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Jewel Companies Generic Cola

Generic brands of consumer products (often supermarket goods) are distinguished by the absence of a brand name. It is often inaccurate to describe these products as "lacking a brand name", as they usually are branded, albeit with either the brand of the store in which they are sold or a lesser-known brand name which may not be aggressively advertised to the public.[citation needed] They are identified more by product characteristics.

They may be manufactured by less prominent companies, or manufactured on the same production line as a 'named' brand. Generic brands are usually priced below those products sold by supermarkets under their own brand (frequently referred to as "store brands" or "own brands"). Generally they imitate these more expensive brands, competing on price. Generic brand products are often of equal quality as a branded product, however, the quality may change suddenly in either direction with no change in the packaging if the supplier for the product changes.



Several competing generic colas from the 1980s

No Names were original to Carrefour Stores in Europe.

In the mid-1970s Al Williams, a former private label product lines manager at Albertsons Stores in Boise Idaho, left his employer and started a Private Label consulting business by the name of Keynote Marketing. He created 20 No-Name Generic products all under a plain white label and introduced them into to several grocery chains across the United States, including Skaggs-Albertson in Texas and Smith's Food King. After initial introduction, several large chain stores started introducing various white labeled products that were available from various manufacturers until they created their own chain specific No-Name Generics. Later as the major grocery chains created their own No-Name Generics, his business grew as Keynote Marketing expanded their sales offices into other cities and concentrated on the independent distributors and smaller grocery chains.

Jewel Companies is often credited with selling the first supermarket Generic Brand product line in 1977 [1] - no name or pictures on the packaging - only what the contents are, a UPC code, and the required product information in a white package with an avocado-green stripe. These first generics even cut out such extras such as the flip top on soda cans, requiring a can opener to open them.

Jewel followed this idea up by reusing some former small store locations, converting them to a concept called No Frills in several Chicago area locations. The last such store they opened, called Magna in Rockford, Illinois, tried selling a limited number of store brands and discount name brand merchandise. They closed all these stores after only a couple years at most.

In 1979 Konsum launched their own series of generic brand called BlÄvitt (Blue-white) possibly inspired by WW2 Norwegian packages. They were plain white with the name of the product written in white in a blue box. [2][3] After a Scandinavian merger they were replaced by Coop X-tra.

In the early 1980s, generic products in the United States had plain white labels with blue or black lettering describing the product in simple terms - "Yellow Cake Mix", "Tuna In Water", "Chocolate Flavor Syrup", "Deodorant Soap" - with only ingredients and preparation details as appropriate. This was during a sharp economic downturn when many consumers were placing more emphasis on value than on brand loyalty. In the U.S. industrial Midwest, a region especially hard hit by the recession, generics became a common sight in supermarkets and discount stores.

Some supermarket chains had their own "brand" of unbranded items. Examples: Pathmark had a subdued version of their company logo incorporated into the small red and white band at the bottom of the label, with the words "NO FRILLS". A&P had their generic products with white labels with green ink, and their "A&P" logo was replaced with "P&Q" (presumably standing for "Price and Quality").

Comparison with store brands

Stop & Shop in-house brand soda

Today, such stark package design is rarely used. Lower priced products today usually bear the name of the store or supermarket where it is sold, or the name of the distribution company that supplies that store. A variation on this that is common in the United States is private labeling: brand names owned by the store that sells the product, that are not the same as the name of the store. For example, supermarket chain Safeway, Inc. sells dairy products under the Lucerne brand, while the Kroger's line of supermarkets sells products under several names, ranging from the top quality Private Selection down to the budget-driven line Kroger Value.

Store brands may be referred to as "house brands", or "own brands" in the United Kingdom.

Membership-based "warehouse club" stores have begun their own contract-packed brands. The Wal-Mart owned Sam's Club sells products under the name Member's Mark, Costco sells products under the name Kirkland Signature (a reference to former corporate home office location, Kirkland, Washington), and BJ's Wholesale Club sells products branded Berkley & Jensen.

Generic drugs

When patent protection expires on a drug it may be sold generically at a considerable discount, less both patent royalties and marketing expenses.


See also



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