Store-Brand Foods Eating National Brands for Lunch

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Store-brand sales are growing twice as fast as name-brand sales, and the quality of store-brand products is improving.

We just highlighted some store-brand sodas that rival the taste and beat the price of name brands. It turns out the sale of store brands is growing at a faster pace than name brands for all kinds of products.

Store brands used to carry a stigma, but now “they are the stars of grocery store shelves and refrigerated cases,” The New York Times says. Since 2010, store-brand sales have grown 18.2 percent and are worth $111 billion. That’s a little more than one-fifth the value of name-brand sales, but at twice the rate of growth.

That means that even as the economy has recovered and people are no longer forced to skimp so much on groceries, store brands are growing in popularity. It’s partly an improvement in quality as stores invest more in upgrading their brands, the Times says.

In tests of store brands last month, Consumer Reports found that 33 of 57 private-label products matched or surpassed the name-brand version. Here are some of the store-brand products it highlighted:

  • Cashews. Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Costco, Kmart and Target brands all beat name-brand Emerald.
  • Cranberry juice cocktail. Kmart’s brand was as good as Ocean Spray.
  • Ketchup. Sam’s Club and Target matched Heinz.
  • Mayonnaise. Whole Foods, Walmart, Costco and Target were as good as Hellmann’s.
  • Ice cream. At least for vanilla, Walmart, Target and Trader Joe’s match Breyers.

It’s also partly because some stores mainly or exclusively sell their own products. “For example, Trader Joe’s, which is owned by the German retail group Aldi, sells its own brand almost exclusively,” the Times says.

And there’s one more key ingredient — much better marketing and packaging of store brands these days.

“Sometimes I think [consumers] don’t actually know what is a store brand,” Market Force Information senior vice president Janet Eden Harris told the Times.

What are your favorite store brands? Let us know on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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