Private label food sales growing faster than national brands

A chart showing supermarket sales in years 2005 to 2009.

One of the most striking changes in U.S. food retailing over the past two decades has been the rise of private labels (PLs), also known as store brands. Retailers have expanded PL offerings across the range of supermarket products, and PLs have increased in popularity, as measured by both dollar sales and shares within product categories. From 2005 through 2009, total supermarket sales increased by $24 billion, or about 9 percent, while PL sales increased by $10.5 billion, or 23 percent. A recent ERS study found that, on average, PLs were priced about 25 percent lower than national brands. Retailers put PLs on sale frequently-up to 80 percent of the time in product categories with numerous national brands, possibly contributing to the surge in popularity of PLs. This chart is found in the ERS report, The Relationship Between National Brand and Private Label Food Products: Prices, Promotions, Recessions, and Recoveries, ERR-129, December 2011.

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