What’s in a name? The ever-popular own labels show they can compete with the dominating well-known brands

Big budget spends mean branded cakes and biscuits get a high profile, but there’s still plenty happening in own label - it just doesn’t always get recognised.
Andrew Johnson, chief executive at own label supplier Elisabeth the Chef, says: “We launched 101 new products last year but it’s relatively low-key. You don’t see the razzmatazz of the brands, but there’s a constant renewal of the fixture.”
While brands might account for 51% of the cake market’s value (up 2%), own label is driving growth at 8%, says TNS. This is a result of own labels becoming recognised brands themselves. Asda says premium products such as its Extra Special cookies are driving in-store bakery sales.
Trevor Standing, Nisachill/Freeze trading controller, says cake growth is driven by own label. “Nisa-Today does not consist of budget lines but quality products easily matching other own label ranges. The Co-operative Group says its own label products are constantly reviewed to ensure they are in line with market trends and are right for the category and shoppers. The Co-op also likes to forge ahead with its Fairtrade own label cake products, ahead of most of the branded competition.
Tesco, meanwhile, is pushing the premium end with its Finest range of Christmas cakes in tins.
The biscuit category is much more brand-dominated, with Burton’s Foods licence deal with Cadbury and McVitie’s favourite among most consumers.
According to Helen Tomlinson, customer marketing controller at Burton’s Foods, while own label products are performing well at the premium end, elsewhere they are no match for brands. “The premium tier is growing in own label, for example Finest and Taste the Difference, while the middle tier is suffering,” she says.