NEW YORK – Shoppers could save, on average, almost one-third off of their grocery bill by buying retailer's brands as opposed to national brands, according to a new study of supermarket prices by the Private Label Manufacturers Association.

Research tracked the pricing for 40 typical grocery items at a conventional supermarket. Included in the survey were cold-weather pantry staples, as well as wintertime personal necessities.

Study results indicate that by choosing the store brand version of 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 36% on hot dogs among other items. Savings in many non-foods categories were even greater.

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.

A study by Epsilon Targeting confirmed consumers are forsaking national brands across a wide range of categories, including 75% of respondents who say they switched to store brands for household products, 74% for foods, 59% for health and personal care products and 27% for pet care.