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Hannaford sells more than 200 organic items in its supermarkets as part of its Nature’s Place private label. Many supermarkets are hopping on the private-label organic bandwagon.

(COURTESY)

Not long ago, if you wanted to buy organic coffee for your Keurig machine you could expect to pay a few bucks more than you did for the regular joe. Now you can buy a one-dozen box — packaged in guilt-free recyclable K-cups — from your neighborhood German grocer for $5.

It’s a good time to be a consumer.

Long-time supermarket chains, discount retailers and upstart rivals are all trying to woo you with lower prices for goods that once commanded premium prices. An increasingly larger share of those goods, including gluten-free this, organic that and never-anything-artificial “naturals,” are being marketed with house brands.

A few decades ago consumers liked private-label products only a bit more than they did that black-and-white no-name stuff that briefly commanded grocery store aisles of their own in the 1970s. Remember the delicious, nutritious taste of generic Tang? How about tiny type that assured you the cut-rate macaroni and cheese or crunchy peanut butter was “suitable for everyday use”?

The private-label products of the 21st century often rival the national brands. Trader Joe’s, for example, has found success largely on the strength of its own, often quirky, products. Private-label products generate a higher profit margin than the national brands, which have marketing and advertising costs factored into the final price.

That part is hardly new. But the increasing interest in organics has changed the private-label game. Last week, Price Rite Supermarkets, a retailer owned cooperative based in Keasbey, N.J., announced Wholesome Pantry, “a new private-label line of free-from products, including a variety of USDA-certified organic items.”

Price Rite…