Own-label food & drink sales have risen for the first time in three years.

More sophisticated offers at both ends of the price spectrum had brought about a resurgence in own-label sales, said retail analysts SymphonyIRI.

Own label’s share of food & drink had been falling after an initial flight to value at the start of the 2008 recession, as brands deepened promotions. And while own label has itself benefited from a rise in the amount of promotional activity - with 42% of own-label products sold on deal last year compared with 40% in 2010 - the rise comes despite the proportion of branded deals rising more, up three percentage points to 61%.

Continued NPD had produced a turnaround in own label, with its share of food & drink rising from 35% in 2010 to 35.4% last year - an increase in actual terms of about £173m.

“Own label has worked very hard on increasing range and meeting different consumer needs, and has done a good job in communicating messages around quality and value,” said SymphonyIRI analyst Tim Eales, adding that a strong premium range had a halo effect across a retailer’s brand.

Some of the strongest growth had been in ready meals, with own-label complete main meals growing their category share by 1.1 percentage points to 64.8%.

This was eclipsed by the 1.5 percentage point rise in own-label ice cream. Ranges such as Tesco’s Chokablok and Asda’s Loaded have challenged premium branded players, while increased promotional activity has driven down the entry point for own-label.

Retailers haven’t had it all their own way, however. In baking & cooking, for example - which has seen strong NPD from brands including Dr Oetker - own-label sales are in decline.