TORONTO - Canadian grocery shoppers driven to purchase store brand products because of financial necessity during the recession now claim a longer term loyalty to them, a recent study shows.
In fact, when asked what they purchased in the last 12 months, store brands represented 50 per cent or more of food items for two of three households surveyed in Canada.
"This is a long term trend and I think it will continue to grow," says Joel Gregoire, food and beverage industry analyst for the NPD Group which provides consumer and retail information for manufacturers, retailers and service companies.
Store brands are those which are the supermarket's own brand of products or a brand name exclusively for sale at particular chains. For example, Sobey's store brand products are sold under the Compliments label while Loblaws' label is President's Choice. An example of a generic label is No Name Brand.
Gregoire says that the study shows "nearly every Canadian household is consuming store brand goods in some form or another within an average week."
He said Canadian seniors and those aged 50 and up are also choosing store brand food products over name brands. He gave no reason other than these groups tend to be careful and cost-conscious shoppers.
"And as the perceived quality gap narrows, name brands will increasingly need to invest in name-changers by raising the bar on innovation in order to stand out from the crowd."
Gregoire says that while store brands are gaining in popularity, name brands continue to be strong in the beverage and snacking categories.
"The manufacturers in this category have done a very good job of building and maintaining their brand image," he says. Examples of name brands or national brands are Kraft, Heinz and Coca Cola.
The study used NPD's online Canadian panel and National Eating Trends Canada for its findings. It polled 623 consumers who are responsible for at least half of the food and beverage shopping for their households. It was conducted April 30 to May 8, 2009.