During grocery trips, my shopping cart will include a mix of brand name and private label products whether that be because of taste preferences or price point. During times of measurable inflation, some American shoppers are turning to store brands for food and non-food brands. A recent report from the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) shows that consumers were more intrigued by store brands in the past year.

In all outlets from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2023, sales of store brands were $236.3 billion last year, an increase of $10.1 billion (4.7%), compared with 2022, according to PLMA’s “2024 Private Label Report.”

“Overall, the industry is healthier than ever,” said PLMA President Peggy Davies, in a statement in the report. “One of every five food or non-food grocery products sold across the U.S. carries the retailer’s name or own brand and was supplied by a store brand manufacturer.”

One of the leading sectors was beverages, which saw store brand dollar sales volume increase $12.9 billion (an 8.9% increase compared with 2022). Overall store brand dollar share for the beverage category was 9.2% in 2023, up 0.1 percentage point compared with 2022. Unit shares of store brands in beverage was 10.7%, unchanged from 2022.

Of the store brands in the Top 20 edible food categories tracked in the report, bottled water registered $7.4 billion in sales from store brands, up 8.8%, and accounts for 29.5% of the category’s dollar share. Store brand coffee meanwhile registered $2.2 billion in sales, a 2.7% increase, and accounts for 18% of the category’s dollar share.

Private label manufacturers remain optimistic about the future of the market as younger shoppers are showing affinity for store brands. The report notes that in a 2024 PLMA study that more than half of 907 Gen Z shoppers surveyed indicated they “always/frequently” choose where to shop based on its store brands. The following are additional insights from Gen Z consumers:

  • 67% are “extremely/very” aware of store brands
  • 64% buy store brands “always/frequently”
  • 56% are “extremely likely/likely” to experiment with store brands to find the “best value”
  • 38% said choosing a store brand makes them feel “very positive/positive” about themselves

Limited assortment retailer ALDI recently expanded its private label wine selection with the release of the California Heritage Collection, a new line offering shoppers flavors of the Golden State for less than $5 a bottle.

The collection, sourced directly from renowned California vineyards, was created in response to the steady growth of ALDI wine sales, surge in value-minded shoppers and demand for authentic, quality options from millennial and Gen Z shoppers, the company announced. Retailing for $4.95 a bottle, the ALDI California Heritage Collection is available in the following varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Moscato, Pink Moscato, Sweet Red, Brut Sparkling and Extra Dry Sparkling.

Gopuff x Pure Green Refreshers
Image courtesy of GoPuff

Instant commerce platform Gopuff also expanded its private label offerings this past winter with the launch of Gopuff x Pure Green Refreshers, a line of cold-pressed juice beverages made with functional ingredients. Gopuff x Pure Green Refreshers are available in the following varieties: Immunity Refresher, Energize Refresher, Glow Refresher, and Revive Refresher.

“Over the past two years, we’ve leveraged consumer insights to develop several private label brands that break from the mold to bring our customers more of what they love: bold flavors, high-quality ingredients and affordable prices,” said Jessica Glendenning, director of private label at Gopuff, in a statement at the time of the release. “Today, we’re thrilled to partner with Pure Green, an authority in the cold-pressed juice space, to redefine yet another category. With vibrant flavors, no added refined sugar, and functional ingredients, we know our customers will love the new Gopuff x Pure Green Refreshers.”

In addition to launching its own brands Basically and Goodnow, Gopuff launched collaborations with Chris Paul (GoodEat’n) and 100 Thieves (Juvee), in the past two years, it notes.

As younger consumers gain more buying power, time will tell how invested they will be in private label beverages.