2009 $55B Store Brands Record high

According to the PLMA, Private Label Manufacturers Association, store-brand sales of food for 2009 reached a record high of $55.5 billion, marking a 6.7% increase in store brands, and 1.7% decrease in name brands.

One might assume the increase in store brand popularity is solely due to the economy, and to the consumers’ new mindset for value.  In part, that must be part of the reason for this dramatic record breaking shift. But it’s been a long haul for store brands to gain the reputation they deserve as a plausible alternative to higher priced name brand products. In short, they’ve worked hard for it, especially over the last three years, building their brands in terms of quality and value. Of the recent shift, Brian Sharoff, president of PLMA states,  “The statistics document the amazing increases in store-brand popularity… But as most market researchers know, the growth of store brands is by no means a recessionary phenomenon. Its success began years before the current downturn and is rooted in increasing assortment, quality ingredients, innovative product concepts and retailer commitment.”

I shop Vons, which is a Safeway store. And As CEO of TheGroceryGame.com, I’m well acquainted with store brands nationwide in over 200 markets that we serve. I’ve been pleased with most everything I’ve had the opportunity to try in all the banners nationwide, including Giant Eagle, Publix, Kroger, Supervalu owned supermarkets and more. As for Safeway store brands, I’ve personally been very happy with their various brands. Safeway Select is absolutely fantastic. The frozen party size entrees like lasagna, enchiladas, and cannelloni can’t be beat. Lately, at $6.99 on sale with Safeway coupon for a “10 serving” tray, I can hardly justify making it myself! I stocked up, and they’re great for nights when I don’t want to cook (like tonight after a long busy weekend). Their “Primo Taglio” artisan deli products recently pleased even the most discerning European palates at my Father’s Day BBQ. Of course, I didn’t tell them I got a great deal on on my lovely salami and cheese appetizers! I can’t say enough about how much we love Rancher’s Reserve meats. And the Lucerne dairy products on sale are the bomb! Until tomorrow, June 29, Safeway has the one pound butter on sale with Safeway store coupon for 1.99 each. I invested in the limit of 3, because it’s good quality butter. And Greg and I are sort of snobs about butter! (BTW, you can freeze butter).

If you got duped in the early “generic” days, and have since had an aversion to store brands, you may want to give them another try. But if you’re still reticent about that, don’t despair. Grocery Game databases show a marked savings of 50-60% over store brands, when buying name brands on sale with a coupon. Just a few examples… Kroger store brand frozen vegetables go on sale for about 7 cents per ounce. But when Green Giant goes on sale at Kroger, and you use a coupon with that sale, it goes for about 3 cents per ounce. That’s a 57% savings over buying the store brand. Kroger Granola bars, $1.88, against Nature Valley on sale with coupon for a final price of 60 cents (74% less than store brand). Safeway plates vs. Hefty (14 cents each vs. 6 cents each), and so on in supermarkets nationwide.

So why am I so thrilled with my Safeway store brands? They’re great quality for things that I need, when name brands aren’t on sale with coupons. Nuf said!

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