NEW YORK – Nielsen data shows store-brand/private-label dollar sales increased 21 percent compared to only 3 percent for national brands from calendar 2007 through the 52-week period ending October 2011, according to the Private Label Manufacturers Association.

Much of this success is due “directly to a retailer culture committed to store brands, making private-label an integral part of the company’s growth strategy,” states the new Nielsen study. The study predicts further growth as retailers enter new territory and continue to increase their private-label offerings, which are guided by consumer research, product innovation and proactive brand teams.

“Consumers have embraced store brands with open arms, and in turn, many retailer products delivered on their quality and value promises,” the study relays.

A steady increase in consumer perception of store-brand quality is indicated in this Nielsen research. The percentage of consumers from 2008 to 2011 who said that some private-label products are higher quality than name brands increased from 33 percent to 38 percent.

In another recent Nielsen study on private-label trends, edible product categories represented eight of the top 10 biggest-selling private-label offerings, with milk [the largest category at $9.3 billion in sales] representing almost twice the dollar volume as the next largest store-brand category – bread/baked goods at $4.7 billion in sales. Cheese, eggs, fresh produce, frozen meat/poultry/seafood, deli/dressings/salads/ prepared foods and bottled water complete the edible best-sellers categories.

Private-label is also strong regarding marketing power on a dollar share basis. Product groups dominating their categories with shares at or greater than 50 percent included frozen meat/poultry/seafood.