There’s a new retail revolution underway, and it’s going to affect the global food industry in ways the market hasn’t seen before. The revolution comes at the hand of store-branded products, which continue to gain share across all major geographies and pose a significant challenge for brands and manufacturers around the globe.
The growth in retailer-developed private-label products is being fueled by the wider choice that the digital economy offers consumers and the globalization of shopping trends. The growth is also noteworthy in markets where disruption is present in the trade structure. For example, we see changes in the developed markets of Western Europe, where discounters are aggressively gaining market share. But disruption in the trade structure is only the tip of the iceberg.
Consumers today have access to endless information. As a result, their expectations are changing, and consumers are shopping differently. For example, many now see private-label brands as being equivalent to or substitutable for multinational brands. When consumers consider quality, many view private-label products as good as multinational brands and getting better.
In the U.S., for example, we’ve seen a performance reversal among private-label and manufacturer-branded products over the past year. While manufacturers of all sizes saw flat or positive performance in the fourth quarter of 2016, store-branded products took the lead a year later, growing at 2%.
It’s not uncommon for consumers to gravitate to less-expensive products when the economy is struggling, but recent Consumer Confidence Index reports show that all regions except Africa/Middle East finished 2017 stronger than they began the year. Consumer change that occurs during a recession often remains when trends shift, and sentiment about continued private-label growth remains favorable.
In addition to being an opportunity in countries recovering from economic decline or stagnation, private label is also a new opportunity in developing countries and faster-growing economies. Therefore, looking ahead, private-label brands have several avenues for future growth around the globe. Those avenues, however, vary from market to market.
For region-specific trends and additional insights, download our Rise and Rise Again of Private Label report.