Insider's Report: Store Brands

contributed by Claire

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I live in Australia and work in the food manufacturing industry. I am not sure if it is the same as in the USA, but I am sure that it has many similar points. I would like to make some comments that are relevant to food manufacturing in Australia:

  1. Many generic/house/own brand products are made by major manufacturers and just packaged as the generic brand.
  2. Generic/house/own brands may use a lower quality of raw materials. For instance, instead of prime quality meat in a meat pie, they may use budget quality meat.
  3. There may be a higher level of "filler ingredient" in the product as many filler ingredients such as sugar, salt, flour, etc. are cheaper than the main ingredient. For instance, the same meat pie may have more vegetables than meat included because vegetables tend to be cheaper than meat.
  4. In Australia, we have nutritional panels and ingredient lists on our packaging as does the USA. These can be used to compare the quantity of ingredients, as the ingredients are listed in descending order of quantity.
  5. In fact, in Australia now, the major/characterizing ingredient has to have its percentage content included in the ingredient list. For example, in a blackberry tart, the percentage of blackberries included in the product must be shown. There may be 5% blackberries in total and they might be the fifth listed ingredient in the list.
  6. Another example is chocolate biscuits. Generic/house/own brand are often substantially cheaper but are not coated in real chocolate. They are coated in compound, which is a form of chocolate that has substantially less or no cocoa butter in the chocolate. This can also be checked by using the ingredient list.

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