Bon Appétit Puts Private Label Front and Center

The renowned culinary publication shows the world the quality of store brand products.
Greg Sleter
Associate Publisher/Executive Editor
Greg Sleter profile picture
Marinara sauce

Those of us who live in the world of private label know about the quality products that are sold each day across numerous categories at retailers large and small.

At a time when private label products are again in the spotlight as consumers look for ways to tighten their belts, it was interesting to see a recent Bon Appétit article that featured a taste-test of store-brand marinara sauce conducted by the renowned culinary publication. Reviewed was private label jarred sauce from Costco, Trader Joe’s, Target, Walmart, Safeway and Whole Foods.

Each item was tested with a ½ cup of sauce and 1 cup of cooked fusilli pasta. (Seinfeld fans, insert your jokes here.) Although none of the six sauces eclipsed Bon Appétit’s favorite sauce from Rao’s, the publication did note that all were better than or as good as Ragu, the well-known name-brand marinara. Additionally, each sauce tested cost less than $3 a jar. 

While the half-dozen sauces tested had their positives and negatives, the most popular were Costco’s Kirkland brand, Target’s Good & Gather and Whole Foods’ 365 marinara.

The taste test from Bon Appétit not only raised the profile of the products tested, but also served to show consumers still skeptical about trying a private label product that, indeed, these items are of high quality and offer a great value. 

In conversations with product suppliers in recent weeks, there has been much discussion about retailers looking to expand private label assortments. At a time when more consumers have dietary restrictions and issues such as sustainability are top of mind, private label programs give retailers greater control over product ingredients and the composition of packaging. Not to mention, they also allow consumers to save some money.

Kudos to Bon Appétit for sharing the results of this taste test. As economic challenges will continue in the months ahead, the consumer media will undoubtedly be talking more about private label products. Let’s see retailers and their supplier partners take advantage of this opportunity and promote their assortments.

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