SCOTS shoppers have bought more supermarket own-label products than branded items for the first time, according to new research.

More than £5 billion was spent on own-brand products in Scots supermarkets this year which is jut more than half of total spend.

Discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl have helped take the labels ahead of big-name brands such as Coca-Cola, Golden Wonder crisps and Heinz baked beans for the first time in Scotland.

Own-brand products have been the biggest sellers in UK supermarkets for a number of years but Scots shoppers have remained more loyal to well-known products.

However, research from Kantar Worldpanel, in the first ranking of Scotland’s most chosen brands – Brand Footprint – has shown that 50.4 per cent of all products bought in Scottish stores this year were own label.

Analysts say the rise is down to consumers having more confidence in supermarkets own labels, with many manufactured by big-name brands and sold to the retailers for labelling.

Supermarkets have also increased the scale of own-label ranges, from the cheapest to the luxury end which has improved choice and quality.

Kantar Worldpanel analyst Amanda Brown said: “Scots have always been more loyal to local [Scottish] products than in other parts of the UK but as own-label ranges grow then Scottish shoppers have grown to trust them more.

“Scots want to see Scottish products in stores and are happy to buy home-grown chicken, beef, lamb or pork even it is a supermarket’s own label as they know it was produced here.

“The rise of the discount stores in Scotland has also had a massive impact as many more Scots have access to and Aldi or Lidl as they open more shops across the country.

“But it will be interesting to see what happens over Christmas as the majority of shoppers revert to big-name brands as it is a time of year when more family and friends come to visit and they like to put on a show of quality.”

Despite the increase in own-label products, 12 of the top 20 brands in Scotland are still experiencing growth.

Home-grown Scottish brands account for less than five per cent of grocery spend in Scotland and of the best-known local producers, only 30 feature in the top 500. In the UK as a whole, sales of Scottish brands account for only 1.6 per cent of total grocery spend.

Ones that perform well have capitalised on their heritage and have marketed themselves as quintessentially Scottish. Sales of fresh produce in Scotland also passed the £1bn mark for the first time in 2017, with Scots shoppers buying considerably more fruit and vegetables now than they were two years ago.

With the sugar levy coming into force next year, analysts warn that brands and own-label ranges will face additional challenges to retain consumers. It comes as budget retailers expand at a far faster rate than their mainstream supermarket rivals.

Budget supermarkets opened 1,487 units across the UK during the past five years, a 52 per cent rise. This compares to just 570 units opened by the major chains such as Tesco and Asda, according to a report published by The Local Data Company.

Scottish towns have the most competition between retailers in the UK, with 88 per cent of those analysedin Scotland having above average competition levels – areas with a high number of supermarket and discount stores compared to the population.