Store brands poised to rival “name” brands


Consumer Reports has performed a series of tests comparing store brands with name brands in 29 categories of foods. They concluded that store brands more than held their own in terms of quality and value.

The inherent power of store brands

This isn’t big news, really. In previous posts we’ve discussed the inherent power of store brands and their many (potential) advantages over manufacturer’s brands. See our posts on Costco, Trader Joe’s (here, here and here), and Whole Foods (here and here).

Retailers define the customer experience. A strong store brand is on the same page as its customers–and it’s a page they’re writing together. Store brands should be the rule, rather than the exception.

Test results

From Consumer Reports:

In blind tests, our trained tasters compared a big national brand with a store brand in 29 food categories. Store and national brands tasted about equally good 19 times. Four times, the store brand won; six times, the national brand won.

What’s more, the store-brand foods we tested cost an average of 27 percent less than big-name counterparts—about what you’d find across all product categories, industry experts told us.

The retailer as the customer’s agent

In recent years the creative thrust of retailers has been to create their own customers through their own brand identities and brand relationships. Retailers position themselves as agents of customers, rather than agents of far-off factories. (That’s the secret of Costco, Trader Joe’s, and many others, in a nutshell.)

Old retail: the shelf. New retail: the platform

What we’re seeing in retail generally, and in grocery retailing specifically, is a transition from a shelf-focused business to a platform-focused business. In other words, it’s not the can; it’s the customer. When the store becomes a customer platform it can then discover its own brand potential, connecting with customers in many new dimensions, and moving them to new market spaces that competitor’s can reach.

Photo: SaCaSeA — Flickr

2 Responses to “Store brands poised to rival “name” brands”

  1. steve Says:

    I love Trader Joes – the employees and other customers are at least as important as the offerings. We good friends with one of their employees and her infectious enthusiasm for the place is wonderful.

    A store around here is experimenting with hosting a local farmers market on weekends in their parking lot and offering farmers space in the produce section. The rest of the store is generic grocery store, but the quality of the produce blows away anything you can find at the high end yuppie markets and many people are beginning to shop there simply because produce is so important.

  2. Brian Phipps Says:

    Thinking of Trader Joe’s: we consider it an extension of our own home. Actually, it’s an extended pantry where we go to “pick things up.” Trips to supermarkets involve the chore of shopping, since one has to scrutinize what’s being offered.