Not Your Parents’ Store Brands

New PLMA report highlights the appeal of private label among Gen Z shoppers
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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More than two-thirds of Gen Z consumers buy store brands, a new PLMA report shows.

The Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA), which just wrapped its annual trade show in Chicago, is out with a new report on younger Gen Z shoppers and their store brand buying habits. According to PLMA’s new report, “Gen Z Loves Store Brands,” those who were born between 1997 and 2012 are kicking off their grocery habits with a penchant for private label.

The survey revealed that 67% of Gen Z shoppers are “extremely/very” aware of store brands and 64% say they buy store brands “always/frequently.” More than half (51%) indicated that they frequently pick where to shop based on its store brands.

[Read more: “What’s Trending at the PLMA Show”]

Members of Gen Z, who have earned a reputation as foodies and are coming of age in an era of inflation, also explore the grocery aisle for finds. PLMA’s report showed that 56% of these buyers are highly likely to experiment with store brands to find products they like that offer the best value. 

Drilling down on sentiment, the survey found that the younger cohort of grocery shoppers believes that store brands are valuable, reliable and available in a variety of formats and categories. “Gen Z store brand purchase frequency is most strongly driven by a perception that store brands are 'reliable,’” said Sara Williamson, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing at SUMY Old Westbury, who analyzed the research and shared her assessment in a presentation at the PLMA trade show. “Reliability perception is a stronger store brand purchase predictor than any other measure, including household income and monthly grocery spending."  

On a broader level, participants were also asked how they learn about grocery products. The majority (61%) said they find items the old-fashioned way, by in-store shopping. Social media is a source for 43% of Gen Z shoppers, while 32% learn about products through word of mouth and 29% get helpful information from advertising online, in print or TV. At the bottom of that list: text announcements (2%), blogs or information websites (7%) and email (9%).   

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