LONDON: Own-label ranges in the UK have gained a high recognition factor with shoppers, with eight in ten regularly buying own-label and branded products according to new research.

A study by Instantly, the consumer insights business, sought the views of 840 UK consumers and found that around two thirds knew the names of the private-label ranges supplied by supermarkets Tesco (Everyday Value) and Asda (Smart Price).

It was no surprise that price was the main factor in choosing own-label products, cited by 58% of respondents, while taste and quality were major reasons that 49% would opt for branded products.

The gap between the two appears to be closing, however. Some 81% of respondents bought both own-label and branded products and almost half (48%) agreed that supermarket own labels had improved over the past decade,

Six in ten felt there was no difference between own label and brands when asked which was more healthy.

And they were evenly split when asked if they thought that more expensive branded products were a worthwhile investment.

Coca-Cola was among the brands consumers were ready to pay out for. Almost half (48%) those surveyed said they would never forsake Coca-Cola for an own-brand equivalent.

Rival Pepsi was slightly less well regarded as only one third (33%) said they wouldn't swap it. Cadbury's chocolate (38%) and Heinz Ketchup (35%) also rated reasonably high on this score.

"With the ever intensifying battle between supermarkets, own-label products have become a major factor," said Ben Leet, UK MD of Instantly.

"Major brands such as Coca-Cola are still dominant but own-label products aren't far behind and supermarkets need to capitalise," he added

Research firm IRI has detailed how private-label ranges are increasingly being marketed as "real" brands and how retailers are focusing on those product areas that deliver the best margin.

At the same time, however, it noted that consumers were beginning to find some retailers' propositions confusing as retailers introduced a number of private-label goods at different price tiers, from value to premium.

Data sourced from Instantly; additional content by Warc staff