Consumers prize value for money and low prices ahead of all other factors when buying food prep items. And improvements to retailers’ own-brand ranges mean they can offer this as well as quality and design that are comparable to some brands.

To remain competitive, brands need to ensure their products are innovative and communicate what sets their products apart.

Consumers opt for own-brand over branded meal prep products

Nearly half of all food preparation purchases in the past 12 months were retailer own-brand items, up from 29.5% in 2017. Consumers favour own-brand products at grocers for frequently purchased items, such as chopping boards and can openers, because the quality of the product is good enough and because of the wide selection. But grocers have also started to target spend on more specialist items; Sainsbury’s “Home” range now includes such items as an avocado slicer and herb stripper, which could further dent the branded market.

Quality and design significantly more important to buyers of non-branded items

Most consumers who buy branded items do so for the brand name and the wide range of products. These consumers cite quality and design as less important to them than consumers of non-branded items, but that is likely because they assume these qualities are inherent within the brands.

The importance consumers of non-branded items attach to quality and design shows two things: a) that better quality of own-brand products from retailers has raised consumer expectations and b) that retailers will need to continue to deliver in these areas to stop consumers switching back to branded items.

Brands more attractive among consumers who do their research

Brands can compete if they communicate the superiority of their products to consumers. Consumers who research pre-purchase – taking the time to ask in-store for advice, reading product reviews online, reading magazines or browsing social media – are more likely to purchase a branded product, while those who do no research and buy on impulse are more likely to buy a retailer’s own brand.

Image Credit: GlobalData’s Food Prep HRS Report, 2018.