South African consumers still view private-label goods as a second-rate option, despite rising sales in the country, according to research giant Nielsen.

"Our research suggests that connotations of poor quality are prevalent in consumer attitudes to store-brand foods," a spokesperson for the research group told just-food.

Eyeing higher margins, retailers are increasing their own-brand offering to win sales from brands, as consumers tighten their belts.

However, Nielsen suggested that, in general, retailers are not investing enough in marketing and packaging to improve consumer opinion.

Woolworths, Nielsen noted, is the only South African retailer to offer premium own-label products.

"By failing to invest in the development of own-label lines, retailers are really missing a trick," the spokesperson said.

"In Europe and, to a lesser extent perhaps, in America this is something retailers have picked up on in a big way."