Consumers increasingly turn to own-label products

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Consumers turn to own-label products in the face of food inflation. Image: Getty, chabybucko
Consumers turn to own-label products in the face of food inflation. Image: Getty, chabybucko

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Consumers are increasingly turning to own-label food products in the place of established brands as the sting of ongoing food inflation challenges continue to ravage people’s wallets.

Kantar data shared with the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) found that private label volumes had increased by 2.2 percentage points in the 52 weeks to 17 March 2024, while total branded volume decreased by 3.7 percentage points.

Commenting on the Kantar data, BFFF chief executive Rupert Ashby said it reflected a shift towards ‘value-driven’ purchases, with volume share increases in Lidl and Aldi (0.8 and 0.6) and declines for Morrisons and Asda (-0.6 and -0.8) showed where the most change was happening.

Potential reprieve for consumers

“With the national minimum wage on the rise and the rate of inflation now slowing down, consumers can anticipate a potential reprieve on the financial struggles of the last few years,”​ said Ashby. “As economic conditions stabilise, we anticipate a resurgence in consumer spending power, presenting new opportunities for frozen food manufacturers.

"Yet this is somewhat of a double-edged sword. More expensive labour in an already stretched market means that manufacturing costs will rise, and this will likely be passed on to the consumer in the price of the product. Global conflicts continue to cause market disruption so we’re a long way from being out of the woods yet.”

Meanwhile, upmarket supermarkets such as Marks & Spencer experienced a marginal rise in frozen food sales as part of the broader shift towards own-label products. According to the BFFF, the trend suggested a continued demand for value even in the premium environment.

Overall market growth

The Kantar data showed that the overall grocery market experienced a 5.0% increase in value over the last quarter. However, when read alongside the decreasing volume stats, it’s clear that consumers are paying more for less.

Within specific categories, a significant surge in the value of frozen potato products was recorded (up 11%), indicating notable price changes in this category. This spike can be attributed to supply issues as poor weather has led to lower yields.

In other news, European private label volume sales grew to 64% across all FMCG categories​ between February 2023-2024, while overall FMCG volume sales dropped.

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