FMI trend report signals store brand opportunities

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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As part of its comprehensive 2020 “U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends” report, FMI - The Food Industry Association found that shoppers are becoming brand-agnostic, caring more for what’s in a product than the name on the package.

The report said shoppers today have a sharper focus on health, looking deeper into products that offer clean ingredients, food function and wellness, and that this “brand-agnostic” approach is “boosting opportunities for store brands,” the report said.

Where store brands see opportunity is in premium private brand offerings, the report said. It shared a quote from a survey respondent:

“I got the raw organic honey from [retailer in the club channel]. It’s their [store] brand. All I was looking for was ‘organic.’ I just like having organic, natural brands, but I’ll get the generic ones. The brand doesn’t matter.” — Angela, 40

The report also said store brands are having an important impact on how stores are perceived. A store with strong private brands is a store perceived to have great product selection and to be more honest, as it’s a store that clearly stands behind its own products.

Among the attributes that relate to overall store satisfaction, the study found store brands ranked in the top four spots among 12 listed. It was a leading attribute when shopping in the convenience channel.

When asked about the most important attributes of a store that they primarily shopped, respondents clearly called for high-quality fruits and vegetables, a clean store and high-quality meats, with nearly three-fourths of respondents ranking these as most important. The results fared similar to the last few years, echoing the importance of those staples in a grocery store. 

However, store brands did have a positive impact on that question, with 38% of respondents naming private label as very important to their primary store, up six points from last year and the report noted, surprisingly, that private label ranked even higher when separating out online shoppers.

The FMI 2020 trends report was conducted by The Hartman Group and was put together through one-on-one interviews with shopper households, ethnographic studies, a survey of nearly 3,000 participants in February 2020 and more. To read the complete study, it is available for download here