Aeroplane Jelly, Vegemite, Milo, Keens… There once was a time when a brand meant something. But as one of our supermarkets launches an enormous push of its own-brand products, it seems the only brands we’ll need to know are Coles, Woolworths and Aldi.
The Australian reports today that Coles has announced it it undertaking the biggest overhaul of its private label range since 2007 in an attempt to combat the growing threat of Aldi.
Instead of “Smart Buy” or “Simply Less”, all products will simply be labeled with Coles branding.
At the moment, private labels make up about 20 per cent of all supermarket brands, and that is projected to grow to 35 per cent of all food and grocery sales by 2020-21.
Ruslan Kogan, who produces cheap electronics, says most people like to believe they are loyal to brands but are more likely to act rationally when it comes to actually purchasing them; choosing a cheaper option if it’s available.
“A brand used to matter a lot more than it does today, and the reason for that is we have huge amounts of information at our fingertips. Twenty years ago I would’ve bought a Grundig or a Sony TV because I didn’t know much about TVs, but the brand meant quality product.
“These days you buy a TV, you know the specs of it. I bought a 42-inch, Smart LED TV. You probably even know the hertz. You could read a review of a brand you’ve never heard of from a tech expert and you’d be happy to buy that product.”
“I’ve got friends who work in FMCG, [fast moving consumer goods] and they tell me that the supermarkets are testing which brands matter and which brands don’t, and they’re finding there are very few categories that matter.
“They find if you walk into Coles and this brand of milk isn’t available, you’re happy to have any other brand of milk.”
Mr Kogan said that a visit to Aldi was easy way to see “which brands are very strong and matter”.
“You’ll see Nutella. You’ll see Coca-Cola. You’ll see Milo. A handful of brands. But when you’re buying chilli flakes, you don’t care if it’s MasterFoods or McCormick. Or salt and pepper, or flour, it makes no difference. That’s what the supermarkets have realised.”
While that might be bad for the small guys, he argued it “shows there was nothing they were really adding”.
Are you comfortable with the increase of supermarket-owned brands? Do you choose them over other brands if it means a cheaper product?