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Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Arthur Schneider


The goal of this research is to examine to what extent brand bias has on competing private labels equally affecting consumers’ purchase intentions and sensory perceptions. The sale of generic brands and in-house labels has increased drastically since the financial crisis of 2008. Today, private-label products are produced at quality levels equal to name brands, while being offered at a reduced cost. In-house labels have increased competition amongst grocers as they generate high margins and promote store loyalty. Past research has shown that consumers indicate higher purchase intentions and better taste for private labels (vs. national brands) in a blind condition and reverse their evaluation when informed (Rossi, Borges, & Bakpayev, 2015). In addition, past research has shown that brand familiarity can improve consumers’ food taste experience.

This study is the first to analyze how competing private labels effect customer-based brand equity in the market for grocery stores. This study aims to identify the strategy drivers associated brand equity and consumers’ patronage (Allaway, Huddleston, Whipple, & Ellinger, 2011). This study examines the extent to which brand equity outcome dimensions and drivers previously observed are present when evaluating premium private labels amongst three competing grocers: Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Costco (Allaway et al., 2011). The level of consumer-based brand equity, customer equity, and loyalty are assessed by a survey to provide ratings of three private label grocery stores. We discuss the implications of competing premium private-label products in the market of grocery stores.

Data from the experiment suggests that people are biased when evaluating supermarkets and cereal. These results may indicate a higher level of customer loyalty and brand equity, but the limitations of our research require future studies to further investigate the relationship between brand bias and consumption behavior.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Full text access is limited to the Trinity campus community.