Private labels versus consumer brands

Published 18 April 2017
Private label used to be a clear, identifiable, low-price segment but today it is in many cases more difficult to see the difference from the branded offerings. Private label brands are getting closer to the brand owners offerings when it comes to e.g. their look and feel.

The private labels are on the rise in several categories today, and retailers have managed to simultaneously close the quality gap and hold the price gap between branded FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) manufacturers and private labels. Along with the growing market share comes increased acceptance and popularity of private labels. This is putting pressure on the branded products.

Private labels tend to make changes quicker than established brands. As we interviewed retailers in the UK, one of them said about their private label: "We change the packaging every year and we never print the same package design twice."

But retailers and brand owners still have somewhat different needs for developing new packaging solutions. Characteristic for retailers is:


  • Learn and follow brands without investing in collecting own consumer insights
  • High speed-of-launch and applies, trial and error methodology in-store
  • Need to be informed about new legislation and material applications


Characteristic for brand owners is:

  • Collecting own consumer insights to use as a base for packaging development
  • Own production lines and cannot thus change packaging so easily as it would require investments
  • Structured way to innovate on consumer needs

This makes us ask the question – how does the future look like and how can we at Stora Enso respond to the needs coming from brand owners and retailers, who in the end use our materials for packaging their goods? We sure have plenty of ideas, so get in contact!

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