Generic v/s name Brand food products: The age-old debate:
On a global level, India is the second largest producer of food according to a survey in 2015. With the second largest arable land after USA, our country is home to innumerable food production companies, local, national and multi-national investors contributing to the gross domestic product.
Food being holistic to life, it is imperative to purchase products which are high on quality without burning a hole in our pockets. National and international companies have set up a brand name for their respective products, creating a niche for their sale and ensuring adequate levels of nutrients. However, for a population where 90% belong to an average or lower standard of living, it becomes necessary for an equivalent product to be sold at cheaper rates. Generic products, also called store-packed products, step in as a solution and with it, starts the debate: Generic v/s name Brand Food.
The quintessential argument of Generic v/s name Brand Food is trending since the advent of private brand names in the market. Along came certain myths which revolve around buying generic or name brand products. The idea of buying either of them is purely individualistic and subjective. To some, name brands appeal more than its store-packed products, while to the others, loose items or generic goods are more trustworthy without having to spend a fortune. Many chefs are known to purchase more generic food brands directly from the producers in large quantities than an average customer.
Branded food product = Best quality?
Only a branded food product is high in quality is a norm born from efficient PR skills and marketing strategy. Pulses and lentils like Split Red Gram and Kidney beans may be polished during branding and packaging by leading food industries, ultimately lowering its nutritive value and causing people to spend three times the usual price. Such staple dietary products, including rice and wheat may be purchased as generic food brands if one can distinguish in the quality (split red gram might differ, based on the location of the farms).
On the other hand, all generic food brands are rich in nutrition may not be true either. Store packed dairy products like milk, cheese and butter are areas of maximum adulteration with easy means of finding out as these easily pass the taste tests; neither the texture looks fresh, nor they may be palatable.
Generic food brands = Cheap prices?
Generic foods price much lower than their branded siblings, is another myth that has been trending along. According to a survey by Wall Street Journal, the prices for non-perishable and perishable generic products were hiked by 5.3% and 12%, as compared to the 1.9% and 8% of the brand names respectively. The overall prices may not seem high, but some generic products might actually cost you more each time you purchase. Rates fixed by government authorities might elevate based on the economic state.
The most efficient alternative to choosing between the two would be the nutrition check. The labels provided, both by brands and stores, give a reality check and value to your price.
The latest example of Generic v/s name Brand Food : A leading food company was caught up in a legal soup due to excessive metal content in one of their relished products, whereas, adulterated chili powder sold in store packs were confiscated by FDA in Bhopal.
Generic v/s name Brand Food: How to Choose?
The perks and downside of choosing either of them vary as per the customers. Some uphold the quality and are ready to pay the amount, while slight variations in standard would be excused for a lower price value. There are leading brands providing natural food products without any artificial processing and bridges the gap between generic and name brand foods.
A thorough nutrient check and transparency in the contents provided to the customers should empower them for good quality grocery shopping.