Inflation has consumers seeking out private label brands, especially in categories such as baking mixes and soup, according to new data from shopper intelligence firm Catalina.
Private brand baking mix sales are up 40% year to date, Catalina found, with soup sales increasing 17%, prepared foods up 12%, dried vegetables up 11%, canned fish up 10%, cereal and baby food both up 6%, and deodorant up 4%.
The data comes amidst reports earlier this month that Amazon has started slashing the number of private label items it sells as it faces regulatory pressure for potential antitrust violations for competing with some of the sellers on its own platform. The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, though Amazon executives have denied the reports.
Amazon sold some 243,000 private-label products across its 45 house brands as of 2020, according to the WSJ, which said that Amazon executives have been telling its private-label group to cut that list of items and not reorder many of them, potentially gutting the list by more than half.
Amazon started its private-label business in 2009 and now covers a wide range of product categories, though executives from the retail giant have previously said such items only make up 1% of its retail sales.
With soaring food-at-home costs, though, consumers appear to be turning to private-label items more than ever before, Catalina said.
“The data clearly indicates that shoppers have become more price-sensitive and value-driven in recent months,” Sean Murphy, the firm’s chief data and analytics officer, said in a statement.
The private-label growth reflected in the study highlights many of the current consumer trends, Catalina noted.
Shoppers are looking for affordable lunch and dinner solutions, hence the rising sales of easy-to-prepare items like canned fish and soup.
Cereal prices have soared this year, so consumers are likely seeking out lower-priced, house-brand options.
And while that pandemic-fueled baking trend appears to have waned, shoppers are still seeking out small indulgences, leaning on private-label baking mixes to fill their need for cakes and cookies.
Private-label baby food and formula also appears to be filling some of the gaps during the nationwide formula shortage, the firm noted.