A tumultuous economic year in 2022 made for a record year for private label. At Store Brands’ recent Private Label State of the Industry Webinar, Doug Baker, VP of Industry Relations at FMI - The Food Industry Association, joined Store Brands’ Executive Editor/Associate Publisher Greg Sleter to discuss how private label can continue making gains in 2023.
“We’re in an opportunity year right now, we’ve seen this a few times at least over my 30+ years in the industry,” said Baker, citing high inflation. “People start making choices to move to private brands for one reason or another, so these last few years have been a real opportunity for us to grow awareness and grow participation with the consumer set. We’ve come so far as a private brand industry, not only in our formulations but in our packaging, and our sustainability efforts… you have to feel pretty good where we’re at right now, it doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot of work to do.”
Baker added that the current economic climate is leading shoppers to behave in ways that are indicative of a recession, despite no official consensus that the U.S. economy is in one. He said that compared to past economic downturns, the private label industry is much stronger and more well-developed than before.
“Because of inflationary pressures, consumers are having to be savvy again, and I applaud them for that. Retailers are responding to that with their trading partners. Compared to 2008 to today, we’ve come a long way.”
Going forward, Baker said that developing more healthy, clean-label products will be crucial for the private label industry to continue growing in 2023.
“Organic is going to continue to grow for the healthy factor,” he said. “Even price point products can still be functional as you try to find foods to make healthy meals. We need to be thinking as a private brand industry, ‘how do we help them [consumers] find those items.’”
The full webinar can be viewed on-demand here.