Room for growth? How culture explains category-specific dynamics of private label

 In International

Despite some predictions by food industry market watchers that private label is set to take over, private label share of the packaged-food market has been relatively flat since 2008, and it stopped gaining in other categories in 2011. This leveling off suggests that food brands are able to withstand private label competition. Yet, we’ve found the story is more complex. The first clue is obvious to retailers: there is enormous variation in private label share at the category level. In some categories, such as milk, private label has 60{845d44a2f09c0018d802e19e78941a85dc2180e4ed7410cee0b34e8cb134ecea} or more market share. In others, such as RTD coffee, canned ham and toaster pastries, private label has only 1{845d44a2f09c0018d802e19e78941a85dc2180e4ed7410cee0b34e8cb134ecea} or 2{845d44a2f09c0018d802e19e78941a85dc2180e4ed7410cee0b34e8cb134ecea} share.
The numbers belie reports about how beautifully private label is performing overall and reveal, instead, how the culture of brand shapes consumer receptivity by category. In Hartman Strategy’s report The Future of Private Label Food, our analysis of private label reveals four competitive performance segments in the private label food marketplace that illustrate the role of culture within categories:

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  • Private label growth engines
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  • Private label’s roots
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  • The private label battleground
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  • The branded fortress​

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