NEW YORK — With US consumers still hunting for value in the grocery aisles, store brands snared all-time high market share in dollars and units during the 2024 first half, according to the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA).

Private brand dollar sales, including food and nonfood, totaled $121 billion across retail channels for the six months ended June 16, up 2.3% year over year, New York-based PLMA said, citing sales data from market research firm Circana. That compared with a 1.1% gain to $472 billion for national brands over the same time frame.

PLMA noted the sales figures for private label reflect “the strength of store brands’ superior performance at checkout versus national brands,” including in unit volume, where “the difference was even greater.” First-half unit sales for store brands climbed 2.5% versus a year earlier, whereas national brands saw units decrease 0.8%, based on the Circana data.

Market share for private brands stood at 22.9% in units and 20.4% in dollars as of June 16, according to PLMA. At the current dollar-sales growth rate, overall store-brand revenue for full-year 2024 would top $250 billion, which would mark an annual sales record for private label, the association said.

“These record highs in market shares illustrate the ‘store brands phenomenon’ that’s sweeping the retail industry across all channels, departments and categories,” said Peggy Davies, president of the PLMA.

 Nine of the 10 product departments that Circana tracks for the PLMA generated dollar sales growth for the 52 weeks ended June 16 — results that “paint a clear picture of where store brand sales are doing well,” the association pointed out.

Among the edibles segments in private label, liquor led with a dollar sales increase of 8.8%, followed by general food (up 6.9%), beverages (up 4.3%), frozen food (up 2.9%) and refrigerated food (up 0.7%). Beauty care topped all categories in store brand dollar sales growth at 10%, well ahead of other nonfood segments, including home care (up 6.8%), pet care (up 5.8%), general merchandise (up 2.2%) and home (up 1.7%).

Baked foods and baking items also were dollar-sales growth drivers in private brands over the 52 weeks, including fresh bread and rolls (up 7.2%), bakery snacks (up 11.8%), flour/baking meal (up 11.6%), baking needs (up 7.5%), baking mixes (up 5.3%), cookies (up 5.2%), crackers (up 11.1%), bagels/bialys (up 4.5%), pancake mixes (up 23.6%), toaster pastries/tarts (up 13.4%) and pies and cakes (up 0.2%).

In cold departments, baking-related items gained in refrigerated baked goods (up 12.5%), refrigerated pizza (up 1.3%), refrigerated dough (up 12.6%), frozen bread/dough (up 10%), frozen breakfast food (up 10.7%), frozen appetizers/snack rolls (up 3.7%) and frozen pies (up 0.9%).

Other food categories seeing private label dollar sales growth included cold cereal (up 14.3%), hot cereal (up 1.2%), salty snacks (up 15%), pasta (up 9.5%), rice (up 14.8%), snack bars/granola bars/clusters (up 14.7%), breadcrumbs/batters (up 12%) and stuffing mixes (up 8%). Segments posting dollar-sales declines in store brands included frozen pizza (down 2.5%), frozen cookies (down 22.3%), English muffins (down 0.1%), pastry/donuts (down 2.2%) and refrigerated cheesecakes (down 7.4%).

Private label offerings have benefited as inflation-weary food shoppers remain sensitive to elevated pricing at the grocery store. In its May retail sales report, Circana said a recent consumer survey found more than 8 in 10 consumers will buy a product now if the current price is a good deal versus typical pricing.

Circana’s CPG Private Brands Update report earlier this year showed private label dollar sales up 6% and unit sales up 0.9% year over year for 2023, with food and beverage (up 6.7%) besting nonfoods (up 5.1%) in growth. The Chicago-based researcher also noted that private brands siphoned share from national brands, with store brands rising to 25.5% of total unit sales in 2023 from 24.7% in 2022, including gains in general food, shelf-stable beverages and refrigerated foods.

Within food and beverages, private label last year outperformed name brands in dollars and units for the core pantry, Circana said, adding that shoppers are recognizing the value offered by store brands — including in categories like salty snacks, where national brands normally dominate. Retailers have contributed to private brand growth, Circana said, via digital marketing of store brands as well as customer product trials to deepen trust.