Whether you call them “generic,” “store brand,” or “private label,” non-name-brand groceries were once considered a bad thing.
“It wasn’t very attractive, but people were looking for ways to save money,” marketing professor Jan-Benedict Steenkamp told Marketplace about consumers’ perception of generic groceries when they came on the scene in the ’70s. “And for retailers, they were seeing it as a way to meet consumer demand for cheaper products. Neither of the two parties really liked them so much.”
Times and perceptions have definitely changed, however. A worldwide pandemic and record-breaking inflation have had a major impact on how we shop for groceries—perhaps permanently. In the quest to save money on staggering grocery bills, coupon clipping is suddenly cool, warehouse shopping is all the rage, and store-brand groceries are increasingly becoming many shoppers’ first choice.
According to a survey released by YouGov in April that studied shoppers’ awareness of “shrinkflation,” almost half of respondents (46%) said that they plan to save money by buying private label products. And the Private Label Manufacturers Association reports that store brand sales increased 11.3% in 2022, “nearly twice the growth of national brands.”
The quality of generic products is also just as good, and sometimes better, than name brand equivalents—so much so that there are lots of store brand groceries that have developed a cult following. Take a look at our list of the most beloved generics on the market, and take note for your next grocery run.