Private label a player in dairy case

by Eric Schroeder
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BOULDER, COLO. — Consumers seeking private label food and beverage products tend to shop the dairy case more frequently than the rest of the supermarket, although interest in private label snacks and cereals also is high, according to a study of 6,600 consumers conducted by Market Force Information, a provider of customer intelligence solutions.

Overall, 83% of the consumers surveyed by Market Force said they sometimes buy private label brands if they consider the product to be better than, or offering a higher value than, the national brand. Thirteen per cent said they always buy private label, and 4% said they pay no attention to private label or only buy national brands because of a perceived better value and product.

When it comes to what area of the grocery store private label is having the most impact, it appears the dairy case is winning out, the study found. Seventy-six per cent of respondents said they purchase private label dairy most or some of the time, and 19% said they always buy it. Five per cent said they never buy private label. Of the 95% of respondents who buy private label dairy regularly, 78% cited price as the primary driver behind their decision and 48% pointed to the good value. Of the 5% who only bought national brand dairy, 50% cited taste and 23% said quality were the main factors, the survey said.

The dairy case often is a source of new product introductions, with the recent flurry of Greek-style yogurts as an example. Thirty-five per cent of the respondents said they have tried a new brand of dairy product in the past three months, and 30% of that total said the new product they tried was private label, the Market Force survey said.

Demand for private label snacks also is high, the survey found, with 73% of respondents saying they buy private label snacks most or some of the time. Seven per cent said they always buy private label snacks, and 20% said they never buy them.

Sixty-three per cent of respondents said they buy private label cereal products most or some of the time, 8% said they always buy them and 29% said they never buy them. Of the 71% of consumers who said they purchase private label cereal, 76% cited price and 47% pointed to value as the drivers behind their decision. Sixty-one per cent of the consumers who only buy the national brand said it was because of taste, while 17% said it was because they had coupons for it.

“It’s worth noting that in every category we studied, consumers cited price as the primary reason for purchasing private label brands,” said Janet Eden-Harris, chief marketing officer for Market Force. “On the flip side, taste and quality were the top reasons given by consumers for never purchasing private label. If grocery brands can deliver on both price and taste, they have a good chance at grabbing more private label market share.”

The survey was conducted in May across the United States and Canada. Sixty per cent of the respondents reported household incomes of more than $50,000 per year. Approximately 73% of respondents were women and 27% were men. Half they said they have children at home.
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