The Brand Variety Game – Choice or Compulsion?

Anyone who shops for groceries at Coles would have noticed the diminishing brand variety over the last few months – or you may be oblivious to it, if you only buy the brands that remain on the shelves. I used to whinge about it, and swore I would never shop there again, until I reconsidered the situation.

I admit I’m a bit of a brand loyalist, and I ran in to the nearest Coles one day to grab a couple of specific items in a hurry, and left with none of them. A lot of the products they had previously stocked were gone, and most items were down to two or three choices – Coles’ brand and one or two other well-known brands (Schweppes, Arnotts, Unilever etc.). And, you guessed it, most of “my” brands were no longer on the shelves. Hence, my boycott. (Apropos their choice of stocked brands, Schweppes also make the Coles-brand version of their soft drinks, and perhaps it is a similar story with other “low-variety” items.) Continue reading

Supermarket ecology

I have an amensal relationship with my local supermarket—I give it money, it gives me rotten fruit and rancid yoghurt in return.

My fridge was low on fresh food the other day, so I headed off to my neighbourhood Superagora megabyssiae. Mine’s about 10 minutes up the road. It lies in wait like a huge concrete anglerfish, luring me into its automatic-opening jaws with its promises of “fresh food” and “everyday low prices”. I stood in the ‘fresh’ produce section eyeing soft apples, wilting lettuce and green potatoes with distaste. I even found a mouldy capsicum. And don’t get me started on the dairy cabinet. Continue reading