Do-It-Yourself or Farm It Out?

October 5, 2009

Every time there’s a downturn in the economy, the focus shifts to private label. And with good reason. According to the Private Label Manfacturers Association, sales of store brands in the major U.S. retail channels surged by more than 10% in 2008 to a record $83.3 billion. More recently, through the first eight months of 2009, store brand sales rose 7.4% as falling commodity prices and increased retail discounting cut into private label gains.

But unlike years past, when the recession is over, consumers may not return to national brands. According to a consumer survey conducted on behalf of PLMA, a whopping 91% of shoppers said they will continue buying store brand products after the recession ends and the same percentage agreed that the store brand products they buy are as good as or better than national brand products. Certainly, one must consider the source when it comes to reports about the staying power of private label, but there’s no denying a growing acceptance of these products among consumers. I can testify to the improved quality of private lable products. Just last month, I was a judge in the PLMA’s Annual Salute to Excellence Awards, which recognizes the best private label products in a wide range of categories, including household and personal care. The winners will be announced in January.

Whether you’re a retailer looking to launch a complete line of household and personal care products, such as Target’s Up & Up (which graces our cover this month), or a marketer with a product idea but no desire to produce it yourself, take the time to peruse our Contract Manufacturing/Private Label Directory. It gives you all the information you need on hundreds of companies that are capable of taking your idea from concept through finished product.

This edition of Happi also includes articles on the dynamic ethnic skin care sector, the latest developments in household and personal care wipes and the growing importance of testing laboratories as marketers realize they need to substantiate all those product claims.

We hope you enjoy this edition of Happi. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.

Tom Branna
VP/Editorial Director

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