The market researcher said that despite pledges from many food and drink manufacturers not to produce private label versions of their products, 44% of UK consumers still thought that private label and national brand foods were made in the same factory. In addition, it found that 59% of consumers thought that advertising costs were the only reason national brands were more expensive.
“This will be a significant blow for branded manufacturers who look to differentiate from store-own products by promoting attributes such as brand authenticity, heritage and expertise in manufacturing,” said Canadean research manager Emma Herbert.
Canadean conducted the research among 2,000 UK consumers in February this year. It found that the perception of equal quality was particular strong for tinned foods, for which 70% of shoppers thought private label versions were just as good or better than their branded equivalents.
“Although perceptions of the quality of private label products have been improving for decades, these findings show that shoppers now believe they can actually get their preferred brands for a cheaper price because it is presented in supermarket style branded packaging,” Herbert said.
However, consumers did prefer to buy branded products in some categories, the researcher found, including alcoholic beverages and personal care products. For private label beer, for example, more than half of respondents (52%) said they thought private label products were inferior to national brands.
Herbert said that perception of quality was linked to perception of the level of expertise required to produce particular items.
“Therefore brand loyalty will be higher in these categories meaning that shoppers will be less inclined to switch to cheaper alternatives,” she said.