ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — New private label product introductions have outpaced those from national CPG brands during the pandemic, according to data from Catalina, a shopper intelligence firm.

The number of new product introductions fell across the board during the last two years, with private label brands introducing nearly 34% fewer products in 2020 and 54% fewer products in 2021. New product introductions from national CPG brands dropped substantially more, down 46% in 2020 and 65% in 2021.

Amid the pullback in 2020, private brand retailers focused on several categories for new product growth in 2021, according to Catalina’s buyer intelligence database. In the ready-to-eat cereal category, new product introductions from private label brands declined 48% in 2020 but increased 66% in 2021. New introductions from national CPG brands fell 53% in 2020 and 35% in 2021.

The cookie category saw a 60% increase in private label introductions in 2021, following a 66% decline in 2020. New introductions from national CPG brands fell 57% in 2020 and 22% in 2021.

Private brand categories that saw the greatest growth since the COVID-19 pandemic began include frozen potatoes (up 191%), pre-packaged breakfast sausage (up 173%) and baking ingredients (up 115%).

As consumer concern about inflation continues, private label brands are reinforcing quality and value in key categories while the price differential with some national brands is shrinking, said Phyllis Johnson, senior director of private brand development at Catalina.  

“Overall, retailers are seeking to engage shoppers who may once again be turning to private brands as they did during the early days of the pandemic when name brand shortages prompted trial,” she said. “I predict this could be a second chance for those retailers to effectively demonstrate the value of private brands and convert shoppers to loyal private brand buyers.”