Statistically most of us buy them, but few of us admit to having a house laden with generic products, however, with budgets biting, the shame in no name is no longer, from the battler to the celebrity everyone's going no frills.
Home And Away's Lyn McGranger would normally be paid to endorse brands but today she's lending her name to no names and she wasn't paid a cent. ‘’I use generic Mex Beans, Coconut Cream, things like cling wrap. Cling wrap is cling wrap, for goodness sake”, says Lyn.
No name, no frills, home brand, Coles Savings, generics in Australia are up by 6%. Their share of the grocery market is 22% an all time high.
Mix 106.5's Todd McKenny is outing the contents of his cupboard. He's attacking the prejudice that has long plagued the world of Black and Gold. Todd says ‘’I would go Black and Gold every time, bigger chunks, value for money”.
‘’I see something from a third world country in a tin, I am not going to buy it. I don't know who the hell packed that in that funny place’’ says Gerry Harvey. Gerry Harvey is a celebrity of sorts, but you won’t see his name mouth anywhere near a generic label.
Estimated to be worth more than $700 million, Gerry can afford to snub the cheaper generics, but the retail king is adamant the real issue is not price, but quality. ‘’You can go into any supermarket, it's disgusting. Why do you think we are all over weight? It is all the crap they sell in there. You could pull out half of the stuff at least. You could pull out half of the stuff at least and throw it out, never to be served to humans again, it is crap’’ said Gerry.
Gerry's sentiments extend to junk food in general, including branded products, but in relation to generics or private label products, he has some solid backing. Private label products contain significantly more sodium, saturated and trans fats and are more energy dense than branded products. Previously, Dr Lynn Roberts of the National Heart Foundation has slammed generic labels.
Cheaper foods often equal cheaper, less healthy ingredients. ‘’From a nutritional stand point, I would probably go more branded products’’, says Nutritionist Zoe Bingley Pullin.
Zoe compared generics with some every day brands. ‘’The lasagne is definitely the one that I would not be choosing -- The home brand had higher fat, higher sugar and higher sodium content’’, says Zoe.
However on these criteria alone our results were ambiguous. For example in tomato paste, the home brand had much less salt, in the muesli the home
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brand had less sugar, but that's because it had less fruit. The big surprise was the bread. ‘’The branded product had higher sugar content than the unbranded product. When it comes to bread, I might even be leaning a little bit more toward the no name brand’’, says Zoe.
The supermarkets spend big money pushing their private lines, but one big retailer remains unconvinced. ‘’It is cheaper because they put in less ingredients, inferior ingredients, it is not as good. The retailer makes more money -- it is all about how much money you make’’ says Zoe.
And the supermarkets are making very big money from generics. Aldi's customer numbers are up by 172,000 customers, which is not bad for a shop which is 95% generic -- or as they call it -- exclusive label.
Ready made cakes top the generic charts in sales, followed by party and picnic ware, eggs, milk, frozen meat and chicken, bread and packaged cheeses.
Water is a great example ��" one, a famous brand, is $1.85, but your no frills is 79 cents -- water is water.
But even buyers of generics concede their penchant for the generics is not something they normally advertise. ‘’I am just a snob and I don't want people to think I am skimping, you want to appear to be a success. I leave all the Black and Gold stuff down the bottom’’ says Todd McKenny.
For further information visit the website at: www.nutritionaledge.com.au
Zoe Bingley Paulin’s book, Eat, Taste, Nutrition is available at all good bookstores.