Private Labels: Innovation through expansion

In the past year and a half, private labels have seen quite a few ups and downs as consumer grocery habits have shifted. National and regional brands encountered plenty of supply chain issues, which made it difficult for grocers to keep their shelves fully stocked. In turn, many shoppers tried private label products for the first time (read our previous blog Private Labels: Finding their seat at the table). Now, the old notion that private label products aren’t as good as national brands has been dispelled. In fact, many shoppers have continued to purchase grocer’s private labels as they have learned that not only are they often cheaper, but they are just as high-quality as any other brand on shelves.

As the volatile supply chain has started to even out, and shoppers have continued to semi-“normal” behaviors, private labels are challenged to hold their place in customer’s shopping carts.

Expanding offerings

For many years, private labels often occupied pantry staple categories (i.e. dried pasta, canned goods, dairy products, etc.). And although consumers will always shop in these categories, they are also becoming a bit more adventurous. They’re looking for products with interesting and diverse flavor profiles, products that offer additional nutritional benefits and/or fit into specific dietary needs. To stay on top of shoppers’ minds private labels need to continue to diversify their offerings. Venturing out of the panty staple categories and into more niche markets would help show shoppers that private brands have just as much to offer as national brands across the board.

According to Doug Baker, Vice President of Industry Relations at the Food Industry Association, “Moving from a category to a consumer-centric approach means reacting to consumer trends and demands, not just product trends. Some retailers have made this shift and have led innovation in categories with high private brand penetration or a category where innovation lacked and retailers identified an unmet need.” Customers aren’t just looking for products that taste great at a low cost, but they also want to purchase from brands that they feel good about buying. Environmental sustainability and health/wellness are two growing concerns for many shoppers. As private labels expand into more categories, they also need to address and expand according to consumer interests beyond the product itself.

Improving marketing efforts

As competition starts to ramp back up in grocery stores, private labels are needing to find new ways to market their products. In the past, many grocers didn’t put as much effort into marketing efforts for private brands, but after catching the attention of shoppers in the past year they are going to have to in order to stay relevant to shoppers.

Here at ChefsBest, we believe that any brand’s greatest marketing asset is their high-quality products. With a ChefsBest Excellence Award, we can help brands stand out on shelves and through digital marketing efforts by highlighting their greatest asset that consumers care most about: taste. To learn more about ChefsBest and how your product can qualify for our Excellence Award, contact us today.

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