PLMA Releases Price Study

A new study of supermarket prices by PLMA indicates that shoppers on average could save almost a third off their grocery bill by filling their seasonal market baskets with the retailer’s brand rather than with pricier national brands.

The research, conducted by the Private Label Manufacturers Association, tracked the pricing for 40 typical grocery items at a conventional supermarket. Included in the survey were cold-weather pantry staples like stuffing, cranberry sauce, soup, oatmeal, pancake mix, maple syrup and hot chocolate, as well as wintertime personal necessities such as lip balm, body lotion, cough drops, sinus spray, tissue and nighttime cold medicine.

The study results indicate that by choosing the store brand version of the products on the list rather than the national brand consumers could save $43.92 (a savings of 33.6%) on average on their total market basket. When buying the national brands the 40-item purchase came to $130.78 on average over six separate trips, while the same purchases for the retailer’s brands cost $86.85 on average. The survey took place over a six week period in a suburban supermarket located in the northeast.

For every category in the study, a leading national brand product was compared to a similar store brand product and prices were adjusted to account for all known discounts, coupons and promotions available for each of the six shopping visits in the study.

Among individual food items the cost savings ranged as high as 46% on a 2-liter bottle of soda, 40% on maple syrup and oatmeal, 38% on packaged macaroni and cheese, and 36% on ice cream, pasta sauce and hot dogs. Savings in many non-foods categories were even greater, led by aspirin (the store brand version cost 62% less on average), body lotion (55% less), sinus spray and facial tissue (both 47% less) and aluminum foil (42% less). In all instances, the store brand cost less than the national brand.

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