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Certain brands of products that are only available at a particular store, usually a chain store, are called store brands. Store brand products are often available for a discounted price, and are popular with those trying to keep their spending to a minimum. In some stores, they can even make up 40 to 50 percent of the total sales, and may be 15 to 50 percent cheaper than the national name brand products.
Store brands are usually similar in quality to the name brand products, although some food products may be of a slightly lesser quality. Paper and personal products usually perform just as well, if not better, than name brand items. The packaging for store brand items is usually very close in resemblance to name brand merchandise, with the same colors often used for both products. Stores will often put their store brand on the shelves right next to the comparable name brand product, encouraging shoppers to quickly and easily compare the prices and ingredients of the two items.
The manufacturers of name brand products are very often the manufacturers of similar store brand products. The ingredients may even be very similar. This does not necessarily mean that the recipes used for the two products are the same. In other cases, the products may be made individually by a manufacturing plant owned by the store chain itself. By comparing the ingredient lists from the products of national and store brands, consumers can decide how similar the two products really are, and if the difference in price is worth the possible difference in quality.
Store brands allow stores to sell products for a better value than many of the name brand items. There are several reasons for this, but the main one is that store brand products do not need the advertising that national brands do. The stores do not create special marketing campaigns for these products. They are often included in fliers and specials, but very little extra money is spent on advertisements. This saves the company, and consumers, a lot of money.
Consumers have very different opinions on store brands. Some are very loyal to certain name brand products, and refuse to try cheaper alternatives. To others, the money saved is more than worth any reduced quality. Many people, however, fall somewhere in the middle. There are some products that they feel are worth the splurge for getting name brand quality, such as cereal or paper towels, but are more than willing to use the cheaper alternatives for other items, such as condiments, desserts, and dairy products. The quality of many store brand products have improved greatly over the past decade, making it easier for consumers to get the quality they expect for a more reasonable price.
I went shopping at a German-owned chain grocery store well-known for its deep discounts. Their store brands don't feature the name of the store, but rather manufacturers who have been contracted to produce the food. Those companies apparently go through some rigorous testing before they can become approved vendors.
I picked up some of their store brand batteries and asked one of the clerks if he knew which company actually made them. He said they were exactly the same batteries made by a well-known battery company, but they put on a different label and ship them to the grocery store chain. The clerk said a lot of the products in that store were produced in the same food plants as the national brands, but the companies had contracts to sell in bulk at a lower price.
I usually buy store brands if I'm shopping at what I'd consider a higher end grocery store. I have found that store brands at these upscale places are just as good as the national brands. In some cases, I think they're actually better. I have bought store brand premium ice cream, for example, that I thought had more ingredients mixed into it than the famous brand next to it.
I'm not as likely to buy other store brands if the price of the national brand seems reasonable. Some store brand items at discount grocery stores are clearly not as good, but I prefer them over the lowest priced items produced by unknown manufacturers.
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