UK grocer Sainsbury’s has launched a campaign to encourage customers to buy more of the retailer’s own-branded products.

The Switch & Save campaign is designed to encourage people to try out more of the supermarket’s 15,000 own-brand products and help slash food bills by 20%, the company said today (2 September).

Sainsbury’s estimates that switching to its own-brand products could save a family of four GBP452 (US$808) per year.

The campaign was prompted by a recent survey of 1,000 customers carried out by the retailer which showed that over half (51%) believe that big brands are losing their importance in today’s world and around two-thirds said they are more likely to buy supermarket own-brands now than a year ago.

The new breed of shopper, which Sainsbury’s has dubbed the “Darwinist” consumer, has evolved as a result of the current tough economic climate, the retailer said.

“The results of this survey clearly show how consumer perceptions to supermarket own-brand have shifted,” said Judith Batchelar, director of Sainsbury’s brand. “This new breed of Darwinist consumer is not only price savvy but has also recognised that own-brand doesn’t mean compromising on quality.”

According to the survey, around one third (35%) of all shoppers believe that top brands will need to improve quality dramatically to battle supermarket own-brand goods, while another 35% think that leading brands represent a pointless added expense.

Consumer psychologist Cathrine Jansson-Boyd said: “In the current economic climate many people have been changing their shopping habits, happily switching into supermarket own-brand as they believe this is now a very socially acceptable thing to do. Trust is important when money is tight, shoppers are less likely to make risky purchases, preferring long-standing supermarket brands they know well.”