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Frugality Trumps Trademark Power!

Or so this article in the NYT suggests. Entitled “Store Brands Lift Grocers in Troubled Times” it reports in pertinent part:

… As the economy plunges into a deep recession, grocery stores are one of the few sectors doing well. That is because cash-short consumers are eating out less and stocking up at the supermarket. And store brand products, which tend to be cheaper than national brands and more profitable for grocers, are doing especially well.

Led by chains like Trader Joe’s, Kroger, Wegmans and Safeway, grocers have expanded their store brands beyond cheap generics and simple knockoffs of Cheerios, Oreos and Coca-Cola. Now, retailers are increasingly adding premium store-brand items like organics, or creating products without direct competition….

…In this economic climate, the numbers suggest, many shoppers are willing to try the newly developed store brands. They also say it is hard to resist the low prices of store brands for staple goods like milk, sugar and cheese.

“They are less expensive and they taste just as good,” said Kim Dittelberger, 49, whose shopping cart at a Kroger store here on a recent day included store-brand “toaster treats,” aluminum foil, coffee filters and coffee. “Now even more so because the economy stinks.”

Jan-Benedict E. M. Steenkamp, marketing professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, said past recessions had given consumers a reason to trade down from national brands. This time, he said, the gains may stick because the quality and consistency of store brands have improved. …