U.S.: Produce private label sales grew 11% to $12B in 2021 

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U.S.: Produce private label sales grew 11% to $12B in 2021 

Sales using a produce private label in U.S. food retailers grew 11 percent in 2021 compared to the previous year, greater than the general growth of the private label industry.

According to the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PMLA) 2022 Private Label Report, which considers the Fiscal Year 2021, the entire private label industry grew by 1 percent in the year to reach US$199 billion. 

The report said industry leaders expected sales to fall in comparison to 2020, which saw unprecedented sales due to quarantines and the disruptions of Covid-19. 

The report tracks 17 different product categories. Goods using a produce private label were one of the four categories to post a double digit increase. Leading growth was the floral department, which increased a full 25 percent to US$ 778.2 million. Tobacco saw the greatest dip, falling 11 percent year-over-year to US$ 76.4 million.

The report did not provide a further breakdown into subcategories like fruit, but did state that prepared, refrigerated salads, fruit and coleslaw saw a 15.4 percent increase in the dollar value of sales.

With the shutdown of foodservice, more cooking at home and a boom in online grocery orders, 2020 remains an outlier against past, pre-pandemic trends. Private brands jumped 12 percent that year in dollar sales. March 2020 saw a 37 percent increase in the dollar value of store brands. 

In terms of overall market share, private labels accounted for 17 percent of dollar sales, based on the data compiled by the PLMA and market research firm IRI.

A recent study conducted by Foodmix Marketing Communications found that more than half of consumers surveyed find it important to shop specific brands in the produce department vs. non-branded products, signaling an area where the produce industry can grow.

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