A box of frozen chicken and waffles under Walmart's (WMT - Get Report) Great Value private-label brand sits proudly on a counter in a room at the company's first-ever culinary innovation center that recently opened in Arkansas. 

"Isn't this great? It will hit stores soon," said a Walmart exec to TheStreet at an event held at the center, quickly pointing to a product called a Pizzadilla (half quesadilla, half pizza) also donning the Great Value name. In another room, the company showed off private-label diapers and razors. 

The rather eclectic new frozen foods and no frills household essentials offer a small snapshot into what's likely to be a major private-label product push by the world's largest retailer this year across all of its store concepts. A Walmart representative said the company does not disclose what percentage of sales comes from private-label goods.

Private-label products, otherwise known as store brands, are simply products on which stores put their own names or brands. They give retailers a way to set themselves apart from competitors. Consumers know they can buy a national brand such as Pepsi anywhere but they can only buy their favorite store brand at a certain store. 

Consumers often love private labels because they tend to be cheaper in price relative to well-known national brands. Retailers love them as they often carry higher profit margins than national brands, which cost more for retailers to buy due to big-name companies such as Pepsi (PEP - Get Report) and General Mills (GIS - Get Report) passing along their product development and marketing expenditures. 

According to a Walmart spokesman, private-label products help it offer lower-priced products to economically sensitive consumers. Also, by cutting out the large national brands, the company could move quicker to introduce innovative products.

Offering private-label goods also puts Walmart up against Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) , poised to offer its own private-label goods this month.

Half pizza, half quesadilla compliments of Walmart's Great Value private label. 

Sales of private-label products have been hot as U.S. consumers continue to count their pennies post-Great Recession, which is likely spurring Walmart's renewed efforts. According to Nielsen, total annual sales of store brands across supermarkets, drugstores and mass merchants rose by $2.2 billion to $118.4 billion last year, an all-time record. In the past two years alone, annual sales of store brands have increased 5%, or $5.4 billion, says Nielsen.

Walmart is already well down the path of becoming a destination for exclusive private-label merchandise. 

As TheStreet recently reported, Walmart quietly began selling several craft varieties in its first line of private-label beer during the first quarter. The four versions -- Cat's Away IPA, After Party Pale Ale, Red Flag Amber and 'Round Midnight Belgian White -- are available in 12-packs for $13. In California only, the company has debuted a brand called Pacific Drift.

The beers, which Walmart refers to as "distinctive label" due to various laws, are available in about 2,200 Walmart stores out of about 4,600 total U.S. stores. "We want to bring craft beer to the masses," said Al Dominguez, Walmart senior vice president of adult beverages, to TheStreet. He also mentioned the company will soon launch a private-label prosecco wine. 
Meanwhile, Walmart debuted about 100 new organic products under the Great Value label earlier this year. "We are pretty serious about private label, and it's gaining momentum," Greg Foran, Walmart U.S. president and CEO, told TheStreet after a tour of a Walmart Neighborhood Market concept ahead of the company's annual meeting. Foran said while private label is a "big deal," don't expect the retailer to be in every single category. 
"We will do it where it makes sense -- in laundry, for example, it's hard to do private label because Tide [detergent] has strong products."
Walmart's new private label craft beer. 
At Walmart's warehouse chain Sam's Club, stuffing the store with private-label products under the Member's Mark moniker is a major focus by execs. In fact, it's so much of a focus that the chain has hired a new team to specifically handle the merchandising of private label products. 

The private-label goods starting to flow into Sam's Club aren't of the inferior quality one envisions when thinking about non-national branded products. According to various executives TheStreet chatted with during a store tour while in Arkansas, they are higher-quality meats and other fresh food that a shopper with annual income of $75,000 to $100,000 would appreciate.
Said Sam's Club President and CEO Rosalind Brewer, "Given our work with private brands, I think you will start to see the gap closure with Costco ( COST - Get Report) that we have all been anxiously waiting for."
In addition to trying to pump up its own profit margins, Walmart may be trying to gain loyalty among shoppers for its store brands ahead of a Amazon's big foray into the land of private labels. 
Amazon is reportedly poised to roll out new lines of private-label brands this month that will include its first significant entry into perishable foods. The new brands with names like Happy Belly, Wickedly Prime and Mama Bear will consist of nuts, spices, tea, coffee, baby food and vitamins, as well as household items such as diapers and laundry detergents. As of the time of publication, Amazon was not yet showing any of its new reported private-label goods on its website. 

The Internet giant will only offer the private-label products to members of its $99-per-year Prime membership, according to reports.