Description

“Store brands have been deeply integrated into Canadians’ grocery baskets for a long time. COVID-19 has only served to deepen their importance. Beyond the pandemic, private label will continue to play an important role in Canada’s grocery landscape, serving as a way to deliver value to customers, a means to differentiate and ultimately drive in-store traffic.”

– Joel Gregoire, Associate Director Food & Drink

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior in the private label market.
  • Private label’s role relative to national brands.
  • The perceived importance of private label versus national brands at the category level.
  • Drivers of private label purchase to help prioritize messaging/positioning.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
        • Executive Summary

            • Top takeaways
              • Market overview
                • Impact of COVID-19 on private label
                  • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and longer-term impact of COVID-19 on private label, February 2021
                • Opportunities
                  • Younger shoppers’ perception of store brands differs from older shoppers
                    • Store brands drive traffic
                      • Having a good experience with one store brand product can resonate across categories
                        • Challenges
                          • National brands’ best defence can be found in their brand equity
                            • Store brands have evolved beyond being ‘rip-offs’ to name brands
                            • The Market – Key Takeaways

                              • COVID-19 widens the divide between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’
                                • Store brands can help make home more entertaining in a dark time
                                  • Private label allows retailers greater control of their brand narratives
                                  • Market Factors

                                    • COVID-19 widens the divide between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’
                                      • What brands ‘stand for’ matters more than ever
                                        • Figure 2: Percent of Canadians who agree it’s ‘very important’ that a company acts morally/ethically, by age, December 2019
                                      • Mental and emotional wellbeing takes on heightened importance during the pandemic
                                        • Figure 3: Importance of eating healthy for one’s physical and emotional wellbeing, (% any agree), September 2020
                                    • Market Opportunities

                                      • Private label can help make home more entertaining in a dark time
                                          • Figure 4: PC President’s Choice Barbecue Chicken Steamed Buns (Canada), January 2021
                                          • Figure 5: Irresistibles Falafel Bowl with Spiced Rice & Quinoa (Canada), January 2021
                                          • Figure 6: Kirkland Signature Premium Strawberry Margarita (Canada), January 2021
                                          • Figure 7: Panache Sweet Chili & Sour Cream Flavour kettle-Cooked Potato Chips (Canada), December 2020
                                          • Figure 8: Great Value Poutine-Style & Bacon Breakfast Bowl (Canada), December 2020
                                          • Figure 9: PC President’s Choice East Cook! Cod in Miso & Yuzu Butter Sauce (Canada), January 2021
                                        • Private label allows retailers greater control of their brand narratives
                                          • A more sophisticated store brand shopper heightens the need for transparency
                                            • Investment in brand equity and innovation is national brands’ best defence against store brands
                                            • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                              • Private label’s popularity is driven by the perception that it has improved over time
                                                • COVID-19 has bolstered private label purchasing
                                                  • Nearly all Canadians purchase private label products
                                                    • Value is store brands’ biggest selling feature
                                                    • Attitudes toward Private Label

                                                      • Private label’s popularity is driven by the perception that it has improved over time
                                                        • Figure 10: “The quality and variety of store brands have improved over time” and “Store brands are just a rip-off of national brands” (% agree), December 2020
                                                        • Figure 11: “Store brands are just a rip off of national brands” (% agree), by age, December 2020
                                                        • Figure 12: Great Value Gluten Free Fusilli Pasta (Canada), July 2019
                                                        • Figure 13: Great Value Organic Side Dishes Rotini Pasta (Canada), December 2019
                                                      • Private label is its own best ally (or worst enemy) in promoting products across categories
                                                        • Figure 14: Attitudes toward the impact of a store brand’s reputation across food and non-food categories (% agree), December 2020
                                                        • Figure 15: Compliments Buffalo Cauliflower Bites (Canada), January 2021
                                                        • Figure 16: PC President’s Choice Cajun Seafood Bake (Canada), January 2020
                                                        • Figure 17: PC President’s Choice Beefless Strips (Canada), December 2020
                                                      • Store brands help drive traffic
                                                        • Figure 18: Attitudes around store brands driving traffic and openness to store carrying mostly store brands (% agree), December 2020
                                                        • Figure 19: “I’m willing to shop in grocery stores where the product assortment is mostly or entirely made up of store brands” (% agree), by age, December 2020
                                                      • Private label helps shoppers save where they want to
                                                        • Figure 20: Attitudes on price, quality and tiering, December 2020
                                                        • Figure 21: No Name Strawberry Jam with Pectin (Canada), January 2021, PC Blue Menu Twice the Fruit (Canada), November 2017, PC Black Label British Columbia Strawberry Fruit Spread (Canada), June 2015
                                                        • Figure 22: “I’m willing to compromise on quality when it comes to store brand products if I can save money” (% agree), by age, December 2020
                                                        • Figure 23: “I’m willing to compromise on quality when it comes to store brand products if I can save money” (% agree), by age and household income, December 2020
                                                    • COVID-19’s Impact on Private Label

                                                      • COVID-19 has bolstered private label purchasing
                                                        • Figure 24: Change in store brand purchasing behaviour since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, December 2020
                                                        • Figure 25: Purchasing more store brand products since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, by age, December 2020
                                                      • Habit and price represent store brands’ main appeal during the pandemic
                                                        • Figure 26: Reasons for buying more or the same amount of store brand products since the start of COVID-19, December 2020
                                                        • Figure 27: Reasons for buying more or the same amount of store brand products since the start of COVID-19, December 2020
                                                        • Figure 28: Select reasons for buying more or the same amount of store brand products since the start of COVID-19, 18-34s vs over-35s, December 2020
                                                        • Figure 29: Reasons related to habit and grocery spend as reasons for buying more versus the same amount of store brand products since the start of COVID-19, December 2020
                                                        • Figure 30: Welcome to the Haulerverse, November 12, 2020
                                                      • Other reasons also impact store brand purchases
                                                        • Figure 31: Reasons related to safety, trial and uniqueness as reasons for buying more versus the same amount of store brand products since the start of COVID-19, December 2020
                                                      • Store brands are a vehicle for culinary exploration
                                                      • Private Label Usage and Penetration

                                                        • Nearly all Canadians purchase private label products
                                                          • Figure 32: Percent of grocery shoppers who purchase store brand products by category, December 2020
                                                          • Figure 33: Percent of grocery shoppers who purchase store brand products by category (select), men vs women, December 2020
                                                          • Figure 34: Percent of grocery shoppers who purchase store brand products by category (select), 18-44s vs over-45s, December 2020
                                                          • Figure 35: Percent of grocery shoppers who purchase store brand products by category (select), by parental status, December 2020
                                                          • Figure 36: Percent of grocery shoppers who purchase store brand products by category (Select), Quebec vs overall, December 2020
                                                        • Name brands remain the primary go-to for store brand shoppers
                                                          • Figure 37: Percent of grocery shoppers who purchase store brands vs national brands, December 2020
                                                          • Figure 38: Percent of grocery shoppers who purchase store brands, by category and age, December 2020
                                                        • Ample room for store brands to grow by winning over ‘flexible’ shoppers
                                                          • Figure 39: Percent of grocery shoppers who are more or equally likely to buy store brands, by category, December 2020
                                                          • Figure 40: Percentage of grocery shoppers who are equally likely to buy store brands and national brands by category, men vs women, December 2020
                                                          • Figure 41: Percent of grocery shoppers who are more likely to buy national brands by category, men vs women, December 2020
                                                          • Figure 42: Percent of grocery shoppers who are more likely to buy store brands by category, men vs women, December 2020
                                                      • Reasons for Choosing Store Brands over National Brands

                                                        • Value is store brands’ biggest selling feature
                                                          • Figure 43: Reasons for purchasing store brands over national brands, ranked first to third, December 2020
                                                        • Younger shoppers show greater interest in innovative store brand offerings
                                                          • Figure 44: Reasons for purchasing store brands over national brands, by age, December 2020
                                                          • Figure 45: Reasons for purchasing store brands over national brands (any rank), by household income, December 2020
                                                          • Figure 46: Reasons for purchasing store brands over national brands (any rank), South Asians & Chinese Canadians vs overall, December 2020
                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                        • Data sources
                                                          • Consumer survey data
                                                            • Consumer qualitative research
                                                              • Mintel Trend Drivers
                                                                • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                  • Abbreviations

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