Lookalike Supermarket House Brands Getting More Prominence On Shelves

Lookalike Supermarket House Brands Getting More Prominence On Shelves

The problem of house brand goods looking suspiciously like their big-grand counterparts is not a new one. Consumer advocate Choice says the practice is on the rise, with supermarkets reserving premium shelf space for their own brands at the expense of other suppliers.

It’s not as simple as “the store brand is always more visible”, of course. The dirt-cheap store brands are almost always on the bottom shelf, but the sneaky replicas do seem to be getting more prominence.

Potentially deceptive packaging aside, Choice spokesperson Ingrid Just notes there are other issues in the rise of supermarket brands and their increasing visibility in stores:

For the consumer who is watching their budget, the rise of generic brands may be a good thing. For the shopper who wants an independent product however, their choices become more limited.

Supermarket brands account for 25 per cent of current sales, and that number is expected to increase. Choice’s research also examines how the rise of supermarket brands makes it harder for smaller suppliers to compete. But the brutal truth is that very few consumers are complaining when products overall are cheaper.

House brands are often a contentious issue. Some people flat-out refuse to buy them; for other products, such as eggs, they are already the dominant format.

Our stance at Lifehacker has been that it’s worth testing: for products that work out equivalent, you can save a lot of money, though it definitely varies by product, as we discovered when we tested ALDI’s house-brand Vegemite.

The biggest savings are generally on the products that don’t even try to mimic an expensive brand (think Home Brand and Smart Buy rather than Select and Coles), but in terms of saving money it still comes down to actually trying out products to see if they meet your needs, rather than taking an all-or-nothing stance in either direction.

Choice [via Mumbrella]


  • But the brutal truth is that very few consumers are complaining when products overall are cheaper.

    This is why there needs to be legislation to protect the independents. The more the big companies undercut, the less we get of quality products. It doesn’t matter if a product is of reasonable quality now, when the big boys have wiped out the competition, the quality will plummet and you will have no product worth buying. The big winners in all this is as always, the shareholders! Nuff said.

  • I’ve been actively avoiding purchasing home brand products where practical, even if they cost more. I dislike how much space they take up on shelves, and how they’re pushing other products out.

    I think monopolies or even duopolies like this, that become increasingly vertically integrated need to be regulated. There’s little way for others to compete. Sure IGA or ALDI could be considered a 3rd option for groceries, but they too offer their own “home brand” (excessively for ALDI). These companies will destroy us if we’re not careful.

  • I tried the cheaper version of Milkyways – and they tasted nothing like the original. Won’t buy any generic confectionary again. I will buy the occasional gereric brand things, eg Corn Kernels – it’s a bit hard to change the taste of them, but the rest of the products that are branded, have spent a lot of money over the years researching packaging, marketing, advertising – building consumer trust. While I agree that generic brands have a place, they are using deceptive packaging. As consumers we know what a vegemite lable looks like, it has it’s unique identity and the supermarkets ( as pic above shows) are using similar enough packaging that in even by basic design standards for copyright surely are too similar and have saved their money by not having to do the marketing and the advertising and the building of trust that the real brands did.

    • Same. I refuse to buy generic. Period.
      I really don’t want our stores to end up like Tesco’s in the UK, where they only stock their own brands.
      So it costs me a little bit more, I don’t care, I just home people realise what is happening..

      And I agree with Cameron, the business practices of a duopoly like this should be monitored extremely closely. It just a shame that the ACCC is not interested.. 🙁

    • Any body with half a brain can see whether the label is home brand or not! the issue isn’t with the label, the issue is with the producers having to cowtow to the big two, farmers in particular. This undercutting has to be stopped. Making money by gouging should be cracked down upon. Sooner or later we won’t have a primary industry because they will have moved off shore.

  • Sadly, 90% of the Australian population is oblivious to the games the large corporations play. It’s unfortunate but these people need to be protected from themselves. This, I thought, was the role of the ACCC. No?

  • It’s not just groceries. A well-known outdoor adventure clothing company used to stock many brands, giving you a wide choice. Now they mostly carry their own branded stuff, priced similarly to the well-known and trusted brands. I won’t shop there any more.

  • It’s the incredible shrinking range that I object to, along with the sneaky placement of store branded items beside category leaders with disturbingly similar packaging. I do buy generic brands of some items (rice and sugar, for instance) but I resent the increased lack of choice and the trickery.

  • Purchased SELECT brand of broad beans. After nuking, absolute horrible smell. Looked at origin – China. Took back and was NOT queried about fault, just offered money back. How does that fix quality issue!

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