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Store Brands 2013: Animal Planet

Carol Angrisani

I was chatting with my friend in her kitchen one day when she casually walked past me, opened the refrigerator door, took out a container of chilled filtered water and poured it into her dog’s food bowl.

I’ve seen plenty of pet owners treat their furry friends like royalty. But my friend’s actions showed just how deep their love is.

It motivated me to take a closer look at how retailers are catering to pet-loving consumers. The category is an important one because pet owners make up a huge market. About 62% of U.S. households — or 72.9 million homes — own a pet, according to the American Pet Products Association. Spending on food, supplies, medicine, grooming, boarding and other pet expenses was expected to reach nearly $53 billion last year.

While specialty stores like Pet Smart have eroded supermarket sales, all hope is not lost. Retailers Get Pet Smart explains how retailers are leveraging store brands to fight for their share. Some are creating upscale food lines, while others are offering lower-cost medicines.

Along with exploring the pet category, this year’s “Store Brands” supplement analyzes other topics current to today’s store-brand businesses. Take diabetes (read Catering to Diabetics). This is a huge market, as about 25.8 million children and adults in the United States — 8.3% of the population — have diabetes.

A clear sign that diabetics are getting more store-brand attention came last year when Wal-Mart Stores expanded its ReliOn brand of diabetes supplies. The line includes meters, test strips, glucose tabs, insulin and more.

Speaking of health and wellness, our cover story details consumer attitudes about the health and safety of the groceries they buy. The story is based on a consumer survey commissioned by the PLMA and executed by GfK/Roper.

One key finding is that store brands help consumers make purchasing decisions by providing information about the nutrition and environmental impact of their products.

Also inside this issue is SN’s annual ranking of store-brand promotions (read Top 10 Store Promotions). This year’s Top 10 list takes a look at how reality television celebrity endorsements and high-profile cooking challenges have added credibility to retail promotions. Safeway, for instance, held a “Top Chef”-style competition to find a new store-brand chef, while Supervalu partnered with a reality television celebrity chef for several recipes that feature its Essential Everyday products.

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