Supermarkets | Own brands in the foreground

From flour and yoghurt to coffee and hamburger buns, private label products can be found in all sections of supermarkets. And retailers are stepping up their efforts more than ever to expand, promote and make their assortment more attractive, helping to gradually change the perception of consumers who attached the label “low-end products” to these items .

Posted at 5:00 am

Nathaelle Morissette

Nathaelle Morissette
The press

“House brands used to be at the bottom of the shelves. We lifted them up there,” illustrates Caroline Cadorette. This is the observation made by the “professional couponer”, founder of the Facebook group Couponomiser à l’année, on her weekly tours of the grocery store.

Mario Bélanger, a retail and distribution consultant, checks the flyers for the various brands on a weekly basis. The one who until recently held the position of CEO of Mayrand assures that he has never seen so many compliments, irresistibles or unnamed products highlighted in promotions. He made the same observation as Cadorette recently in the supermarket: private label orange juice took up as much space, if not more, than national brand orange juice. “Retailers give their house brands more visibility. They’re very well known,” he notes. And the brands – both at IGA and at Metro and Loblaw (Maxi and Provigo) – have all agreed The press that they want to devote more and more energy to their brands and add new products.

While consumers looking for ways to save are more likely to turn to these cheaper brands during these inflationary times, their perception of them is also changing, according to Jordan LeBel, associate professor of grocery marketing at Concordia University.

“The consumer is now ready to give private labels a second chance. A decade ago, private label was positioned as entry-level for people who wanted to stretch their grocery dollar as much as possible because they often came from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, he explains. Today, private label is truly positioning itself as a viable alternative to national brands for everyone. »

In fact, in the fall, Loblaw will mark the expense with an advertising campaign in which it will focus on its two brands: President’s Choice and No Name. Johanne Héroux, Senior Director, Corporate Affairs and Communications, did not want to give any more details at Loblaw. This holiday season, 100 new items packaged under the President’s Choice name will hit shelves. Currently, the brand has 4000 products, while there are 1000 that the consumer will find in No Name’s yellow packaging.


Loblaw will launch an advertising campaign this fall that will highlight its two brands: President’s Choice and No Name.

At the IGA, a lot of emphasis was placed on product presentation over the past two years. “We changed all of the Compliments brand packaging and introduced the Panache brand to replace Sensations,” explains spokeswoman Anne-Hélène Lavoie. The aim is to further develop the brand. It’s part of plans to have more private label products. “Currently the sign says “several thousand”.

The same goes for Metro, which has a list of 4,800 in-house products. ” [Dans le segment des collations]we are in the process of developing a range to meet these new needs,” explains Marie-France Gibson, Vice President of Private Label at Metro.

A “copy-paste” of the national brand?

On the other hand, retailers who outsource their products to third-party manufacturers—often companies that specialize in making private label products—claim that their recipe for things like ketchup isn’t a “copier” of the popular Heinz.

“We have to improve the product,” emphasizes Mme Gibson. It has to be tasty, efficient and attractive, and you have to be able to compete with the big budget big players. It’s a constant effort. »

“The idea isn’t to be a pale copy of… but really to have the best possible product,” adds Johanne Héroux.

“When they launched their Le Décadent cookie to compete with the national brand, Loblaw executives promised consumers it would be 50% chocolate chips,” recalls Jordan LeBel. “They didn’t want a version cheap of the national leader, he adds bluntly. They wanted something that would really trump him. »

“We made an ambitious promise to consumers. I think private labels need to come back to this so people think it’s worth swapping supermarkets for that brand. »

private brands

IT: Compliments Panache

Number of products: several thousand

Subway : Wellness, Selection, Irresistibles, Eco selection

Number of products: 4800

Loblaw: Election of the President, Unnamed

Number of products: 5000

Other own brands: Our Excellency (Walmart), Great Value (Walmart), Kirkland (Costco)

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