Matching Private Labels to Their Name-Brand Equivalents – The TFT Reader Investigation Continues
The first TFT Reader Investigation is off to a great start, with half a dozen leads in as many days. While we work with readers to dig further into some of those leads, we wanted to bring you some good news we’ve uncovered in the meantime. As one reader reminded us, many private-label foods are made by respected brand-name manufacturers.
“It is more expensive to run a “lesser grade” item, at a smaller quantity, than run a better grade in a larger quantity,” Sheryl Moore, of Escondido, Calif, who has been in the food manufacturing business for over 40 years, wrote to us.
Meanwhile, five other readers, some former employees of retail grocers, others friends of private-label producers, sent us the inside scoop on which private-label products are made by which manufacturers. The details are summarized in the table below:
As a general rule, the products made by manufacturers that also make a name-brand product tend to be the best value. Aurora Organic Dairy, which supplies both Safeway and Wal-Mart (as well as Target) with private-label organic milk, has been in trouble off and on since 2007 for violating various aspects of the USDA’s National Organic Program.
So far, what we’ve found indicates that private-label staples and some dairy products can be a great deal, but milk is a product to beware of, as are meat, cheese and eggs. We’ll be bringing you more information later this week.
In the meantime, don’t forget to check out some of our background resources (listed below), and please comment here or email email@example.com if you’ve got information to share or a lead you think we should follow.
To help get you started, following are links to a few handy resources:
Trader Joe’s contact page: This company’s main slogan is that it gives its customers what they want; if you’re a customer, ask to know more about where TJ’s private-label foods come from.
Cornucopia Institute: This is an organic foods watchdog group that has called out many of the private-label dairies for poor practices. Tons of their reports and findings are available online.
Wal-Mart – There’s a wealth of information out there about Wal-Mart’s love of store-brand items, including a 2006 BrandWeek study conducted during the year when private-label really started to take off in the U.S.; a great Fortune article written last year when the store relaunched its “Great Value” brand; and an Advertising Age article in which Wal-Mart’s CMO defends the store’s shift to more private-label brands.
Private Label Magazine – The private-label industry is big enough to have its own magazine, which profiles a variety of retailers and their store brands.
Discussing the investigation on The Young Turks:
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