Monday, March 21, 2011

Own-Brands Have Value

Ok, I admit it: I sometimes buy supermarket own-brands.
*Shock! Horror! Probe!*
In these troubled economic times, it makes financial sense. Often the budget products are produced in the very same factories as the branded versions anyway: we're just not paying the same advertising and marketing costs.
Brand decisions are emotionally driven - "mum always fed us X brand" - and our emotions get pulled every which way but loose by the advertising industry. That's their job: they're adept at tapping into our core values and pushing our buttons...fighting at school over whether a Vegemite kid was superior to a Marmite kid; "you''ll always be a kiwi when you love our Wattie's sauce"; "kiwi kids are Weetbix kids" (imagine my chagrin when I heard Oz had the same jingle singing "Aussie kids..."!!); discovering when you're overseas that nowhere in the world makes better icecream than Tip Top; etc etc. They use extensive research into product placement on shelves, paying supermarkets a premium to have their brand in a certain position, and of course these costs are passed on to consumers in higher prices.
I don't shop by reading ingredient labels, though I can appreciate some people must - like celiacs buying gluten-free products, or parents avoiding certain food colourings for their children. But there are some products I'll never buy eg: budget tinned spaghetti is totally inferior to Wattie's. Who would dunk a gingernut biscuit if it's not a Griffin's? And is there any Indian sauce to beat Patak's?
That's not snobbery, just good taste - literally. I'll sometimes choose a more expensive brand if the flavour is vastly superior. However, so often similar products do taste very much the same, so why pay a premium? eg: Pak'n'Save's 2L budget standard milk costs $3.59... while Woolworths own-brand standard milk 2L is $4.15 and Meadow Fresh Lite homogenised 2L is $4.79.
Yeup, there're definitely times when budget brands do have value.

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