Categories / Merchandising Features / Retailer News / Packaging / Tactics / Kitchen Products / Paper Products

Inside Store Brand Paper and Plastic Products

Our secret shoppers head to their local retailers to discover details on paper and plastic goods.

March 1, 2014
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Private label paper and plastic products boast remarkable shares, showing broad consumer acceptance, further backed by sales increases in each category our shoppers explored.

Private label toilet tissue was up 10 percent to over $1.5 billion last year—a 30 percent share of the more than $8 billion category, according to IRI data for the 52 weeks ending December 29, 2013. Private label disposable plates/bowls were up 7 percent to more than $1 billion, with a 37 percent share.

Private label plastic cutlery accounts for more than half of the market with a 56 percent share, up 2 percent, while private label paper towels have a 44 percent share, up more than 1 percent to $1.2 billion.

PLBuyer sent its secret shoppers to check out paper and plastic products at a Target in Kansas City, Mo., a Safeway in Mesa, Ariz., an Ingles Markets in Asheville, NC, and a King Soopers (a Kroger banner) in Colorado Springs, Colo.

We asked them to evaluate how their local retailers market and merchandise their paper and plastic products.

In addition to looking for in-store promotions and advertising, shoppers recorded prices of comparable private label and national brand plastic cutlery, plastic disposable bowls/plates, paper towels and toilet tissue. Here, we provide you with our gathered insight.


Side by Side

When walking down the paper and plastic aisles, only Christina R. at King Scoopers didn’t see store brands shelved side-by-side with national brands in any cases. Only Bill K. at Ingles Market saw shelf tags pointing out price comparisons between store and national brands. Bill, and Sarah C. at Safeway, saw in-store private label ads.

Michael G. commented that Target’s Up & Up house brand has very simple, but very distinctive, packaging.

“Packaging copy spotlights features of the product, but there is no distinctive imagery or attempt to ‘look like’ competitive brand product packaging. Rather, the standardized designs, formats and color palette distinguish the Up & Up brand alone, perhaps to appeal to the Target customer’s loyalty alone, vs. seeking to transfer loyalty from a famous national product brand. It was difficult to find directly competitive products in the paper towel category, based on product features (width of perforation, print vs. plain, quality (thickness/absorbability, etc.).”

For example Bounty Basic paper towels cost $5.99 for 280 sq. ft., while Up & Up paper towels cost $7.79 for 333.6 sq. ft.

At King Soopers, Kroger Value paper towels cost $0.79 for 60 sheets, while Bounty Big roll cost $2.39 for 59 sheets.

At Safeway, Sarah reported the retailer’s premium Fresh Décor line of cutlery (8 spoons, 8 forks and 8 knives) costing $1.99, while the same size of its Safeway Home brand was $1.79. The Safeway Home disposable plastic plates package offered seven more plates for $2.59 than the premium Fresh Décor plates at $2.99.

Sarah noted: “There were large quantities for toilet paper and paper towels for both national and store brands. In comparing the quantity of each, it was harder to find the same number. For example, one might have 6 large rolls of paper towels that equal 10 regular rolls, and the other would be 8 large rolls which would equal 12 regular rolls.”

 At Ingles Market, six double rolls of Angel Soft toilet paper cost $4.98 (sale, $4.78), compared to the Laura Lynn Cuddly Soft store brand option at $3.78 (sale, $2.98). At Safeway, the Safeway Home toilet paper was $0.50 less than national brand Charmin.  

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