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Private Label vs National Brands: The Truth About Quality and Value

Private Label vs. National Brands: Which is Better?

As a consumer, when you walk into a grocery store, you’ll see a variety of brands on the shelves competing for your attention. Among these brands, you’ll notice two distinct types: national brands and private label brands.

In this article, we’ll dive into what private label is, their advantages, and their penetration in the household sales market. What is Private Label?

Private label, also known as store brand or generic brand, refers to a product manufactured by a third-party company and sold under a retailer’s brand name. These products are usually packaged and labeled with the store’s logo instead of the manufacturer’s logo.

Private label products are often marketed as being lower in price than comparable national brand products. However, recent studies have shown that consumers are willing to pay more for private label products they perceive as being higher quality.

Advantages of Private Label Brands

One of the main advantages of private label brands is their quality. In many cases, retailers work with high-quality manufacturers to produce products that meet their specific criteria.

Another advantage is the value for money. Private label products are usually cheaper than national brands due to companies not having to spend as much on branding, advertising, and marketing.

This means you save money on the product without sacrificing quality. Private label brands can also be a smart choice for those with dietary restrictions, offering more options for gluten-free, vegan, and organic options than national brands.

Penetration of Private Label Brands

Private label products are no longer limited to grocery items such as canned goods, snacks, and cereals. In recent years, private label has made significant strides in the household sales market.

One area in particular where private label has seen success is fluid milk. According to a recent AC Nielsen study, private label milk now makes up 12.2% of total milk sales, with some retailers such as ALDI boasting over 40% market share in this category.

While other categories may not yet have the same level of penetration, private label products can be found in almost every product category. Dannon: History, B Corp Certification, and Brands

Now that we’ve dug into private label brands, let’s take a closer look at a well-known national brand: Dannon.

Dannon was founded in Barcelona, Spain, in 1919 by Daniel Carasso, a Spanish businessman looking to bring high-quality yogurt to the masses. After World War II, Carasso moved his company to the United States, where it became the first American yogurt company.

Today, Dannon is a well-known national brand offering a variety of products in categories such as Greek and traditional yogurts, yogurt drinks, and dairy-free options. In recent years, Dannon has also become a certified B Corp.

B Corp Certification is a legal requirement that measures a company’s impact on workers, customers, supplies, community, and the environment. Companies that go through the certification process must meet strict standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

Dannon’s B Corp Certification is a reflection of their commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. Dannon’s brands, which are primarily focused on yogurt, include Activia, DanACtive, Danimals, and Dannon.

Each brand caters to specific needs, such as Activia’s probiotic benefits for digestive health or Danimals’ kid-friendly packaging and flavor profiles. Dannon’s products can be found in grocery stores and supermarkets across the country, offering consumers a range of options for yogurt and yogurt-related products.


In conclusion, both private label and national brands have their advantages and disadvantages. Private label offers quality, value, and a variety of options.

On the other hand, national brands may provide a wider range of options, established branding, and a level of perceived quality. As a consumer, it’s up to you to decide which factors are most important when making a purchase decision.

Regardless of your preference, it’s clear that brands like Dannon are making efforts to be more socially responsible and sustainable. Dean Foods: Overview, Brands, and Bankruptcy

Dean Foods is an American food and beverage company, and until recently, was the largest dairy subsidiary in the United States.

Over the years, Dean Foods has expanded its portfolio by acquiring and partnering with a wide range of brands. In this section, we’ll dive into the overview of Dean Foods, their brands, and the reasons behind the bankruptcy.

Overview of Dean Foods

Founded in 1925, Dean Foods has been a significant player in the dairy industry for nearly a century. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, the company was initially focused on producing and distributing milk.

However, in the following decades, Dean Foods expanded its operations and acquired several other brands to expand its product line. Today, the company employs over 15,000 people and operates over 50 processing plants across the United States.

Brands of Dean Foods

Dean Foods offers a wide range of dairy products and has partnered with several popular brands. Some of their leading brands include DairyPure, Land OLakes, TruMoo, Friendlys, Mayfield, Deans, Meadow Gold, Tuscan, T.G. Lee, and Alta Dena.

DairyPure is Dean Foods’ flagship brand and is known for its purity and freshness. Land OLakes, on the other hand, is a well-known butter and cheese brand.

TruMoo is a flavored milk brand targeting children, and Friendly’s offers ice cream products that are widely popular in the Northeastern United States. Mayfield, Deans, Meadow Gold, Tuscan, T.G. Lee, and Alta Dena are other brands that are part of Dean Foods’ extensive portfolio.

Bankruptcy of Dean Foods

In November of 2019, Dean Foods filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing the decline in cow’s milk consumption and the rise in plant milk demand as key reasons. According to the company’s press release, “Despite our best efforts to make our business more agile and cost-efficient, we continue to be impacted by a challenging operating environment marked by continuing declines in consumer milk consumption.” The company’s bankruptcy filing prompted speculation about the future of the industry and whether this would be a trend among other dairy companies in the coming years.

Prairie Farms: Overview, Recognition, Distribution

Prairie Farms is a dairy cooperative that has been a leader in the dairy industry for nearly a century. Headquartered in Carlinville, Illinois, the cooperative has over 800 dairy farmer-owners and produces a wide range of dairy products, including milk product, cheese, butter, ice cream, sour cream, cottage cheese, dips, yogurt, and fluid milk.

In this section, we’ll take a closer look at Prairie Farms’ overview, recognition, and distribution network.

Overview of Prairie Farms

Prairie Farms was founded in 1938 and has been a cornerstone in the dairy industry since its inception. Unlike Dean Foods, Prairie Farms is a consortium of dairy farmers who work together to produce high-quality dairy products, reflecting their Midwest farming heritage.

The cooperative prides itself on using the latest technologies and following sustainable practices to ensure that customers receive the best possible products.

Recognition of Prairie Farms

Prairie Farms has been recognized for its excellence in milk quality, innovation, and sustainability, setting the standard for milk flavor innovations. The cooperative has received several awards in the dairy industry, including the Superior Taste Award, the National Dairy Quality Award, and the Best of the Best Award.

Prairie Farms’ commitment to sustainability has also been recognized, winning the Sustainability Excellence Award in the 2019 World Dairy Innovation Awards.

Distribution of Prairie Farms

Prairie Farms distributes its dairy products through an extensive network of grocery chains, mass merchandiser stores, club stores, convenience stores, dollar stores, drug stores, schools, foodservice outlets, and warehouse distribution centers. With their vast distribution network, Prairie Farms is accessible to people all across the country and offers a range of high-quality dairy products.


In conclusion, both Dean Foods and Prairie Farms are significant players in the dairy industry. While Dean Foods’ bankruptcy filing was a shock to the industry, Prairie Farms continues to thrive, setting the standard for milk quality and ensuring sustainability in the dairy industry.

Through the use of advanced technologies and sustainable practices, Prairie Farms has built a loyal customer base across the country. As the industry continues to evolve, it will be exciting to see what these dairy giants come up with in the future to meet the changing demands of consumers.

Hood Lactaid: Overview, Notable Acquisitions, and Spokescow

Hood Lactaid is an American dairy company that provides high-quality dairy products to customers across the United States. The company operates through several brands and offers a range of dairy products, including milk, cottage cheese, sour cream, cream, ice cream, eggnog, frozen goods, and frozen yogurt.

In this section, we’ll take a closer look at Hood Lactaid’s overview, their notable acquisitions, and their spokescow.

Overview of Hood Lactaid

Hood Lactaid is a division of the HP Hood LLC, which was founded in 1846 in Charlestown, Massachusetts. The company has a rich history and prides itself on providing high-quality products to its customers.

Today, Hood Lactaid makes up one-third of the company’s business, with the other two-thirds coming from their traditional dairy products business. The company is headquartered in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, and has processing plants across the United States.

Notable Acquisitions of Hood Lactaid

Hood Lactaid has grown significantly over the years through several notable acquisitions. In 2004, Hood acquired Crowley Foods, a dairy processor and distributor based in New York, expanding its footprint in the Northeastern United States.

In 2018, the company also acquired Crystal Cream and Butter Company, a Seattle-based creamery. The acquisition allowed Hood to expand its ice cream product line and strengthen its presence in the Pacific Northwest.

The company also acquired Brighams Ice Cream, a Massachusetts-based ice cream company, in 2019, adding more flavors and increasing its retail distribution.

Spokescow of Hood Lactaid

Elsie the Cow is the spokescow for Hood Lactaid and has been an advertising icon for the company since 1936. Elsie was introduced as part of a broader marketing campaign aimed at promoting the quality and purity of Hood’s milk.

The cow was named after the wife of one of Hood’s executives and quickly became a beloved figure both within the company and among consumers. Borden Dairy: Overview, Products, and Availability

Borden Dairy is an American dairy processor and distributor, making some of the best dairy products available in the market.

The company has a long history in the industry, and today, it is a privately-owned company. Borden Dairy offers a wide range of products, including milk, cream, buttermilk, dips, sour cream, cottage cheese, juices, tea, and eggnog.

In this section, we’ll delve into Borden Dairy’s overview, products, and availability.

Overview of Borden Dairy

Borden Dairy was founded in 1857, and for more than 160 years, it has provided high-quality dairy products to consumers across the United States. The company’s headquarters are in Dallas, Texas, where it operates a large processing plant.

Borden Dairy is privately-owned, and it operates in 12 states across the country.

Products of Borden Dairy

Borden Dairy prides itself on offering a wide range of dairy products that cater to different tastes and needs. The company’s product portfolio is divided into several categories, including milk, cream, buttermilk, dips, sour cream, cottage cheese, juices, tea, and eggnog.

Their 2% Reduced Fat Milk is a particularly healthy option that consumers have come to rely on over the years. The company’s products are known for their high quality, and they are made using the freshest milk from cows that are free of artificial hormones.

Availability of Borden Dairy

Borden Dairy products are currently available in 11 states across the United States, including Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee. The company is widely popular in Southern states and has recently begun expanding their availability to other areas.

In addition to grocery stores and supermarkets, Borden Dairy products can also be found in select convenience stores and gas stations.


Both Hood Lactaid and Borden Dairy offer a wide range of high-quality dairy products to consumers across the United States, with their rich histories and decades of experience in the industry. From Hood Lactaid’s spokescow to Borden Dairy’s healthy options, these companies provide dairy products that are both delicious and nutritious.

And with their ongoing efforts to expand their product lines and market presence, it will be interesting to see how they continue to innovate and grow in the coming years. Organic Valley: Overview, Partnership, and Venture

Organic Valley is a well-known organic food brand that operates as an independent cooperative of organic farms.

As a farmer-owned organic cooperative, Organic Valley focuses on providing high-quality organic products to consumers. Their product range includes milk, cheese, eggs, soy, protein shakes, butter, yogurt, organic snack items, and organic beef, pork, chicken, and turkey products.

In this section, we’ll explore the overview of Organic Valley, their notable partnership, and their recent venture.

Overview of Organic Valley

Organic Valley is not only an organic consumer brand but also a cooperative owned by farmers. The company was founded in 1988 in La Farge, Wisconsin, with a mission to promote organic farming practices and provide consumers with top-notch organic products.

To this day, Organic Valley maintains a deep commitment to sustainable agriculture and the well-being of farmers, animals, and the environment. With a focus on producing and sourcing organic ingredients, Organic Valley caters to the growing demand for healthier and more sustainable food options.

Partnership with Stonyfield Farm and HP Hood

Organic Valley has formed notable partnerships with other brands in the organic food industry. One such partnership is with Stonyfield Farm, a widely recognized organic yogurt producer.

Together, Organic Valley and Stonyfield Farm work to promote and expand the organic dairy market. In addition, Organic Valley has a partnership with HP Hood, a major player in the fluid milk industry.

This collaboration allows Organic Valley to extend their brand presence and distribution network by working with Hood’s vast network of farmer suppliers. Venture: Organic Valley Fresh and Dean Foods

In a recent development, Organic Valley entered into a venture with Dean Foods, a prominent player in the dairy industry.

The partnership with Dean Foods led to the creation of the Organic Valley Fresh brand, allowing Organic Valley to expand its product line and reach more consumers. The venture with Dean Foods provides Organic Valley with increased brand presence and a wider distribution network, allowing their organic products to be more readily available to consumers across the United States.

Fairlife: Overview, Flavors, and Cost

Fairlife is a unique brand within the dairy industry, specializing in ultrafiltered milk. Owned by the Coca-Cola Company, Fairlife utilizes a filtration process to enhance the nutritional content of their milk.

In this section, we’ll delve into the overview of Fairlife, the different flavors they offer, and the cost of their products.

Overview of Fairlife

Fairlife was launched in 2012 as a joint venture between the Coca-Cola Company and Select Milk Producers, a group of dairy farmers. Fairlife stands apart from conventional milk brands due to its use of ultrafiltration, a process that removes impurities and concentrates the milk’s desirable components.

This filtration process allows Fairlife to create a milk product that is higher in protein and lower in sugar compared to conventional milk. The Coca-Cola Company’s involvement in Fairlife reflects the brand’s commitment to innovation and meeting evolving consumer demands.

Flavors of Fairlife

Fairlife offers a range of flavors to appeal to different taste preferences. These flavors include reduced fat, chocolate, strawberry, fat-free, and whole milk.

The chocolate and strawberry varieties are particularly popular among consumers who enjoy a sweet and indulgent twist to their dairy beverages. The availability of different flavors allows Fairlife to cater to a wide range of consumer preferences and provide options that can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages.

Cost of Fairlife Products

Fairlife’s commitment to quality and their unique ultrafiltration process does come at a higher cost compared to conventional milk. On average, Fairlife milk is priced at approximately double the cost of conventional milk.

This higher price point may be attributed to the investment in innovative production methods and the nutritional benefits that Fairlife provides. While the cost may be higher, consumers who seek the additional protein and lower sugar content that Fairlife offers are willing to invest in this premium product.


Both Organic Valley and Fairlife offer unique products within the dairy industry, catering to consumers who are seeking organic and nutrient-dense options. Organic Valley’s farmer-owned cooperative model emphasizes sustainability and the production of organic food, ensuring that consumers have access to high-quality organic products.

Fairlife, on the other hand, stands out with their ultrafiltered milk, providing options that are higher in protein and lower in sugar compared to traditional milk. Both brands demonstrate a commitment to meeting evolving consumer demands and providing innovative products.

Hiland Dairy: Owned by Local Dairy Farmers, Awards, and

Variety of Products

Hiland Dairy is a trusted brand known for its high-quality dairy products. Unlike many other dairy companies, Hiland Dairy is owned by local dairy farmers, ensuring a strong connection between the farm and the consumer.

The company offers a wide range of dairy products, including milk, buttermilk, eggnog, ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream and dips, half and half, whipping cream, butter, and cheese. In addition to traditional dairy products, Hiland Dairy also provides a variety of beverages such as juices, lemonades, fruit punch, ice teas, smoothies, and ice coffees, as well as lactose-free milk, organic milk, almond milk, and soy milk.

In this section, we’ll explore Hiland Dairy’s ownership, their notable awards, and the extensive variety of products they offer.

Ownership of Hiland Dairy

What sets Hiland Dairy apart is its ownership structure. The company is owned by local dairy farmers who are deeply invested in the quality of the products they produce.

This farmer-ownership model ensures that the dairy products are sourced from trusted farms and that there is a direct connection between the farmers and the consumers. As a result, Hiland Dairy products are known for their freshness and reliability.

The farmers who own Hiland Dairy take pride in their work and are dedicated to providing consumers with the best dairy products possible.

Awards and Recognition

Hiland Dairy has received several awards and certifications attesting to the quality and sustainability of its operations. The company has been recognized with the Sustainability Excellence in Manufacturing award, highlighting its commitment to sustainable practices.

This award acknowledges Hiland Dairy’s efforts to reduce its environmental impact, conserve resources, and prioritize sustainability throughout its manufacturing processes. In addition to sustainability recognition, Hiland Dairy is also a member of Quality Chekd, a prestigious organization that sets high-quality standards in the dairy industry.

By being a part of Quality Chekd, Hiland Dairy demonstrates its commitment to producing top-notch products that meet the organization’s strict criteria. Furthermore, Hiland Dairy has won the Championship Dairy Product award, which recognizes the excellence and craftsmanship behind their dairy products.

Variety of Products

Hiland Dairy boasts an extensive array of products to cater to various consumer preferences and dietary needs. Their product lineup includes milk, an essential staple in households across the country.

In addition to regular milk, Hiland Dairy offers options such as buttermilk, which serves as a tangy ingredient in baked goods or as a refreshing beverage on its own. During the holiday season, Hiland Dairy’s eggnog is a beloved treat for many, providing a rich and creamy taste of nostalgia.

Ice cream lovers can indulge in Hiland Dairy’s wide range of flavors and varieties, while health-conscious individuals can enjoy their yogurt, cottage cheese, and sour cream options. The company also supplies half and half and whipping cream for those who seek the perfect finishing touch to their culinary creations.

From butter and cheese to lactose-free milk, organic milk, almond milk, and soy milk, Hiland Dairy ensures that there is something for everyone within their product line. Furthermore, in recognition of evolving consumer preferences, Hiland Dairy has expanded its offerings to include a range of refreshing beverages like juices, lemonades, fruit punch, ice teas, smoothies, and even ice coffees.


Hiland Dairy’s farmer-owned structure ensures that their products are of the highest quality and come from trusted sources. The company’s extensive variety of dairy products, beverages, and alternatives makes it a go-to brand for consumers seeking reliable and flavorful options.

From their award-winning sustainability efforts to their dedication to producing delicious and nutritious dairy products, Hiland Dairy demonstrates its commitment to both the environment and consumers. With their extensive product line and farmer-owned approach, Hiland Dairy continues to provide communities with fresh, locally sourced dairy products that can be enjoyed with confidence.

In conclusion, Hiland Dairy, as an owner-operated company, offers a wide range of high-quality dairy products sourced directly from local farmers. The company has received recognition for its sustainability efforts and adherence to quality standards.

With an extensive product lineup that includes milk, buttermilk, eggnog, ice cream, yogurt, and various beverages, Hiland Dairy caters to diverse consumer preferences and dietary needs. The farmer-owned model ensures a strong connection between the farm and the consumer, guaranteeing fresh and reliable dairy products.

The importance of supporting local farmers and enjoying top-notch dairy products is evident through Hiland Dairy’s commitment to excellence. By choosing Hiland Dairy, consumers can enjoy delicious and nutritious dairy products while supporting sustainable and responsible farming practices.

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