A pair of new reports look at the battle of national brands and private label from opposite sides.More...

A pair of new reports look at the battle of national brands and private label from opposite sides.

Store Brands & the Economy: Are Consumers Ready to Start Spending Again?, from the Private Label Manufacturers Association and GfK Custom Research North America, says private label got a boost from the recession and is in a strong post-recession position.

The report, based on a GfK survey, says 63% of respondents have changed their shopping habits as a result of the bad economy, and of those, 76% say they will continue to buy more store brands when the economy returns to normal. Packaged food in general will retain its recession bounce: 80% reported they will continue to “buy more canned, bottled or packaged foods and ingredients as opposed to buying convenience or ready-to-eat products” when the economy comes back to normal.

The report mentions packaging in the context of consumer information. About two-thirds of respondents said that “national brands and store brands both provide sufficient information equally” on labels and packaging about their products.

Frequently refreshed packaging can be a key weapon for national brands in their fight against private label products, according to a new report from Deloitte.

The report,The Battle for Brands in a World of Private Labels, advises marketers of national brands to be distinctive, even “irreplaceable,” and discourage copycat products by private-label packagers. The report notes that “me-too” private-label brands are still a favored strategy: “All too often, retailers are able to take national brand products to third party manufacturers, or even the branded company, and develop a private label version with similar packaging.”

The report advises national brand marketers to ask themselves whether their product would pass the test of a retailer offering its own competing store brand for free with the purchase of the national brand. To come out on top, the report suggests, the national brand would have to have “an aggressive cadence for product innovation, including frequently refreshed packaging.”