Which is better, private store brands on fresh produce or farm brands ?
** Be advised: There will be a request for your opinion 🙂 **
Over the years you may have observed a transition at your local grocer. Or it may have been so subtle you never even realized it. The rise of private store branding on your fruits and veggies.
I remember the days of my childhood when walking the grocery isle with my mother, I would see the colorful can of Green Giant beans on the shelf and my mother would reach for the white, red & black can that said simply Green Beans. She did it for good reason. To save some crucial money.
The store brands concept…
..was birthed with the idea of providing non branded merchandise for less than the name brand. Many times it was produced by the same exact manufacturer but it didn’t really matter. We didn’t care where the foil was made or who made it. We were getting a savings. That’s why private labeling does so well in tough economic times and not as well in times of prosperity. We really would rather have the Peter Pan peanut butter but in tough times we eat the “other” stuff.
Today as we walk our local store we see 1,000’s of store branded items on the shelves. Food Lion for example has over 7,000 store branded items. And now we see it more and more on our fresh produce that we purchase daily.
3 differences in private store brand vs farm brand produce?
Next time you’re in your local grocery market take a look at the produce there. You’ll normally see two types of labeling. Here are a few things to look at.
1. Location. An example of these would be the Food Lion Brand and their organic label Nature’s Place or Target’s Archer Farms. If thou take a look at “your” store’s private brand you’ll notice something. Most of them do not give you any farm or location information. You” have no idea if you’re eating an apple from Washington or New Jersey. Are your onions from the farm in your state or from across the country?
For an example of this take a look at these two photos. Not to pick on any certain store, but look at the bag on the right. Can you tell where the potatoes are from? Nope. It says simply Russet Potatoes with the store’s logo on it. Now look at the other photo. You can see what state they were grown in and even a name of a farm. Very different isn’t it?
2. Brand identity. If you are enjoying a delicious piece of fruit and you see who the farmer was, would you be more likely to buy the apples they grow as well? Of course you would. In a store brand you are not able to identify who the farmer was. You can purchase a bag of avocados from them this week and the be good and then next week they could be bad simply because the grower changed.
3. History and story. A farm Brand will offer you a glimpse into who they are or information on where to get that information if not on the package. Whether it’s 5 generations of farmers or possibly a new modern farmer using rooftop gardens. It is very identifiable. Store Brand not so much.
For the most part the idea behind private store labeling is to develop loyalty to their brands. This is one of the reasons that the origin our source of the products they label isn’t shown on the bag. Sadly we don’t get any price savings in exchange for the lost information since the produce isn’t manufactured for any less. What do we as consumers gain?
In defense of retailers
Even with the loss of information consumers can rest assured they have the highest food safety standards. This is NOT a question about the safety of their products. But it is a question of knowing where your fresh food source comes from.
Many times the larger retail chains will purchase products from re-packers. These re-packers who are qualified and food safe can source their products from a variety of locations. Also the store can purchase product from several different vendors at the same time. This means that the stack of bagged potatoes could have some bags with potatoes from Wisconsin and others bags with potatoes from Colorado and you would have no idea.
Why does it matter?
Well that is exactly what we want to hear from you! Does it matter at all? Do you want to know where your produce came from and what you’re eating or does it just not matter? Do you want to know more about the history behind the farmer who grew your head of lettuce or do you just want to have your lettuce and it does’t matter where or who grew it?
Here at Produce Brands we love to celebrate and enjoy fresh, delicious produce that was grown with care. Produce that has been pain stakingly grown with the end user at heart. We love to know who and where it was grown so we know what to look for next time.
Please let us know with your comments either here or on our social posts. We REALLY would love to know how you feel.
Reminder again: In no way are we implying that store label produce is not food safe. Major chains are very good at traceability and food safety protocols.