Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Same stuff; different label? Or are we destined to shop at Piggly Wiggly?

I find it amusing the degree to which corporate interests own varieties of a product that might have the public think their competing with themselves. 
Is the high-end image of Whole Foods ...

One such example was when the Chicago White Sox last month announced they were going to have an official import beer to be served at the ballpark – that being Modelo Especial.

THERE ARE THOSE people who think that Mexican brand is some sort of exotic, high-end label. Particularly when they start playing with the lime and salt.

Although it turns out the corporate interest that owns the company that produces Modelo also is the one that several years ago bought out Anheuser-Busch. As in Budweiser.

Which may be why Modelo is one brand of Mexican beer I don’t consume. Actually, I just think the taste is unexceptional. Not even particularly lousy. Just kind of pointless. Much like I’d describe Budweiser beer products.

But the money that gets spent on both winds up in the same corporate wallet. I find that to be funny, particularly if there’s someone out there who thinks that drinking Modelo-brand cerveza somehow makes them a more discriminate consumer than someone who quenches their thirst with Bud Light.

THIS SAME REACTION is what I’m feeling Monday upon reading the reports about Whole Foods quite possibly being for sale, and one potential buyer being Albertson’s.

The Boise, Idaho-based company owns supermarkets all over the country, and they operate them under various brand names meant to create the impression of locally-based companies.

In the Chicago-area, Albertson’s is the corporate entity that gives us Jewel and Osco.
,,, destined to become a part of 'da Jewels?'

As in “We’re goin’ to da Jewel’s,” that would like for us all to think of itself as the quintessential Chicago food shopping experience – particularly now that Dominick’s is ancient history.

ALTHOUGH I SUSPECT most of us merely rant and rage about our neighborhood Jewel’s store being dirty or depressing or poorly stocked or whatever complaint we feel like making. I shop there because it’s close by; I literally used to live one block from one of their stores.

To people, it won’t matter what the quality is; we’ll want to believe there has to be something better somewhere else. In fact, I think that’s a large part of why Whole Foods (and Trader Joe’s, as well) achieve some success in the Chicago area.

You go in there and see allegedly high-end foodstuffs – even though many of them are merely more expensive versions of what it is you can buy at “da Jewels.”
Will 'Krogering' become a national concept?

Now, it seems Albertson’s is considering placing a bid to buy out Whole Foods. Whole Foods and Jewel could become sister stores. For all those people who are willing to indulge themselves (and clean out their wallets) by spending more for organic produce and other pseudo-sophisticated products, I can’t help but wonder how they’ll react to having to consider themselves as shopping at a Jewel partnership.

BECAUSE I CERTAINLY doubt that this means Jewel would go “high-end.” Although I have noticed some Jewel stores in select communities have gone out of their way to remodel themselves and create the impression that they’re carrying fancier food products so as to compete with the high-end supermarkets such as Whole Foods.

Personally, I wonder what happens if the day comes when all supermarkets wind up finding themselves under one entity and we get generic grocery stories from which to buy our edible products.
Will we all someday experience Piggly Wiggly sensation?

We’ll all wind up eating the same thing – and probably wind up paying more for it. Maybe it would even turn out that we’d take interest in which conglomerate winds up winning out as the dominant supermarket. Are we all destined to “go Krogering” for our food – regardless of where we live?

If that’s the case, I vote for the Piggly-Wiggly to prevail. I think it would serve the culinary snobs right to have to shop in one of their stores.


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