What’s in a Name? Private Label vs. Brand Name

These days, private-label products are big business. Total U.S. retail sales of the overall private-label food and beverage market were $102 billion in 2013, up about 2 percent compared to 2012, according to consultant Packaged Facts.

Responding in part to the higher prices commanded by gluten-free products, retailers are introducing their own store-branded gourmet, organic and gluten-free foods.

What consumers might not realize is that, in many cases, these products are made by name-brand manufacturers. Many companies don’t want to cannibalize their better-known products but want to add to their bottom line. So, for example, they produce the same cookie mix for stores, which sell the products at lower prices under their own brand name. Due to confidentiality agreements, merchants aren’t allowed to disclose the names of the manufacturers.

However, a check of ingredient labels can lead to some educated guesses. A few examples:


ALDI’s LiveGfree Cinnamon Raisin Crunch Granola vs. Enjoy Life Cinnamon Raisin Crunch Granola

Same ingredients, with the only difference being Enjoy Life lists “evaporated cane juice” instead of “dried cane syrup.” Both even have “sulfite-free raisins.”


Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies vs. Tate’s Bake Shop Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

The ingredients are the same, with the only differences on the Tate’s label being “brown cane sugar” rather than “brown sugar” and “cane sugar” rather than “sugar.”


Wegmans Food You Feel Good About Gluten-Free Spaghetti vs. Sam Mills Pasta d’oro Gluten-Free Spaghetti

Ingredients for both are just corn flour and water. The giveaway is that both are made in Romania, home of Sam Mills.


Michael Savett, whose son has celiac disease, is a regular contributor to Gluten-Free Living. He previously wrote about gluten-free travel to Philadelphia. He blogs at GlutenFreePhilly.com.