Have you noticed that your local grocery story is pushing their own in-house, generic label over brand names? On a recent shopping trip to my local Shop & Stop, two identical grocery carts greeted me, pictured above.
Each contained 36 items. The one on the left has brand names like Domino Sugar, Lipton Tea, and Quaker Oats. The cart on the right has all the same food stuffs – but made by Shop & Stop’s generic in-house brand.
The generic labels are not as pretty or as recognizable, but the cart on the right costs a whopping $36.39 less: $123.25 versus $86.56.
Another grocery chain, Winn Dixie, which has locations in the South, is giving away their in-house label green tea when a customer buys brand name Arizona green tea. I can’t think of a more direct way for the grocery store to persuade shoppers to buy generic! Winn-Dixie has an entire page devoted to their own brands.
Trader Joe’s on the West Coast thrives by selling a huge range of in-house brands. They keep costs low by limiting advertising to the extreme.
Grocery stores saw sales increase as the recession hit because people started eating out less and cooking at home more. Now, promoting generic labels is one more way to make cash-strapped customers aware of grocery savings, though some would argue matching coupons with brand name sales saves even more money.
Promotion of generic grocery brands also makes me wonder if grocery stores have a greater profit margin on their own in-house labels compared to brand names. Not that I begrudge a business making money, I’m just curious if financial gain is one motivation to promote in-house labels.
I buy generic oatmeal, but notice the container does not hold up as well as when I splurge on Quaker Oats. I have sworn off generic plastic wrap because the quality has been very low. I have had good luck with generic sugar, meat, butter, cereal (except for Cheerios), spices, and many more items.
Do you buy generic? Have you noticed some generic grocery products are better than others?
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