New private label goods flood marketplace

Posted by Isobel Drake on 24th July 2009

Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD) has discovered that amid rampant private label food product development, manufacturers of the products are staying current with the latest food trends.

Attempting to provide more than just cheap alternatives to national brands, the newest private label foods try to woo shoppers with premium ingredients, portability and health benefits.

So far in 2009, Mintel’s GNPD has seen nearly 1,800 new US private label foods appear on retail store shelves: 27% of all food products introduced this year. In 2005, private label foods comprised only 13% of new food product launches.

“Not only have private label introductions increased, but product innovation is reaching unprecedented highs,” Krista Faron, senior analyst at Mintel, noted. “Retailers no longer only launch ‘me-too’ products to compete against major national brands. Instead, private label lines are hotbeds of creativity, driving markets and establishing themselves as trend leaders.”

As many Americans spend less at restaurants, Mintel sees private label retailers creating premium in-home meals that boast restaurant quality and fresh ingredients.

Portable, high-quality lunches are another prominent area of private label development as people look for cheaper alternatives to the local café.


Convenience remains a driver for private label prepared foods, but Mintel GNPD sees health and nutrition increasingly influencing product development. Such products span the store, highlighted by a range from private label manufacturer Lucerne Foods which includes kids’ Whole Wheat Mini Ravioli with fibre and protein, plant sterol-fortified Apple Cinnamon Granola, and Light Ice Cream Cups containing probiotics.

“Private label manufacturers realise ‘value’ means more than ‘low price’ to consumers, so they’re wisely creating new products that deliver on some of today’s most exciting food trends,” Ms Faron said.

As the recession led to more Americans cutting down on food spending, private label has benefitted: the US market grew 9.3% in 2008 (compared to 4.5% for branded food sales). Mintel forecasts it will grow another 8.1% by the end of 2009.

Similar trends have held up in Australia with private label outstripping the growth of national brands, although growth differentials around the world have begun to narrow again as the seeds of recovery are sown.