Milk leads among private label beverage shares

by Jeff Gelski
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NEW YORK – Milk, bottled water, fruit beverages and carbonated soft drinks are prime categories for private label, according to the latest edition of the Beverage Marketing Corp.’s "Private Label Beverages and Contract Packing in the U.S." report. Not surprisingly, private label accounted for more than 62% of U.S. fluid milk sales in 2007. But retailers in private label also are moving into more non-carbonated products like bottled water and fruit beverages. In 2007, private label sales were 42.5% of retail bulk water sales.

"While consumers may not be as brand loyal with bottled water as they are with some other categories, there are a wide number of branded waters that are experiencing solid success in the market," the report said. "Waters that often serve as substitutes for tap water, such as so-called retail bulk water, tend to have the greatest amount of private label."

Private label sales were 14.4% of retail shelf-stable fruit beverage sales in supermarkets in 2007.

"Private label fruit beverages represent a significant business in the United States," the report said. "The category is more fragmented than other established categories – thus providing an opportunity for private label because consumers may be less brand-loyal."

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