Nielsen: Private Label Sales Grew 3X Faster Than National Brands

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In a recent report released by Nielsen and cited by Food Navigator, private label sales surpassed the sales of national brands. Private labels are manufactured by one company under another company’s brand or private label. Also called OEM products, they can add margin to stores as well as provide more credibility to shoppers.

The Benefits of Private Labels

Whether it is a bottle of orange juice or a bottle of ketchup, today’s shoppers are comfortable with private labels, which they also called “generic” brands.  There are a lot of benefits to using private labels. Private skip the big brand name, so there is no added cost which allows vendors to add cost or value to their product in other areas to make it more reliable. It is also a solid strategy for retailers as it can reduce competition in different categories.

The Growth of Private Label Sales


The Nielsen report has shows that private labels have experienced a complete reversal regarding its growth, sales, and popularity. In fact, future projections indicate that there will be continued growth for such products and that the market share could hit 25.7% by 2027. This translates to an 8% growth rate over the next ten years.

The popularity of private labels has resulted in retailers like Lidl, Aldi, and Trader Joe’s to earn more revenue and build customer loyalty. In fact, such retail companies have emphasized these products in their online and brick and mortar stores with much success.

National Brands Vs. Private Labels

Big food manufacturers are watching this trend with alarm. And even the brands that remain strong and unsurpassed by private label products are still watching with keen eyes and ready to react. Most national brands are working on convincing shoppers that national brands have been tried and tested and worth the extra cost. But in reality, market experts noted that longtime legacy brands could get an extra boost especially if they continue to innovate and do not rest on their laurels.

While the private label brands are not yet posing too much threat to national brands, there is still a possibility that it can happen. If national brands cannot keep up with the private labels, the market scene in the United States will look more like in Europe where private label commands more loyalty from consumers.  In fact, in the UK, private labels hold 45% of the market share within the grocery sector. The reason why private labels are popular in Europe is that they provide more value for the money and that they offer more choices to shoppers.

Private labels will be huge in the following years. If private labels keep up with the changes as well as offer more value and choices to shoppers, they can ride the current trend for a long time to come.

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Tactile and Multisensory Foods Could Be Top Trend For Brands in 2018

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Tactile and multisensory experiences are all about feeling and hearing the connection. Phil Lempert, The Supermarket Guru, believes we have evolved, and 2018 is a particular year for brands to take advantage of the tactile approach. A multisensory food will appeal to more than consumer’s taste buds. Brands will look to add features and experiences that appeal to the hearing and visual senses.

Tactile Brands Will Be More Memorable

The clean label trend is here to stay, but Phil believes consumers are at peak food information overload. It’s time that foods move to a more intellectual connection with visual and auditory cues. Foods that enable sounds like chopping, stirring, chewing and crunching will give consumers a food euphoria every time.

Brands Already Implementing the Tactile Approach

The crunch of a crisp snack echoes in our brain, and we subconsciously resonate with it in the future. Also, think about the crisp taste of a beer, but enhancing that with virtual reality as Guinness recently did.

Sensory marketing is nothing new, but Phil makes an excellent point that this trend will gain steam after the focus on ingredients, clean labels, and more over the past few years. Sampling is one of the critical ways to implement a multisensory marketing approach at retail and food events. Costco has been using this technique for years to drive sales in specific products and categories.

Tactile and multisensory approaches will be food and beverage brands secret weapon in 2018. Watch and listen for more!

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CPG Brands Experiencing Growth in New Retail Platforms

The primary theme of the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry is growing sales. In the IRI Channel Performance Report, growth is present but limited. According to Vice President of Thought Leadership for IRI, Susan Viamiri, the reason for this is that shoppers are now more demanding and are spending their money on products that can deliver on their needs and expectations.

In the previous year, the industry amassed total sales of $760 billion where 41% was accounted for in the grocery channel. Another platform where consumer packaged goods are doing well is online. Most people still purchase the items that they need in grocery stores. The reason why grocery stores accounted for higher sales than any other platforms is that many people make quick trips to purchase their items. In 2016 alone, the number of grocery trips rose by 1.3%.

Strategies to Stay Ahead of Competition

As a result, many grocery stores have experimented with their store format to increase margins and survive the stiff competition with other retailers. Other strategies that they are using include subscription-based programs and promoting their CPG brands to millennials. The new formats embraced by CPG retailers will continue to transform the retail market for years to come.

As mentioned previously, e-commerce stores are also instrumental in driving the sales today. E-commerce is responsible for 8% of all CPG revenue. Market analysts are forecasting that the sale is faster because of the convenience it provides to consumers. This has many brick-and-mortar retailers scrambling to become more competitive.

The consumer packaged goods industry is eyeing different types of shoppers. The generational shoppers include the Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers. These kinds of generational shoppers have different shopping attitudes. For instance, both millennials and generation Xs shop in mass markets and look into the price of goods more than anything else. Baby boomers, on the other hand, spend on convenience while seniors often pay more in bulk for drugstore purchases.

Social Media: How it Helps CPG Brands and Retailers

Too much competition is one of the biggest problems right now. Even big retailers find it hard to infiltrate densely-populated areas, so they create a downsized version of their retail stores. To be able to attract more people, they use loyalty programs and technology to let their customers know about their different offerings. They go to social media to interact with their customers and attract more potential clients.

The consumer packaged goods industry is fast-paced, and personalization is essential in breaking through the tough marketplace. By offering customization, customers feel important as they know that retailers can deliver their needs using the best solution possible.

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How Brands Can Compete with Amazon’s CPG Subscriptions

With technology at our fingertips, consumers all over the globe have experienced many conveniences–one in the form of online shopping. In a study conducted a few years ago, it noted that the e-commerce of consumer packaged goods rose by 42%. In fact, Amazon accounted for more than 20% of all the CPG growth.

Scott Galloway from New York University said that Amazon is dominating the retail industry and is undoubtedly evolving. But what makes Amazon the epitome of the retail industry? Simply put, the company delivers its products fast and simple. The brown packaging contains exactly what the clients ordered – no frills and flair involved.

The preference of people to get consumer packaged goods from Amazon has caused fierce competition for the smaller retailers. Although this may spell impending doom to Amazon’s competitors, there are still ways to compete with Amazon, and the secret lies heavily on owning the contact information of their customers so they can build their database and analyze purchase behavior analysis. Creating a competitive subscription service is the key, but, how can this be done?

Create A Dedicated Subscriptions Channel

Dedicate a subscription channel that can handle and connect with consumers. Customer service is critical. For bigger companies, look for a younger yet promising employee who exhibits management skills and IT skills to man the subscription channel. By doing so, they will be in-charge of making real-time reactions to different market conditions and make decisions based on what the customer wants and needs.


Do A Trial Run

Before introducing a subscription, it is important to perform a trial run. The test size for the trial run should be sizable enough that it is statistically significant. It should be marketed on different digital channels and must be done in different variations so that management can determine the best product offering. This means that the trial should involve many (even hundreds) of subscription orders to be able to pinpoint which one justifies the cost per order and the scalability of the campaign. Once the specific subscription has been identified, it is important to do continuous testing as digital channels are always evolving, what works today might not work tomorrow.

Partner with A Subscription-Focused Vendor

Launching a subscriptions campaign requires constant research. Smaller companies can take advantage of hiring technology vendors to create programs for e-commerce, analytics, as well as customer service. While creating a program in-house is easy, the systems necessarily do not communicate with one another and they are not scalable. Partnering with a vendor can provide experienced people who can work on a fully integrated solution, resulting in a faster transaction, better customer experience, and accurate data. Smaller companies can benefit from subscription channels but having their own in-house team to manage can be difficult, so partnering with experienced vendors provides the best solution.

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Evolving Views of Healthy Eating Strain CPG Sales

The consumer packaged goods industry sky-rocketed after World War II when people suddenly realized that it takes a fraction of a time to prepare meals with processed foods than with whole foods. Consumer packaged goods (CPG) are sold quickly because they are convenient and useful for a variety of household jobs. Fast-forward today, the popularity of consumer packaged goods is starting to dwindle as more consumers are becoming conscious about their health and the environment.

Corporations Are Suffering In Sales Decline

In fact, the sales of consumer packaged goods have started to decline as observed during the first quarter of 2017. But this isn’t news and brands knew that consumers shifted to using healthy and environmentally-friendly products. Giant CPG manufacturers have reported a decline in their sales. Companies like PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, and Nestle have all reported lower CPG sales but are still expecting things to pick up soon.

In a survey conducted by Nielsen, the purchase of consumer packaged goods in the United States has dropped by 2.5% in unit sales in the first quarter. Most of the companies blame the dip in sales to the changing mindset of their customers.

Reason For The Sales Decline

Customers these days demand fresh and healthy foods, which most CPG companies are not experts in manufacturing. The changing mindset of consumers forced major food manufacturers to reformulate their products to contain less salt, preservatives, and sugar. Aside from reformulating their products, they also rebranded their image by offering more health-focused products.

While such initiatives will help big manufacturers pick up their sales, analysts notice that more major brands still find it difficult to gain back traction as smaller startups are emerging and filling the needs of consumers. Startups are in better position to adapt to the changing requirements of the customers. According to Nielsen, startups are growing at a steady rate of 2.4% annually. This is probably the reason why many big brands are also looking into investing in smaller companies.

Startups Taking The Lead

So why is it difficult for major manufacturers to rebrand their image? These big companies have always been known for their products, and that is their legacy. Changing the reformulation of their products may lead to the alienation of their core customers who might not like the new taste and appearance of the new product.

For instance, Coca-Cola experienced a rebranding disaster during the 1980s when it revamped its formula and offered Diet Coke, but they were still able to pick up their sales and move forward soon after. Still, consumers have a mindset that if the product from a smaller startup has similar nutrition profile than its counterpart produced by giant companies, then they will opt for new things. Most consumers believe that startup companies can offer new things better than well-known CPG brands.

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American Consumers Want More Healthy Snacks

Consumers are becoming wiser these days, and they are not only buying snack foods to satisfy their cravings but also to maintain good health. Healthy snacks are the leading category for growth for companies looking to enter the “better-for-you” food market. Companies like Mondelez and Diamond Foods have taken into account the needs and preferences of consumers and are now offering nutritious foods in a variety of snack categories.

The healthy snack market is rapidly growing with a compound annual growth rate of 4.7% on overall sales. In the past two years, healthy bars have led the way in “better-for-you” snacks. The industry has a very positive outlook with a predicted growth of 5.7% per year into 2020.

Healthy Snacks Sell

healthy snacks shopping One of the significant reasons is that there is a rising preference among snackers for products that provide functional benefits. Second, products with “free from” labels are very appealing as many people suffer from different health conditions. Healthy snacks that are labeled gluten-free and allergen-free cater to an entirely new yet growing niche.

In general, adult consumers are snack more than ever before. In fact, 30% of most adults believe that snacking should be a part of their daily meals. They almost all agree that snacks are necessary to achieving daily nutrition requirements to sustain them through the day.

Large companies are Catching On…                                                                                                                     

The popularity of the healthy snack market has led many food manufacturers to invest in new equipment or acquire smaller niche brands. One of the fastest growing snack categories deals with protein based snacks like meat bars, nuts, and more.

Another development is the use of innovative flavors to make the healthy snack products unique. The market uses ethnic-based and other clever combinations to catch the attention of the consumers. This trend is very popular among the millennial and younger snackers who are not afraid to try new snack items as well as use snacks as meal replacements.

Aside from influencing the types of products that we see in the market, healthy snacking has also paved the way for many conventional snacking companies to create healthier snack lines. For instance, companies like Link Snacks, General Mills, PepsiCo, and ConAgra have ventured into the healthy meat snacks and snack bars. Moreover, even small retail stores and private labels have created products to answer the demand of the growing number of consumers who are looking for healthy snacks.

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Small Rivals Assaulting Big CPG Brands for Market Dominance

Gone are the days when owners of traditional consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands can sleep well at night. With small brands gaining traction today, brands like Nestle, Procter & Gamble, General Mills and Unilever are experiencing problems they didn’t see coming. The rise and dominance of small brands between 2011 and 2015 caused large conglomerate food companies to lose nearly 3% of their market share in the United States.  In the study conducted by data provider IRI and Boston Consulting Group, emerging local competitors are now being considered as threats to big multinational companies.

The Rise of Smaller Competitors

Why are large CPG companies suffering from decline? Marketing experts believe that size has something to do with it. One of the challenges of giant companies is their centralized decision-making processes and their consolidation of manufacturing processes. With the popularity of the brands themselves, companies have to spend millions of dollars in advertising and shelf placements at retailers.

On the other hand, advertising is also changing through time. TV advertising is no longer effective according to Nik Modi from RBC Capital Markets. With the rise and relevance of social media, it has provided an avenue for small brands to market their products to many people. In fact, hundreds of small brands have benefited from the rise of e-commerce as online sales have increased over the past five years.

Fast-Changing Market for CPG Brands

Many multinational giants find it hard to keep up with the fast-changing market trends. For instance, many people tend to patronize local companies producing essential products.  Ali Dibadj of Sanford C. Bernstein research firm pointed out that in many developing countries, middle-income consumers assume that Western products are superior therefore expensive; instead, they opt for local products that are cheaper but are just as effective.

In China, for instance, the sale of a local toothpaste manufacturer Yunnan Baiyao Group rose from 10% to 45% which indicated that the small local brands are being patronized instead of the branded consumer packaged goods (CPG).

Another interesting thing about small brands is that most consumers trust small brands more than the established ones. In the survey conducted by consultancy firm Deloitte, 10% of the respondents said that they are willing to pay more for the “craft” or “artisan” version of products than the mass-produced ones from large enterprises. This is one of the reasons why there is a rise of small companies that market the idea of “artisan,” “craft,” and “organic.”

Small Brands Remain Competitive

The market situation has provided an excellent opportunity for smaller brands.  These brands have contributed to the introduction of new products in the market. In America, for instance, more than 4,000 craft brewers have emerged over the last ten years as well as thousands of small brands using real, organic, and non-GMO ingredients.

What are big companies doing to address the problem? Aside from merging with other big companies to create better versions of their products, many are also backing smaller rivals. For instance, companies like Campbell Soup and Hain Celestial have helped small consumer packaged goods companies to manufacture organic baby foods.

The market remains strong for giant CPG companies, but they will have to pay closer attention to their nimbler, smaller counterparts. We will see more and more companies acquire small brands to fill their voids in market trends.

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