The Evolution of Private Labels in Food Proposals: The Case of the Top Four Italian Retailers and the Purchase Propensity of Consumers

  •  Domenico Morrone    
  •  Rosamartina Schena    


The presence of products marked with the brand of the retailer is not a novelty in the mass distribution circuit. In the last decades, private labels (PLs) increased in a relevant way, upgrading the competition with the proposals coming from branded products. Since the beginning of the last century, this comparison attracted the attention of many scholars. Different factors were analyzed as, for example, the brand value, the trust in the distribution company or other elements that underlined the acceptance of PLs products. Actually, thanks to a new and consolidated trend in the market, it is possible to register an evolution of PLs, with a relevant specialization. The aim of the present work is to analyze, in the Italian context, this evolution, observing the food proposals of the main PLs. In addition, this differentiation is compared with the purchase propensity of consumers. The final purpose is to discover the effective match between market demand and the value propositions of qualified Italian retailers. The study is organized with a theoretical background to define in a structured way the topic. After, there are the evidences of the research, carried out on a double way. First there is the panel of the PLs proposals at the beginning of 2018, referred to the first four groups in the Italian market. Therefore, considering the categories represented by these products, a survey has been conducted to discover the acceptance of the consumers. Final results show how this panorama is become complex and when differentiation is able to fit the desires of customers. This study provides relevant implications from the marketing point of view. It is a valid contribution for practitioners and scholars, giving a further vision in the evolution of PLs foodstuffs.

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