CHICAGO — Last year 24% of all food and beverages served in American homes were store brands, according to a new report from The NPD Group called "Private Label Perceptions, Usage Patterns & Intentions." This percentage is up from 18% in 1999.

"There is no question private label foods have become an integral part of American life," said Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst at NPD. "Furthermore, we do not hide private label foods as an ingredient or as an additive to another dish. Today over half of all store brand food eatings are the end dish."

Income level doesn’t seem to have a significant impact on private label purchases as 30% of household servings were private label for those making less than $30,000 while 37% of household servings were private label for those making between $30,000 and $69,000. That compares with 33% of household servings being private label for those making $70,000 and more.

While price and value are the main reasons for consumers purchasing private label or store brands, most respondents also believe the quality of the store brand is often equal to or sometimes better than name brands.

In addition, 54% of private label household servings are used for end dishes, 26% are used for ingredients and 18% are used for additives.