Editors’ Picks has a new feel this year. Particularly in a COVID-19 retail crisis, the Store Brands staff decided it better to not have manufacturers and retailers send products through the mail for a taste test. Instead, editors culled through hundreds of product entries, and read through recent product news coverage over a qualifying 15-month period.
Our mission was to focus on innovation in a truly booming industry. Consider that private brand sales in May were up 25% year over year, according to Nielsen data. Though the numbers were boosted by the pandemic, even before COVID-19 was a household name, store brand sales were rising. Take, for example, IRI and FMI — the Food Marketing Institute’s November 2019 report that said year-over-year store brand sales outpaced national brands in total store sales across lower-, middle- and higher-income levels, seeing roughly 5% growth at each income level versus national brands’ 1% growth.