Poll: store brand growth to continue

Published on
June 17, 2009

The trend of U.S. shoppers flocking to store-brand products — including fresh, frozen and shelf-stable seafood items — is not a temporary one.

A whopping 91 percent of shoppers said they will continue buying store brand products after the recession is over, according to a new poll conducted this month by GfK Custom Research North America for the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) in New York.

In fact, 35 percent of shoppers are tried the store brand equivalents in categories where they had previously only purchased national brands.

Since the recession took hold, most supermarket chains have expanded store brand product assortments and have worked with private label manufacturers to ensure that quality, tasty products are produced.

“Retailers are more aggressively marketing and merchandising their own brands. Consumers, because of a concern for the recession, are going and buying them,” said Brian Sharoff, PLMA president.

Product quality is a big factor in shoppers’ continued purchasing of store brands into the future, said the PLMA. Ninety percent of survey respondents agreed that the store brand products are just as good as, or better than, the national brand products.

The poll findings are supported by sales figures. Sales of certain private-label canned, fresh and frozen seafood products and sauces have increased dramatically during the recession. Some of the biggest gainers are shelf-stable tuna, up 26 percent; canned shrimp, rising 29.9 percent; and unbreaded frozen fish, which increased 10.8 percent, according to The Nielsen Co., which tracked seafood sales in food, drug and mass-merchandiser stores (including Wal-Mart) for the 52 weeks ending March 21, 2009.

Other big gainers during that time period included the “fish and seafood and cocktail sauce” category, up 7.1 percent; breaded fish, up 4.7 percent; anchovies, which rose 3.7 percent; the “seafood-remaining-unbreaded” category, up 6.3 percent.

Nearly half of the shoppers polled in the PLMA survey said they would like supermarkets to carry a greater selection of store-brand products.

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