Why Store Brand Groceries Have Supersized Impact on Farm Animals

May 8, 2024

a man looking at milk in a grocery store

Store brand, private label, generic — whatever you call it, supermarkets have the power to improve the lives of farm animals AND offer products that align with your values!

While a few supermarket chains have policies to address critical animal welfare issues and reduce reliance on cruel factory farming, many have been slow to make progress toward sourcing from farms with better practices. Whether your preferred supermarket has made these kinds of public commitments or not, your store has a secret superpower to improve farm animal welfare and provide you with more humane options: its own brands. 

Here’s how:

  • Supermarkets have more control over their own brands
    Supermarkets have even more direct control of the supply chain when it comes to their own brands – including how animals are raised and treated.
  • Store brands provide a big opportunity for supermarkets
    Beyond the potential for increased profitability, store brands can be seen as an opportunity for supermarkets to use labels to convey information about sustainability and sourcing and diversify their offerings to meet consumer demand.
  • Stores are investing more in their own brands
    A 2023 report from The Food Industry Association found that over 80% of grocery executives said they plan to increase private brand investments in the next two years. And that’s because store brands are growing faster [PDF] than national brands. Stores’ own products are also often the most heavily marketed and merchandised products, taking front and center among your options in stores and online.

Chances are your supermarket has their own brand or several of their own brands, like Costco®’s Kirkland Signature™, Target®’s Good & Gather™, or Trader Joe’s® own product lines, which they produce by partnering with manufacturers and suppliers.

As store brands grow in importance to your supermarket, this is a critical time to ask them to improve their standards and product offerings. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Shop from our Shop With Your Heart Grocery List! We made it easy by creating a filter labeled Grocery Stores' Brands (Private Labels), so you can find which stores’ own products are animal welfare-certified or plant-based.
  2. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in your store, bring your store on board! Reach out to your store through email, social media or by asking a manager next time you’re there about the animal welfare standards behind their own brands. You can ask if their eggs are cage-free, their pork is gestation crate-free, or if their chicken products use Cornish Cross chickens or healthier, higher-welfare breeds.
  3. See how your store ranks on their animal welfare policies and progress reporting by checking out our Supermarket Scorecard, which ranks the top 20 largest supermarket chains in the U.S. on critical animal welfare issues. Keep your eye out for the next Supermarket Scorecard, coming soon!

No matter where you shop or what you eat, you can help improve the food system and end factory farming. Join our Factory Farming Task Force for more grocery shopping tips and ways you can help farm animals.