Photo: Flickr/ trpnblies7
Frugal shoppers, you’ve been warned: Retailers are finally catching on to your growing love affair with generic brands and they’re finding creative ways to start charging you more for them.As the WSJ’s Hannah Karp reports, grocery stores are making sure there’s nothing generic about the way they package and promote their store brand products these days.
It’s out with those cheap white labels in ho-hum Times Roman font and in with specialty brands like Kroger’s newly re-named line of “Simple Truth” organic products.
Big chains like Wal-Mart and Supervalu are following suit and Target’s rolling out its own line of frozen and ethnic foods foods to give Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s a run for their money. (See the best and worst off-brand products.)
By sprucing up their labels and slapping on a fancy new name, retailers are pushing these so-called “private label” goods harder than generics, as they fetch a higher price. Last year, they rose 4% faster in price than national brands, according to the WSJ.
But don’t get too bent out of shape just yet. Generics are still the better buy when it comes down to price, as they’re about 29 per cent less than name brands on average, according to market-research firm Symphony IRI. But that price has been rising year after year, with a 5.3 per cent jump last year alone.
On the plus side, brand names will see a lot more competition in the form of generics as the latter continues to take up more space in consumers’ pantries. That means they’ll likely start rolling out more deals and discounts to keep up.