Kroger, parent company of Ralphs and the country’s largest grocery chain, says inflation is prompting many shoppers to pick cheaper store brands over name brands.
“Rising inflation has consumers rethinking their shopping and eating habits,” Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen told analysts.
“We are seeing different shopping behaviors based on how individual customers are experiencing the current inflationary environment.”
What some shoppers may not realize, though, is that when they opt for a less-expensive store brand, they’re often buying the exact same product as the name-brand offering.
Retailers like Kroger don’t make their own branded goods; they buy them from manufacturers.
Frequently, those manufacturers are the same ones churning out the exact same products for pricier name brands.
Which is to say, same thing, lower cost.
Pro tip: Examine the label of a store-brand or generic product. Note the name of the manufacturer.
Now look at the name-brand version on the same shelf. Very often, you’ll see that both come from the same manufacturer — and often the exact same production facility.
This doesn’t just apply to packaged foods. It’s a trend you’ll find for over-the-counter drugs, sundries, cleaning products and many other goods that have generic alternatives.
For the millions of U.S. households now getting by paycheck to paycheck, buying store brands and generics and can help save some money at a time when a trip to the supermarket, as with the gas station, can be a traumatic experience.
The typical household is now spending about $460 more every month than last year to purchase the same goods and services, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody’s Analytics.
So shop more carefully. Your dollars will go a little farther.