What is Private Label?

Legal Definition
Private-label products or services, also known as "phantom brands", are typically those manufactured or provided by one company for offer under another company's brand. Private-label goods and services are available in a wide range of industries from food to cosmetics to web hosting. They are often positioned as lower-cost alternatives to regional, national or international brands, although recently some private label brands have been positioned as "premium" brands to compete with existing "name" brands.

Growing market shares and increasing variety of private label consumer packaged goods is now a global phenomenon. However, private label market shares exhibit widespread diversity across international markets and product categories. Empirical research on private label products has been of substantial interest to both marketing academics and managers. Considerable work has been done on well-defined areas of private-label research such as private-label brand strategy, market performance of private-label products, competition with national brands, market structure, and buyer behavior.

For example, Richelieu Foods is a private-label company producing frozen pizza, salad dressing, marinades, and condiments for other companies, including Hy-Vee, Aldi, Save-A-Lot, Sam's Club, Hannaford Brothers Co., BJ's Wholesale Club (Earth's Pride brand) and Shaw's Supermarkets (Culinary Circle brand). Another example is the Cott Corporation, which manufactures private-label beverages for supermarket chains. McBride plc is a Europe-based provider of private-label household and personal care products.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
A brand or product that is not owned by the manufacturer. The retailer retains the ability to use their name under the manufacturing contract.