Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The march of House Brands in Australian Supermarkets

I have not posted for ages - mainly because I am in Australia - and therefore not a part of the New Zealand food scene. I do sometimes see New Zealand products that have made it to the supermarkets. The latest one I saw was Pitango -  high class soups and mushes.

However, the thing you notice here is the aggressive rise of the House Brand - i.e. Super Market Brands - Coles etc.. Anything that comes in a packet or a tin is fair game. And usually the House Brand is cheaper - much cheaper - and Australian shoppers are turning to these brands in uncertain economic times.

House Branding is simple - basically Coles or Woolies says to manufacturers can you replicate - say - San Remo pasta - for a CHEAP price and stick our brand on it. So the manufacturer essential copies the product - the box sand serving size identical - just new pictures on the box. They then put their House Brand next to the orginal - and sure enough people say well I was only making a shitty Lasagne anyway - so I will go with the House Brand and save a buck.

In terms of - well where is the stuff made - well China, by the factories of well known brands etc... etc... The supermarkets control the supply chain - so everyone JUMP's.

I think what the Super Markets is largely intellectual property theft - they don't create anything new - they just copy copy copy. Not illegal - and due to their market power - supplier protests are muted.

I wonder if this is the beginning of the death of product brands. No one seems to care whether their flour is Coles or from long term trusted producer brand. The are struggling with kids and bills - and don't really give a shit.

In someways - perhaps it will force people to local markets.

I am not sure - but the supermarket isles are starting to look very 1984.