Grocery shopping: Shelf wars

Rod Street
SymphonyIRI Group

Supermarket own-label products have prospered in the recession, but brands should stop focusing on price and promotion and fight back through innovation.

Private label is still helping cash-strapped consumers across Europe cut the cost of their weekly grocery shop. But as the recession drags on, shopper behaviour is changing permanently – and the balance of power between brands and retailers' own labels is shifting as a result. Both brands and retailers should be aware of these trends as they plan their strategies in the coming year.

The uncertainty and squeeze on household incomes that can be seen across much of Europe is making consumers more price-driven than ever. They are now buying nearly as many private label products as they do national brands, and still stand to make significant savings by doing so: on average, they are 30% cheaper.