As consumers look for comfort foods, retailers can capitalize on

The connection between rising prices and the growing importance of private label is a natural one, but making the most of the opportunity requires a deeper look at what items are moving and how groceries can capitalize on this momentum.

Not all private label categories are created equal, and companies that focus on driving sales in areas of greatest opportunity will also reap the most benefit.

One of the biggest increases in private label interest comes from private label baking mixes, a category that saw a 40% increase in unit sales during the first six months of 2022 compared to 2021, according to data. of Catherine. The firm noted that a deeper understanding of which particular items in this category are moving can help capture their momentum.

“Retailers have several complementary strategies and tactics ranging from in-store, digital, e-com and more that they can implement to build excitement and increase sales using baking or even ‘easy baking’ as a theme/focal point,” Phyllis Johnson said. , Group Director, Brand Development in Catalina.


Johnson suggested bakery marketing events across the banner as a good way to put this information into action. In the store, cross-merchandising, bake tops and displays, and in-store signage can all play a role, while the digital component can use messaging and incentives through apps and social media to engage shoppers.

“With retailers already planning for the fourth quarter, and the holidays are big times for baking, the time is perfect to put together programs focused on baking,” Johnson said.

The growth of baking mixes has come at the expense of instant baking, which spiked during the pandemic and lockdowns but slowed as consumers returned to pre-pandemic activities, according to data from Catalina. Home baking will continue to decline, but newfound hobbies like baking bread will keep the category bloated compared to pre-pandemic levels.


The opportunities created by this dynamic are not limited to store-brand baking mixes. Time-hungry consumers still want the taste of a complete home-cooked meal, even if they don’t have time, and multiple categories can satisfy this need.

“Refrigerated cookie/dough has seen a 38% increase, suggesting consumers are looking for meals that have a ‘from scratch’ feel without doing the ‘from scratch’ work,” said Kim Kuhn, CEO of Brand Analytics at Katherine. “As consumers also seek healthy and easy meal additions, tofu is up 82% and fresh fruit is up 43%. Meanwhile, frozen cookie and brownie batter and frozen cakes are up 115% and 73%, respectively, as consumers top off their easy meals with easy desserts.”

The interest in these items makes this a good time for groceries to offer any private-label versions to their shoppers, as these brands can offer shoppers quality, variety and value during times of inflation, according to Johnson.

However, they must move quickly and use personalized conversations to remind shoppers of the private brands that fit their needs while interest is at its peak.

“It’s important for private labels to prepare for the market dynamics that will be in play as well-known brands regain supply chain strength and begin to react aggressively to private label gains,” said Sean Murphy, Executive Vice President , director of data and analysis of Catalina. . “I think a lot of brands have withheld incentives due to supply issues in the last couple of years. As they are fixed, national brands will likely respond in-market with promotions that expand and may change consumer choices.”

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