Can I trust the store brand? (the Milky switcheroo)
In a previous post, I said that I would delve deeper into the concept of generics, otherwise known as store brands, and why I like them so much.
As a frugal shopper, it is of the utmost importance to read the labels of whatever food item you buy, to know whether it is a good deal or not. Today we are going to compare labels to show you the differences between store brands and brand name items.
There are several big-name manufacturers in Israel, whose names we recognize on the label. But what about the store brands- who makes them and where?
Every processed product sold in Israel must have either the manufacturer’s name and contact information or a manufacturer’s code with the name and contact information of the distributor. The codes must be registered with and approved by Misrad HaKalkala, the governmental agency regarding trade and manufacture.
While I was in the store recently, I came across “Duli” brand tuna. Who ever heard of Duli?
As you can see, it says that it is manufactured by “K”- whoever that is.
Actually, K is the code for Starkist. You may also notice that this tuna has the same hashgacha as Starkist (Rabbanut Tirat HaCarmel) and also uses the GMP symbol which Starkist uses.
So right now I am feeling pretty good about Duli tuna, especially when it is a shekel a can cheaper than Starkist. But whether it the same quality as the brand-name Starkist can or not I will have to let you know.
Both Globes and The Marker investigated the cost of store brands- otherwise known as generics. For some reason Israelis don’t like generic products- they covered only 6.8% of the market this year as compared to 7.4% in 2012. That is very low- especially when you compare it to America, where they are 22% of the market and Britain, where they are 45% of the market. For the supermarkets, the generic brand earns them more money per sale so it is in their interest to push them to the consumer.
Purchasing generics is the only way to force companies to lower prices, says Rafi Shefer, who represents “HaMutag” brand. Always purchasing the brand name but at sale prices won’t convince the industry to lower their prices, because they know that once you are “hooked” on a brand, you will purchase it even after the sale is over, but at the higher price.
So how much can you save by buying generics? According to Globes, up to 18% of your grocery bill. Some products are up to 95% cheaper than the brand name product:
If you compare prices per store, you can see a dramatic difference:
OK, so the prices are much better. But are the products edible? Generics can come from several sources; small companies looking to get a foothold in the market, manufacturers in other countries such as Turkey, and even large companies here in Israel. For example, you saw the Duli tuna is made by Starkist. Shufersal tuna is made by Wiliger, Pri HaGalil manufactures Shufersal canned corn, and Maadanei Yechiam manufactures Shufersal deli meat. Same products, different package, and up to 56% cheaper than the brand name product.
Some products are not such a great deal, however. My family notices a definite difference in quality between most Sanfrost frozen vegetables and other generic brands. Some of my family members will eat generic shkedei marak but others refuse.
Now that we are educated consumers, it is time to return to the volatile Milky, which is sold for much cheaper in Berlin. As we learned, you can’t compare brand name prices with generic product prices. Because that is what the German “Milky” is- a discount brand manufactured for a discount supermarket, Aldi. You can see the “Milky” pictures on a previous post– the pudding is manufactured by Ursi which is only sold in Aldi stores as written on the receipt. Aldi stores are known around the world as deep discount supermarket. You can read more about generic products sold in Germany here. On the same web site, they list the Ursi chocolate pudding is manufactured by MBP Dairy Products GmbH. To make this less confusing, I will make comparisons with Israeli product names:
Aldi = Victory or Osher Ad (not a completely equivalent comparison)
Ursi = “Hamutag” or “Kniyah Chachama”
MBP Dairy Products GmbH = Pri HaGalil or lower quality manufacturer
The take-home message of this post is not to be afraid of generics, but always read the label and know what the product is that you are purchasing. Always compare apples with apples, although in this case it is pudding with pudding. I don’t know if the Ursi generic is the same quality as the brand name Milky- it might be, but it is absolutely wrong to compare their prices.