Shoppers cut back on staples

(Many years ago, young and broke, I took a one day job stocking a soon to be opened major brand drug store. We were told many (most?) major brand manufacturers made and sold their stuff to retail stores so as to keep their manufacturing lines working rather than having to shut them down and reopen them over and over again. So that store brand you’re buying cheaper is likely the exact same stuff as the more expensive major brand sitting right next to it on the shelf.)

With inflation not letting up, shoppers cut back on staples

American consumers are starting to cut costs on mainstays from toothpaste to baby formula as inflation hits a swath of the economy that had thus far proven resistant to substantial price increases.

Procter & Gamble Co., Clorox Co., Kraft Heinz Co. and other consumer-products giants have made a bet that consumers will pay up for household products even as inflation takes hold. Over the past year, the companies have seen profits and market share grow as they have raised prices on products from detergent and diapers to snacks and soda.

Now consumers, hit by soaring costs for everything from gasoline to child care, are drawing a line, analysts and retailers say. Shoppers are buying staples in smaller quantities, switching to cheaper, store-name brands and more rigorously hunting for deals. The shift is especially pronounced among lower-income consumers who splurged on household products amid the heights of the pandemic, they say.

Private-label brands, after two years in which they lost market share to brand names, have begun to lure back buyers. In the three-week period ended March 20, edible private-label brands increased share slightly and nonedible store brands held steady, according to data from research firm IRI.…