In grocery aisles, the quality and progessiveness of current generation private-label products has been a boon to shoppers who are maintaining a more frugal lifestyle, whether as a long-term philosophy, a sensible adjustment to the economic downturn or a remedial treatment for previous excess. Wegmans store brand products, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods 365, Target's Archer Farms and Costco's Kirkland Signature rank among the red badges of savvy grocery shopping.

Ongoing economic doldrums have created a rich environment for the steadily improved quality and steadily growing sales of private label food and beverage products. Packaged Facts (www.packagedfacts.com) estimates that private label food and beverage dollar sales topped $98 billion in 2011 to account for 17.6% of total food and beverage retail sales in the United States, with dollar sales rising 6% over the 2010 level.

Packaged Facts Food Shopper Insights survey data show that nearly two-thirds (62%) of shoppers believe that private label food and beverage products are usually as high quality as name brands, and more than half (53%) believe that private label products are often a better value than national name brands.

Private label products provide grocery retailers with greater profit margins than national brands and allow them to meet the heightened consumer demand for value. Grocery retailers across the board have announced plans to increase private label offerings, notably including expansion of good-for-you products and premium or foodie/gourmet offerings, along with the consolidation of multiple private label lines under new, more eye-catching labels.