The Reason Store-Brand Groceries Are More Popular Than Ever

With the seemingly ever-rising cost of groceries, it's getting harder and harder to be picky about what brands you're buying. Before now, you may have never bought anything other than name-brand Frosted Flakes or even considered opting for the generic version of Heinz ketchup. But according to the Food Industry Association (via Grocery Dive), that's the new reality many shoppers are currently facing.

In a survey conducted in March 2022, Food Industry Association found that 41% of customers are settling for more store-brands over name brands. 77% of those customers said they foresee themselves continuing to buy those same store-brands.

Not only are people drawn to the more affordable prices, the taste and quality is comparable to that of trusted name brands — and that's no accident, Grocery Dive shares. Kroger, along with several other major retailers, has been working on expanding its store-brand. The grocer introduced 239 new products in the first quarter of 2022 alone, earning it a 6.3% increase in private label sales, according to a press release.

History is repeating itself

Gone seem to be the days when people would turn their backs on generic brands in favor of what were seen as higher quality items. Since the Great Recession, the option has been a saving grace for many cash strapped customers, Eat This, Not That shares. During the peak of the pandemic in 2020, grocery store-brands came through once again, and a report from Deloitte that year found that since 2015, they had grown three times faster than name brands (per Eat This, Not That).

Thanks to the state of the economy, those shopping habits have resurfaced again, and now customers have better options than before. Store-brand expert Woochoel Shin, a marketing professor at University of Florida, told Money Crashers that private labels are often seen as inferior because they actually were back in the 1980s. These days, however, retailers have developed the quality of their store-brands significantly; many of which have been proven to be identical to premium quality in blind taste tests (per Money Crashers). That means if generic versions of food have become your new go-to, you're not missing out on much besides the name on the packaging.