SNAP Customers Hold Positive View of Store Brands

New PLMA survey also identifies ways grocers can engage SNAP shoppers and boost private label sales
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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SNAP Customers Hold Positive View of Store Brands
PLMA has published a new report based on a nationwide survey of SNAP recipients.

The Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) recently published findings from its survey of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants in the United States, which found that shoppers who use food stamp assistance are highly familiar with store brands and rate them strongly.

The survey was conducted to provide a roadmap for encouraging SNAP customers to spend more of their benefits on store brands for the benefit of program participants, retailers and private label brands alike. Food stamp program users represent $100 billion in buying power in the United States this year, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data cited by PLMA.

According to PLMA’s research, 70% of SNAP users are “very aware” of store brand versions of food items that they would normally buy when shopping at their favorite store. A quarter (25%) said they mostly buy store brands when using their benefits to buy food products, compared to 12% who primarily buy national brands; a third of those polled said they buy both national and store brands on a mostly equal basis.

The survey also revealed ways to better connect with SNAP customers. Almost a third (30%) of respondents said that store brand alternatives are not always available for SNAP products, hindering their purchase of some private label products. Another 25% said that their respective retailer does not offer a great variety of store branded products. A portion of respondents  17%  said that store brands are not as innovative, exciting or interesting as national brand counterparts.

There are other opportunities to improve connections with SNAP shoppers across the omnichannel, the PLMA survey indicates. While two thirds (66%) of recipients said they generally shop in supermarkets and 59% use their benefits at mass merchandisers, only 15% said they “always/almost always” or “frequently” buy SNAP products online, partly because of the limited availability of digital programs that accept benefits. When asked if their favorite store could provide a way to use SNAP benefits online, 21% said they would always/almost always use it and 26% said they would frequently take advantage of that option. Only 17% said "occasionally," while 13% responded "rarely" and 23% said "never."

In-store signage can also be a boon to this market segment, too. Six in 10 participants said that it would be helpful to see SNAP products marked as such on store shelves.

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