With shoppers looking for great quality at a market-leading price, own-label brands are big business. Tan Parsons spoke to four top buying groups to find out what will be 2015’s key SKUs.
It isn’t just the number of own-brand lines that has sky-rocketed in the past couple of years – the quality of the products has shot up as well. According to research by Him!, the number of shoppers buying own-label products because they believe they are better quality than the equivalent brand has doubled since 2013. For caterers, too, own-brand products have a big role to play, not just in giving diners more for their money, but also making it easier to abide by changes in food labelling regulations.
When the recession hit in 2008, shoppers began watching their spending far more closely, driving shops to provide a strong value offering. But although the economic gloom is lifting, shoppers are still looking for great quality at a market-leading price and own-label brands have a huge role to play. This is reflected in how shoppers are increasingly choosing to shop at discounters, such as Aldi and Lidl, at the expense of the major supermarkets.
Booker’s Euro Shopper has been a big player in the own-brand market since the start and as the importance of private label has become clear over the past few years, convenience symbol groups such as Spar, Costcutter and Nisa have invested heavily in their own-label ranges. So, too, have wholesale buying groups, which are set to rapidly expand their offerings this year.
Landmark already has 850 own-label lines across both retail and foodservice and is seeing its value brands Lifestyle Value and CK Everyday achieving double-digit growth. The group is demonstrating its faith in own-brand by including several products in its January promotions.
Today’s Group is also investing, with 11 own-label canned foods set to launch in 2015. Hilary Nithsdale, own-label trading controller at Today’s Group, says: “Consumers are still buying heavily into own-brand – they began doing so as an austerity measure when the recession first kicked in, but people are starting to realise that own-brand lines have improved in quality and are helping them to make significant savings.”
It illustrates the growth in this market that from an initial venture of just eight products in September 2012, Fairway Foodservice has built a range of more than 300 ambient own-label products.
Also in the catering arena, the Country Range Group is seeing year-on-year growth of 30% across its 750 own-label products. It has redesigned its own-brand packaging to make the nutrition information clearer. This will be invaluable for catering customers, given the EU’s new allergen labelling rules (FIR 2013) came into effect last month.