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Perception-Changing Private Labels

September 2012

By Kendah El-Ali, New York

Life in New York is paradoxically difficult to afford, yet thrives on both taste and brand exclusivity. While the popularity of private labels are a food-and-drink shopping trend that's been growing across the nation for the past two years, it's as though New Yorkers are suddenly being given a wider palate of store-label brands from which to choose.

Union Market, which started in Brooklyn, famously carries a very affordable $9 bottle of olive oil that's difficult to compete with on a price-to-quality scale, even with mass-market brands. They also sell their own pounds of coffee for $9 (leading to a savings of at least $4 when compared to other small-batch brands, like Stumptown Coffee) with Brooklyn-proud names such as Prospect Park and Williamsburg. Manhattan's upscale Agata & Valentina sells delicious $4 bars of gourmet chocolate as well as their own brand of marinara sauce, Sicilian jam, chutney and gelato-- among a host of other products-- at widely (if not shockingly) affordable price points, considering their quality.

On a less gourmet note, NYC pharmacy chain Duane Reade also carries their own label. Their Good & Delish line offers consumers an array of affordable edibles (and potables), ranging from freshly made bruschetta, sandwiches and tapenade-and-flatbread snack packs, to packaged prunes, lemon sorbet, macaroni and cheese, breath mints and artesian water. With clever names like "Chinatown Mix" (for rice cracker mix) and "Cheddar Penguins" (a twist on Goldfish), the label not only offers the common consumer an array of thoughtful, personalized products from which to chose, it also changes the perception of Duane Reade as a lackluster, out-of-touch pharmacy brand.

Of course, brand giants Whole Foods and Target are no stranger to the trend, with their 365 Everyday Value and Archer Farms labels. 365 is designed to combat Whole Foods reputation as widely over-priced, whereas Archer Farms by name denotes freshness, and offers a more epicurean spread to the traditionally frugal, mass-market Target shopper.

Retail & Dining
Health & Fitness
Food & Drink
New York

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