Inflation is pushing consumers towards private label, says Catalina

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

Photo Credit: GettyImages
Photo Credit: GettyImages

Related tags: Private label, Catalina, Inflation

As inflation pushes consumers to seek out more affordable products, retailers are seeing a surge in unit sales in certain private label categories, according to data and insights firm Catalina.

In its recent analysis of the private label market, Catalina found that specific categories experienced a surge in unit sales increases in the 6-month period between 1/1/2022 – 7/17/2022 vs. the same period last year.  

Private label categories that saw double-digit sales increases included baking mixes (+40%), soup (+17%), prepared foods (+12%), dried vegetables (+11%), and canned fish (+10%), indicating that consumers are seeking out convenient options to help them prepare multiple meals throughout the day, according to Catalina.

“The rise in unit sales of store brand staples like canned fish and soup indicates consumers are looking for affordable lunch and dinner solutions,”​ said Catalina, also adding, “While the pandemic-fueled trend of scratch baking has declined, baking mixes remain popular, with shoppers increasingly opting for store brand mixes.”

Other categories including baby food and cereal experienced more modest unit sales growth of +6% during the same 6-month period vs. one year ago.

Many major CPG manufacturers of name brand cereal products including Kellogg and General Mills have introduced a series of price hikes to their products over the last year pushing consumers to opt for more private label options, noted Catalina. In its 2022 Food Price Outlook​, the USDA found that prices for name brand cereal products have increased between 10% and 11% in 2022 vs. 2021.

In the category of baby food, consumers are dealing with nationwide shortages of name brand products, and retailers' private label offerings have helped to fill the void, noted Catalina.

“The data clearly indicates that shoppers have become more price-sensitive and value-driven in recent months,”​ said Sean Murphy, chief data & analytics officer at Catalina, noting how private label marketers can benefit from customized and tailored marketing efforts to target and re-engage more budget-conscious shoppers.

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