A new survey of supermarket prices on thirty summertime essentials found that shoppers can save over 30% by choosing the retailer’s brand instead of the national brand.  And as the economy continues to fizzle, industry analysts believe consumers will continue to select private label products in categories where they previously considered only national brand items.

The research, conducted by the Private Label Manufacturers Association, tracked the pricing on commonly purchased items at a typical supermarket. Included in the survey were food items such as hot dogs and condiments, salad dressing and ice tea mix, in addition to non-food items like aluminum foil, charcoal and insect repellent. The results indicate that consumers buying the store brand would save $41.42 on average on the total market basket. When buying national brands the 30-item purchase came to $125.30 while the same purchase for the retailer’s brands cost $83.88.

For each 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 weeks included in the study. Savings on individual products ranged from 14% (charcoal lighter) to 59% (hot dog and hamburger buns). The survey was repeated on a weekly basis during a recent 4- week period in a suburban supermarket located in the northeast.

Comparable savings by shoppers in every season on products throughout the store have no doubt helped the annual sales of store brands to c

limb to $87 billion in 2010. According to industry statistics, the products currently account for about one of every four items purchased in U.S. supermarkets.

The economy appears to be a factor in winning shoppers over to store brands. In a recent study by GfK Roper, two-thirds of shoppers who changed their food buying habits as a result of economic conditions say they are purchasing private label products in categories where they used to buy only national brand items. Looking ahead, the data indicates this trend will continue: Eight out of ten respondents say when the economy returns to normal they will still buy the retailer’s brand where previously only the national brands would do.

[Source:  “Store Brands Pricing Study:  Shoppers Can Save More than 30% on Summer Market Basket Items.”  Private Label Manufacturers Association. 11 Aug. 2010.  Web.  13 Aug. 2010.]