually means growth in the categories at retail.”

Over the years, the importance of the PLMA show has grown as private label sales have outpaced the national brands. According the latest industry sales data compiled by The Nielsen Company, private label accounts for one out of every five dollars in supermarket sales and unit market share exceeds 23%. Total private label sales in the United States last year surpassed $115 billion.

Over the years, the importance of the PLMA show has grown as private label sales have outpaced the national brands. According the latest industry sales data compiled by Nielsen, private label accounts for one out of every five dollars in supermarket sales and

unit market share exceeds 23%. Total private label sales in the United States last year surpassed $115 billion.

In all, the show will present more than 2,700 exhibit booths, an increase of over 400 booths over the past two years. Nearly 5,000 visitors are expected to attend, including buyers and executives from the leading U.S. supermarkets, drug chains, mass merchandisers, wholesale clubs, convenience and specialty retailers, in addition to wholesalers, brokers, importers and others.



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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.