Own-label brands still finding favour in US

20 May 2010

NEW YORK: A majority of shoppers in the US believe that own-label food brands are of a similar or better standard than more premium alternatives.

Deloitte, the consultancy, conducted a survey of 1,102 adults in the country in an effort to gain an insight into their current attitudes and preferences.

It found that 52% of participants either "frequently" or "always" bought own-label products when making purchases in the packaged food category.

This fell to 38% for respondents that "occasionally" did so, and to 10% among contributors who "rarely or never" opted for this type of offering.

Some 75% of the panel stated that low prices were their primary reason for choosing items such as those from Wal-Mart's Great Value range.

However, 55% also argued these goods were of the same quality as national brands, an increase of 14% on this measure since Deloitte's previous such study in 2008.

Over 70% of people in the 61–74 year old demographic agreed with this statement, as did 57% of their 45–60 year old counterparts, and 49% of consumers in 30–44 and 8–29 year old brackets.

Indeed, 6% of the sample thought that products manufactured by retailers were actually superior to those made by specialist companies.

"In today's economy, consumers believe that they can get quality products without paying higher prices, whether that's from store brands or national brands," Pat Conroy, Deloitte's consumer products practice leader, said.

Almost a quarter of people had made a purchase in stores based on "something they had read online", and a similar number had visited a company's official website while researching their options.

Elsewhere, 33% of respondents received emails, recipes and coupons directly from brand owners, an uptick of 6% when compared with 2008.

A further 36% had logged on to an official company website to source meal suggestions, up by 1% in the same period.

Just 7% employed their mobile phone on the path to purchase, with 53% comparing prices, 44% accessing and redeeming coupons and 28% looking for guidance on nutrition.

A further 22% read product reviews on their handset or viewed a corporate website in this way, according to Deloitte's figures.

Men were more likely to check prices and use discount vouchers on their mobile, while women were more likely to read nutritional information.

Data sourced from Deloitte; additional content by Warc staff