Time to shine

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Time to shine

By Seth Mendelson - 08/26/2020

“From my angle, at least, this might be private label’s best chance to make a lasting impact with consumers in a generation.”

Those words of wisdom did not come from a private label or store brand supplier. Nor can they be attributed to a retailer, many of whom are using private label to gain market share and consumer loyalty. Instead, they were uttered by the vice president of marketing for a major consumer products company, a firm that spends a great deal of money convincing consumers that they should pay a little more for a brand that they are familiar with and trust.

But these are not normal times. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed much over the last five months and promises to change even more over the next months and even years, whether there is a vaccine or plausible treatment or not.

In stores, the pandemic has played a huge role in the increasing cost of just about everything sold at mass retail, from eggs and milk to meat and produce and even chocolate chip cookies. Prices are increasing at retail at a steady clip and the result is a harried and concerned consumer who is looking to do more with less money in a hectic time period.

With unemployment at double-digit levels, virtually every consumer worried about making ends meet and no end in sight to this pandemic, shoppers want as many alternatives as possible when deciding what to buy. National brands are stuck. High manufacturing costs and locked-in margin guarantees mean that companies cannot lower price points to satisfy the shopper today.

But private brands can make a difference. Lower price points, with the promise and delivery of quality merchandise, will help many consumers fill their shopping basket and keep their food budget in line.

The onus, however, is on the private label and store brand community. Consumers are looking for options. It is our responsibility and duty to give them these choices and to show them that they are not only saving money on store brand items, but they are getting a quality product that will barely register as different with their families at the dinner table. 

Private label has a great chance to build recognition, market share and loyalty. Let’s not blow the chance.

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