A few years ago you could walk into your local supermarket and there was a wide range of products on the shelves. Maybe not as many different products as we have now, but there was much more variety. Now when you walk into the supermarket, you are faced with a wealth of choice of different items, but no longer can you make a choice when selecting a variety or brand.
Supermarkets now no longer stock the many different brands of the same product. Instead, if you take a close look at the shelves, you will find that there are plenty of the ‘Most Popular’ Brand, maybe some secondary brand, which is the major competition to the first brand, but then, instead of finding a further three or four different brands of the same product, in their place you now have two or three of the supermarket chains own brand of the product and these tend to be; the luxury option, the every day option and the super cheap option. Supermarkets will argue that this means that the consumer still has the same variety of choice, however this is just not the case.
Take Peanut Butter for example. Only a few years ago you could get up to Six or Seven different brands of Peanut Butter in any supermarket. These were made up of the major brand (here in the UK that is Sun Pat) then a main competitor (such as Whole Earth or Kraft), next we had the very posh brand, then there was the Supermarket’s Own Brand, and finally there were one or two American or Australian Brands. Added to this mix were the Crunchy, Smooth, whole Nut and ‘Mixed with something else’ concoctions, meaning that the consumer had a great choice in what they chose to but.
I remember a Peanut Butter, that used to be available in Tesco, it was called JB Peanut Butter I think, and I had to drive to Tesco especially to get this peanut butter. I went to Tesco earlier this week and instead of finding my favourite brand, I was faced with just two options, Sun Pat or Own Brand. Not even the healthy natural brand was available. My choice had been made for me. By the Supermarket. Not by me. Bye Bye Choice.
But, it isn’t just Peanut Butter. It is everything, from sausages (and there WILL be a future FNR about sausages!) Bacon, any dried goods, even things like Ice cream Wafers (yes, you try finding more than one brand… I’m serious). The trouble is, it is not that these other, smaller brands have gone out of business… yet, it is just that it makes more financial sense to the Supermarket to stock just one or two main brands, and then have the rest of the choice branded by themselves. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that many of the Supermarket’s Own Brands are actually produced by the same people who produce the very same product for another Supermarket’s own brand, and this means that the Own Brand Peanut Butter that you buy in Morrisons, might also be the same Own Brand Peanut Butter that you buy in Harrods!
So, That is todays Rant… More choice for the consumer please, real choice, not mickey mouse made up own brand choice.
If you don’t believe me about the peanut butter, next time you are in your local Supermarket, take a look for yourself 🙂