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The Voting Booth

The Voting Booth


I recently took an informal vote among my friends, all of whom are the primary household shopper. I asked them if they were buying more or less private-label products and why.

The majority said they were, indeed, buying more store brands because the quality is there at a price they like.

Danny Wegman sees the same happening among his customers.

“Customers are willing to try our brands like they never have been before,” Wegmans’ chief executive officer said in a session this morning at the Food Marketing Institute’s Private Brands Summit.

The economy has motivated more people to try private label. And now that they’ve had a taste, many will stick around even after their household budget improves.

“The consumer's view of private brands has changed forever,” Wegman stressed.

Wegman said consumers are voting for private label time and time again at the checkout.

Wegmans also puts its brands up to a different type of vote. Last year, it kicked off in-store taste tests to let customers decide which tastes better: the leading brand or the store brand.

More than a dozen private-label items have already been selected as tops. They include W Os cookies, Aqua V Lemonade Vitamin Water and Food You Feel Good About chunk light tuna in water. All are highlighted in-store with shelf signs reading “Great Taste Wins.”

What do the big name brands think of all this attention on private label? Check back tomorrow, when I blog about what P&G's newly elected CEO has to say.