The level of own-label food and drink NPD has risen above branded for the first time, according to new research by Mintel.

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

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 in high quality own-label ranges has meant the influence of private label products has never been stronger, claimed Mintel.

The research revealed that within the bakery sector, cakes and savoury biscuits featured in the top 10 best performing private label brands in 2011.

Looking at the share of private label sales by category, cake and cake bars had around a 50% share, biscuits a 22% share, and bread loaves a 18% share.

Mintel found that around 80% of today’s consumers buy own-label products, compared to 89% who buy branded goods. Further growth is expected in own-label purchases during 2012, with the market projected to reach £46bn by 2016 (2011: £37bn).

Chris Wisson, a senior food analyst the research company, said: “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.

“Our research suggests that on balance, consumers expect to buy more standard and value own-label foods while cutting back on brands.”