Consumers Say Store Brand Products Now Taste Just as Good as Well-Known National Brands

Jun 13, 2005, 01:00 ET from The Private Label Manufacturers Association

    NEW YORK, June 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Whether sitting down for breakfast,
 lunch or dinner, Americans are now just as likely to prefer the taste of their
 local supermarket's own private label product as that of the well-known
 national brand, as two recent taste tests have found.
     In ten locations nationwide, "double blind" taste tests conducted by
 Meyers Research Center for the Private Label Manufacturers Association found
 that, by a 51% to 49% margin, consumers say they now prefer the taste of the
 private label product over the national brand version in 12 popular
     A separate, similar but unscientific "test" of suburban New Jersey
 consumers conducted by the ABCNews "20/ 20" program, produced similar results.
 It found the consumers "had a difficult time determining which was the store
 brand and which was the national brand."
     "Both the nationwide survey and the '20/20' test results underscore the
 growing popularity of store brands offered by the nation's supermarkets, drug
 chains and discount stores," says Brian Sharoff, President of the Private
 Label Manufacturers Association. "It demonstrates how private label is leading
 a revolution not only in the way consumers shop today, but also how retailers
 are now stocking their stores in response to their changing demands."
     Private label or store brand products are items that an individual
 retailer puts its own name or brand on and are available only at that chain's
     A look at the Meyers Research survey also reveals:
     * For a "typical" raisin bran cereal, consumers preferred the private
       label version by a 62% to 38% margin. A majority also favored store
       brand orange juice and French Roast coffee.
     * Among snack foods, consumers scored private label about the same as
       national brands across several categories. While store brand chocolate-
       chip cookies were favored by a 56 to 48 percent margin, the consumers
       favored national brand potato chips by a 53 to 47 percent margin.
    *  When deciding on a beverage, consumers gave Coca-Cola and Pepsi only a
       52 to 48 percent edge over private label cola; while the taste of store
       brand iced tea mix was preferred by a 51 to 49 percent margin.
     Approximately 300 consumers nationwide made the nearly 1,800 "preferred
 taste" decisions among products.  While one-third of those surveyed said they
 buy store brands in their supermarkets "always" or "often," fully eight out of
 10 participants said they "regularly" buy national brands.
     "This was clearly a universe of consumers that is pro-national brands in
 general," concludes Sharoff. "That makes the strong showing for the taste of
 store brands all the more noteworthy."
     The "20/20" program opted to conduct its own "taste test" among a random
 sampling of shoppers in Hoboken, NJ. Not surprisingly, their results,
 broadcast nationally on April 22, 2005, mirrored the findings of the
 nationwide survey. Only two national brand products emerged with a clear
 preference among the six categories tested.  "Otherwise, the big name national
 brands failed to score a knockout. The humble store brands held their own-or
 were even preferred-half the time," the broadcast concluded.
     The growing consumer preference for store brands is further reflected at
 checkout lanes. One of every five products sold carries the retailer's name or
 brand, according to Information Resources, Inc. Total sales of store brands in
 the U.S. now exceed $50 billion a year in supermarkets, drug chain and
 discounters (not including Wal-Mart, which does not report sales data).
     In each market, the Meyers' nationwide survey "taste tested" top national
 brands against store brand products from chains such as Wal-Mart, Kroger,
 Safeway, Albertsons, Publix, Shaw's, and Trader Joe's, among others. Test
 locations were in Boston; Long Island, N.Y.; Baltimore; Atlanta; Tampa;
 Dallas; Chicago; Minneapolis; Tacoma, Wash.; and Los Angeles.  The survey was
 conducted during the last half of 2004 with final results tabulated in 2005.
     The Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA), founded in 1979,
 represents more than 3,000 companies around the world and offers trade shows,
 programs and services that are specifically designed for the industry.  For
 more information on PLMA, please contact Brian Sharoff, at (212) 972-3131.
      Media Contact:
      David Eldredge

SOURCE The Private Label Manufacturers Association