SHOPPERS at Coles and Woolworths have tired of private-label brands for the first time in five years, after the industry embarked on relentless cuts to shelf prices to win market share.
A study by market research group Nielsen showed that the embrace of private-label, so-called ''home brand'' groceries has slowed in 2012, with consumers switching back to name brands amid more competitive pricing in the sector.
While most households buy private-label brands, the ''penetration'' rate of private label brands in Woolworths and Wesfarmers-owned Coles dropped to 94.8 per cent in the three months to September 3, from 95.5 per cent in the same period the previous year, according to the Nielsen research.
Signs of consumers' indifference to the Coles and Woolworths private label brands come after the chains flooded their shelves with them in recent years to muscle out name bands and capture more of their customers' spending.
The practice has squeezed the margins of name-branded companies such as food manufacturer H.J. Heinz, Goodman Fielder, and food and drink maker Lion and dairy farmers.
Years of battling for market share through private labels had also made Coles and Woolworths shoppers more price conscious, the report said.
Three years ago, less than half of shoppers were aware of the prices for products they bought on a regular basis, Nielsen said. In 2012, 60 per cent of shoppers described themselves as aware of prices and discounts.