The level of own-label food and drink NPD overtook branded in the UK for the first time last year, according to research firm Mintel.

In 2011, the percentage of NPD across own-label increased to 54%, compared to 46% in the branded sector, claimed Mintel.

Branded products held a 55% share of total food and drink NPD in 2010, and have historically driven a higher proportion of NPD. However, the “fraught” economic climate, and the expansion of high quality own-label ranges has meant the influence of private label products has never been stronger, the researchers noted.

Mintel revealed around 80% of shoppers buy own label products, compared to 89% of consumers who buy branded goods, and retailers’ own products look set for further growth in 2012 as consumers expect to buy more of them.

“While there are signs that pressure on consumer budgets is slightly easing, 2012 looks set to see the majority of adults remaining watchful and discerning when shopping,” said Mintel senior food analyst Chris Wisson. “Our research suggests that on balance, consumers expect to buy more standard and value own label foods while cutting back on brands.”

The market for own label food and drink reached GBP37bn in 2011, Mintel revealed. This is a 24% increase since 2006. Mintel said the own-label market would be worth GBP46bn by 2016.

Last month, Tesco rebranded its Value line as Everyday Value in an effort to modernise its own-label offering. Morrisons has also made changes to its own-label line-up in recent months, including the launch of a healthy eating range under the NuMe banner as part of an own-label revamp.