Own-label meat and dairy sales soar as price becomes more important than ever

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite, supermarket own-label products are performing well in both red meat and dairy sectors, while most branded items are struggling with falling demand, AHDB analysis has shown.

Own-label (also known as value tier) items have shown strong performance as trading down continues, with these products often being the cheapest items in supermarkets.

Value tier products make up only a small part of red meat and dairy volumes, at 7.7% (Kantar, 52 w/e 06 August) and 2.4% respectively (Nielsen, 52 w/e 12 August 2023). Despite this, value tier volumes have grown massively in both categories, up by 35.6% year-on-year (YoY) for red meat and an impressive 47.9% for dairy over the same period.

Mince was high on the list with sales volumes growing by 179.8% YoY, and milk and cheese value products also performed well, with volumes up by 56.3% and 56.7% respectively (Kantar, 52 w/e 06 August).

Tom Price, AHDB trainee analyst, said this YoY growth is due to consumers looking to cut back on spending as prices continue to rise.

“Price has become more important to consumers, however the data indicates that consumers do not want to fully remove their favourite meat and dairy products from their diet, but instead want to save money by purchasing value tier versions.

“By expanding the number of products on offer in the value tier and making sure this offering is tailored towards staples like mince, sausages and cheese, there is an opportunity to further expand retail sales of red meat and dairy.”

He pointed out not all supermarkets currently have a value tier range on offer, and adopting such products has potential to attract more shoppers.

“Adequately advertising these value tier ranges in supermarkets and communicating their in-store location to consumers will then ensure value tier products can be found easily,” he suggested.

Even when shopping value tier ranges, consumers still care about quality and where their food comes from, Mr Price noted.

“Shopper focus has shifted away from just low prices, and instead towards value for money and product satisfaction.

“Campaigns such as AHDB’s ‘We Eat Balanced’ messaging help to highlight the exceptional taste and quality of British meat and dairy, and will encourage repeat customers in both premium and value ranges,” he concluded.

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