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NEW YORK -- Consumers are increasingly looking to retailers' private label brands to fill their needs for new products, as in the case of the Simply Enjoy line of gourmet foods rolling out to Ahold banners Stop & Shop, Giant-Carlisle, and Giant-Landover, according to research commissioned by the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) here.
"The Simply Enjoy line of products is the latest example of store brands that are clearly moving to a higher level of quality and consumer acceptance," noted PLMA president Brian Sharoff in a statement.
Sharoff attributes the much higher success rate of new products for store brands than for manufacturers to three main reasons: "One, the retailer owns the shelf and can keep products in stock longer; two, the retailer is closer to shoppers and understands their needs; and three, retailers can very quickly produce products in growth categories that tap into changing tastes and trends."
Research conducted for the association by opinion polling organization Ipsos MORI found 41 percent of shoppers called themselves "frequent" buyers of store brands, compared with 36 percent results five years ago and a mere 12 percent 15 years ago.
The survey further found that nearly half of consumers are more aware of private label products than five years ago and are more willing to buy them. Additionally, almost two-thirds of those polled said they would buy more private label in the year to come if their stores carried a more such products.
Other results of the survey: Consumers in the middle-income ($30,000-$75,000) and high-income (over $75,000) brackets are much more likely to buy a larger amount of private label in the coming year than those in the low-income (under $30,000) bracket; nearly half of respondents said their regular shopping basket now contains one-quarter or more store brand products; the average amount of private label bought is 32 percent for all consumers polled; and about one-fifth of consumers said they frequently buy private label products in the health and beauty, home office, household, and home improvement categories.
"The research clearly points to the growing awareness and popularity of store brands," says Sharoff. "It also continues to show a fundamental change in attitude toward private label products."
The PLMA represents over 3,000 companies worldwide and offers trade shows, programs, and services for its members and retailers.