Own label dominates the bacon category, accounting for 80% of the total bacon market, and there is little evidence that this balance will change any time in the near future.

Brands have found it difficult to tap into a market where consumers have developed a strong loyalty to their supermarkets' own brand of bacon, unlike most other grocery sectors, where brands lead the way.

The degree to which own label products dominate is clear in TNS data for the year to 9 September 2007.

Tesco's own label rashers hold the biggest share of the market with 13% by volume, up 60% on the previous 12 months, followed by Asda with 9% and Sainsbury's with 7%.

The own label sector also continues to grow in value, driven by premiumisation. Most of the big supermarkets have ensured their premium own label grocery ranges include a quality bacon line.

If brands invested further in marketing, however, overall market growth could be greater, say experts.

"The absence of strong manufacturer brands works to the detriment of the category as a whole," says a spokesman at market research organisation Mintel. "Danepak has made progress, but Wall's and Richmond require further investment to position themselves as something other than an alternative to standard own brand bacon."n