A tale of frozen cheesecake - Why millennials believe in private brands

Someone told me recently that apparently 42% of millennials (like myself) believe that private brand products are more innovative than national brands.

My immediate reaction - Pfft, really?!

But then I found myself looking down at my trolley next time I went to a supermarket. Hmmm, they might be onto something there. Most of my trolley space was taken up by private brand items. It’s not like I deliberately go out of my way to buy own brand either. I think I understood one reason why and here’s a little story to explain.

Recently I shared with the world my frustration at the ambiguous and deceiving labeling on supposedly sustainable fish. I can only assume most of you went ahead and boycotted non-pole and line caught tuna based on my advice… No? Well, perhaps you should read the blog again and think about the poor tuna!

Will somebody please think of the tuna!

Well, as you may have noticed most of supermarket experiences are done under the close supervision of my other half. Not that she doesn’t trust me, it’s just that random multi-packs of Jaffa Cakes* tend to appear around the house when I’m left to my own devices – for example. Inevitably this means my shopping list has become increasingly health-orientated.

However, I still dream of that special day when cookies, or something equally delicious, finds their way into the shopping basket.

In fact, only a couple of weeks ago I thought this dream had become a reality. We were in the supermarket and I had been sent off on a typical distract-Alex-errand – “Please go fetch me chopped tomatoes, red onions and those nice spiralized carrots.” I came panting back, well trained at this point.

I looked down in the trolley and gave myself whiplash with a double take.

“Oh, where’s our trolley?” This surely can’t be ours, I thought.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, this has… FROZEN LEMON CHEESECAKE!” I could barely speak without spitting drool from my mouth. I LOVE lemon cheesecake. She knows it. I know she knows it. She knows I know she knows it. We haven’t bought cheesecake from here in years!

She’s finally trying to kill me off, I thought. Kicking myself – you know you shouldn’t have had that last pack of Jaffa Cakes, greedy Alex.

“They’ve reduced the fat, and look”, she pointed to where on the box it said: ‘NEW: MADE FROM NATURAL INGREDIENTS’. And it was the supermarket’s private brand, not even premium.

I couldn’t believe my luck. And then, I thought, this was exactly why 42% of millennials believe private brands are more innovative. They are more effective at meeting changing customer needs, in this case reducing fat and including more natural ingredients – something that is very important to millennials.

Responding quickly to customer feedback on existing product lines, in this case a cheesecake that we have previously avoided, is extremely important if a retailer is to maintain customer confidence and loyalty. Potentially even increase it.

In order to achieve this effectively with their private brand products, the retailer needs visibility and traceability relating to all customer feedback. To do this requires pulling customer feedback together with results from product testing and benchmarking to generate ‘One View’ of product performance.

By being transparent and sharing this One View with their private brand suppliers, it is possible for the supplier to make informed changes to ingredients, recipes and packaging. This ultimately helps them to develop existing products to meet the customer’s changing needs.

*There are other biscuit brands available. Or cake brands. Or whatever we’ve decided they are.

Tags: Customer experience

Alex Fitchett

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