Private Label Introductions Pick Up

July 28, 2009
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Almost 1,800 new private label foods have hit store shelves since the beginning of 2009, representing 27 percent of new product introductions so far this year.

According to Chicago-based Mintel, almost 1,800 new private label foods have hit store shelves since the beginning of 2009, representing 27 percent of all new introductions so far this year - a significant improvement over 2005 when only 13 percent of all new products were store brands.

But these newcomers are a far cry from your grandma's private labels, "wooing shoppers with premium ingredients, portability and health benefits," Mintel said.

"[Private label] product innovation is reaching unprecedented highs," senior analyst Krista Faron said in a press release. "Retailers no longer only launch 'me too' products to compete against major national brands. Instead, private label lines are hotbeds of creativity, driving markets and establishing themselves as trend leaders."

According to Mintel, many new store brand products tap into the trend toward eating in. With more than half of all Americans determined to spend less at restaurants, the company said, retailers such as Supervalu (Culinary Circle) and Walmart (Sam's Choice) are creating premium in-home meals, while companies such as Safeway are rolling out portable, high-quality lunches that make inexpensive "desk-dining" easier and more enjoyable.

Mintel also notes a focus on health and wellness, with many retailers introducing better-for-you private label options throughout the store.

"Private label manufacturers realize that 'value' means more than 'low price' to consumers," Faron said. "So they're wisely creating new products that deliver on some of today's most exciting food trends."

According to Mintel, the U.S. market for private label foods grew 9.3 percent in 2008 vs. 4.5 percent for national brands. The company forecasts that store brand food sales will expand another 8.1 percent by the end of 2009.

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