Cash-strapped South Africans are dropping expensive food brands

Walmart-owned wholesale group Massmart says it has seen a huge increase in demand for its private label brands as cash-strapped South Africans opt to entertain at home and look for more affordable foods.

The group said that as consumers turn to private brand products to make their money go further, its ‘M’ brand frozen convenience offerings have experienced growth of over 30% at Makro between January and June this year.

It said it is aggressively developing the brand, noting that attitudes towards private brands in the country are shifting.

“There is no doubt that perceptions around private brands continue to shift in South Africa, as the quality of these products improves and consumer budgets become increasingly constrained. Our ‘M’ range typically offers the shopper a saving of between 10% and 15%, which has caught the attention of customers,” it said.

On top of tighter pockets, Massmart said that South African consumers have also shifted their entertainment habits, opting for dine-in and entertaining at home, given constrained entertainment budgets in the current, high-inflation environment.

The group is exploring other suitable opportunities to add to the existing range.

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Massmart’s growth in private label sales aligns with new strategies from Checkers and Pick n Pay, which has developed and extended private label offerings over the last two years.

Retail group Pick n Pay embarked on a major overhaul of its brand positioning in South Africa in August, splitting its Pick n Pay brand across two markets.

Along with the launch of new QualiSave stores, the group recently launched a new premium range under its private label, targeting customers in its newly revamped middle to top-end stores.

The Crafted Collection by PnP offers a “premium taste intertwined with affordability”, according to Pick n Pay, with an initial offering of 70 products in store, while a further 100 products are expected by the end of the year.

Over the last few years, Checkers has made a deliberate push into the higher LSM market through its FreshX stores. The Shoprite-owned retail brand also launched its premium range, Feast and Forage, in 2021.

Food Lover’s Market has also made a concerted effort to develop and expand its private label house brands over the last few years, with pricing that compares favourably with competitors.

Shopping price war 2022: Woolworths vs Checkers vs Pick n Pay vs Spar vs Food Lovers

According to data published by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity group (PMBEJD) in August, South Africans’ budgets are stretched to their limits, and many households have started cutting out important foods to make ends meet.

Among middle-class South Africans, data from the Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor shows that households are increasingly cutting back on discretionary spending and moving to cheaper brands to save money.

Read: Food price shocker – South Africa’s middle class at risk of shrinking

Artmotion S.Africa

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