Own label to brand

Own label to brand

13 June 2021

How brands emerge from own label categories.

Whether meat, dairy, or peanut butter, the rise of brands in traditionally own label categories is an interesting one.

When is a category ripe for change?

What can brands add that own label can’t?

And how do brands change long ingrained consumer habits?

The Hummus Story.

Take hummus for example, the next traditionally own label category to make the cross.

In 2019, of all the hummus consumed in Europe, the UK consumed over 40% of it.

We Brits love the stuff.

What’s our obsession with it? The data people tell me it’s down to the rising demand for plant-based protein and increasing health conscious trends.

Similar vibrations that we’ve seen across the peanut butter market.

All this health-focused attention has created a booming market. Which explains why we’re seeing a move from supermarket own label to hummus power-brands. This is something that’s happened before, to peanut butter. Once upon a time the choice was between crunchy and smooth — now going to the peanut butter aisle is like going to a new age sweet shop.

Sabra has been king of the hummus brands for a while. But as the market grows more brands are cropping up, Levantine, Yarden, MeToo, Moorish.

Even Marmite has dabbled in the hummus explosion.

And street food restaurant Leon is making the jump into supermarkets on the back of their lemony velvet hummus. I’m yet to try it — but I’ve heard good things.

New hummus recipes are on the rise too. Black bean hummus, red onion and chive hummus. Each one of these new dip creations is tempting hummus fanatics to try something new and broaden their hummus horizons. And each one grows the hummus shelf that little bit more.

As the hummus market becomes more noisy, an opportunity arises. A chance for a brand to plant itself front and centre in the mind of the British shopper.

There are three standout things a brand can do to powerup hummus on its journey from own label to brand.


First up, a good brand gives a sense of origin, craft and authenticity. Consumers want to know that the people who are making their hummus really understand what makes good hummus so good. They crave a backstory — a heritage — something that will make them feel as though they’ve made the best possible hummus decision when picking that brand.


The next thing a good brand does is create a strong identity, with the power to penetrate the public consciousness. Brands are allowed to be bold, have personality, make people laugh. Three things that make the consumer brand connection more of a relationship than a transaction.


Lastly, a good brand gives a unifying sense of purpose. Something their stakeholders and employees can get behind — and something consumers love to be part of. Whether it’s making hummus the UKs no.1 snack food, or teaching people that there’s better hummus to be found than supermarket own label — a mission is a rallying cry that helps refocus and create a buzz.

It’s these superpowers that brands can use to grab consumer attention and change habits.

Right now, hummus is big in the UK. But only among hummus mega-fans do favourite brands exist. There’s still a lot of work to be done to shift hummus consumption from own label to brands and build loyalty.

Regardless of which brand ends up on top — if any of them can change consumer habits and convert own label sales, they’ll all collectively benefit, as that hummus shelf grows wider.

Written by Alex Hamilton.