Retailers have overhauled private label brands to no longer be perceived as generic or low quality, and shoppers are responding positively. In direct response to consumer demand, store brands are offering more premium and organic products than ever. Dietary trends like plant-based and gluten free have created a bigger market for once niche products, but they’re no longer limited to brand name products. The perfect balance between price and quality is where private labels have found a home, and it cultivates loyalty. The convenience of retailers offering a wide spectrum of groceries makes it an easy choice to reach for private label products over brand name. Even as retailers continue to work out the kinks of how to meet consumer demand, private labels are thriving. Let’s take a look at some of the most beloved food and beverage private labels.
If there’s a retail that is known for fanaticism, it’s Trader Joe’s. The nationwide grocery store is adored for offering low cost, high quality and original products ranging from decadent frozen meals to staples like rice and soup. The secret to those affordable prices? Most of what the retailer carries is bought directly from suppliers and sold as their in-house brand. The brand also uses a remarkably low amount of marketing, instead relying on word of mouth and a curated in-store experience.
It’s common knowledge that the home goods retailer Ikea houses a cafeteria-style restaurant for famished shoppers, serving classic dishes like swedish meatballs (which even have a vegan counterpart!). But in addition to the sitdown cafe, packaged items are available for purchase from the Swedish food market. Positioned near the exit of every store, it’s the ultimate impulse buy section. What’s most appealing is the European style products that are available for a relatively low price – all branded with the minimal aesthetic that Ikea is known for, down to the difficult-to-pronounce names in Swedish. Frozen meatballs, smoked salmon, jarred lingonberry jam, and raspberry filled biscuits are a few notable crowd favorites.
Kroger’s natural and organic focused private label has steadily grown the line of products including fresh food, pantry staples, and cleaning products since 2013. The packaging includes a label system signifying which products are organic, free-from, natural or fair trade. In response to the growing popularity of the “flexitarian” trend and growing demand for vegan and vegetarian options, Simple Truth recently debuted a plant-based line. This line of plant-based meat alternatives is giving big brands like Beyond Meat a fair amount of competition by offering these fairly new kinds of food at a more accessible price point. This addition is included in a total of more than 1,550 natural and organic products under the Simple Truth brand, with new items being added monthly.
The beloved retailer that draws consumers in for a myriad of products like in the fashion, home goods and grocery categories has 41 private label brands. Their largest food brand to date, Good & Gather, is taking over the edible side of the store. The newly introduced flagship brand is intended to replace the current food private labels Archer Farms and Simply Balanced, and dominate the Market Pantry brand as well. Good & Gather offers the typical grocery goods, with product extensions for organic and kids. Overall the new brand caters to Target’s young and trend savvy demographic, offering wholesome and on trend products.
What retail grocer holds the number one spot in consumer’s hearts? The predominantly Texas based H-E-B recently ousted Trader Joe’s as the nation’s number one grocery store. Limited to 400 locations across Texas and Northern Mexico, the store holds high loyalty value for shoppers. The H-E-B brand directly competes with name brands on the store’s shelves, most often boasting a much lower price tag. The private label has stayed current with the times and has a diverse offering of organic, gluten free and other health conscious options. A sizable section of the store is dedicated to frozen meals, appealing to the convenience many consumers search for.
Kirkland Signature is a well established household name. The bulk-packaged private label of Costco is notorious for delivering a plethora of name brand quality foods under the umbrella of Kirkland Signature. There is an air of exclusivity around the brand, as most of its products are only accessible by shopping in store with a membership (though some Kirkland Signature products are now available for purchase on Amazon).
365 is Whole Foods’ lower cost in-store brand, nestled amongst the many higher priced products that the store carries. While the concept of 365 grocery stores (which exclusively carried 365 brand products) was dismantled after Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods helped to bring down prices, the private label itself is still going strong. Be on the lookout for new branding and continued product expansion.