Brands are usually the ones shouting loudest in store - but own-label products have been making plenty of noise of their own.

Although down month-on-month, the number of own-label featured space promotions has risen 67.8% in the past four weeks compared with the same period 12 months ago [Assosia 4 w/e 3 February 2012].

This year-on-year change suggests a shift in the promotional landscape. While own-label activity has been strong in the produce and meat & fish categories for the past few months, the four-week data shows own-label deals are increasing in many aisles across the store.

Wholesale UK lamb prices 25.7% cheaper

British lamb farmers have been highlighting problems with declining farmgate and wholesale prices recently, and the extent to which prices have fallen is clear in our tracker. At £3,293/tonne, UK lamb is now 25.7% cheaper at wholesale than it was this time last year, after prices fell by a further 4.9% over the past month.

UK lamb prices have come under pressure largely because of growing competition from Australia, Ireland and New Zealand. Wholesale prices of New Zealand lamb are down 32.8% year-on-year, and are currently trading at a £778/tonne discount to UK lamb.

By contrast, pork prices are on an upward trajectory, driven in part by the anticipated tightening in EU supply following the new EU welfare regulations, which came into force on 1 January. Despite minor downward corrections over the past month, UK and Danish pork is now significantly more expensive than it was this time last year.

As shoppers kept their purse strings tight and own-label products became more popular, retailers were seeing the benefit of promoting own-label ranges, said Kay Staniland, MD of retail analysts Assosia. “But, with branded suppliers keeping costs as low as possible, it could also be the case that retailers cannot as easily fill space with branded activity as before,” she suggests.

Among the sharpest increases in own-label activity was in chilled food, where the proportion of own-label offers has increased from 49.1% of all deals to 60.4%. Other categories to show an increase in own-label activity included BWS, dairy, and household products.

Even in petcare - where there were no promos on own-label products a year ago - own-label accounted for more than 10% of all deals in the past four weeks.

Although the overall number of own-label deals has risen, the average saving has fallen from 31.1% in 2012 to 27.8% this year. Decline was even more marked in brands - down an average of 3.7 points year-on-year to 33.3%.

Brands were weighing up the need to be on promotion with the level of discounts they could offer, said Staniland. “Longer-term deals are starting to impact on suppliers,” she added.

While savings have shrunk, the number of deals on brands has grown year-on-year - although it is lower than during the festive frenzy of a month ago. Of the top 10 most-promoted brands, only Kellogg’s and Walkers are running fewer promotions than a year ago.