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Nutrition – Why Consumers buy Mega-Brand Name Food Even when they know it’s not Nutritious

April 17th, 2006

Nutrition – Why Consumers buy Mega-Brand Name Food Even when they know it’s not Nutritious

Grocery Store

Why do we still buy big brand name foods that we know are bad for us?  According to James Tillotson, PhD, MBA, professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University said the reason why big brand names survive, “mega-brands maintain their strong grip on our diet because consumers, food companies, and supermarkets are intertwined in a symbiotic relationship that yields great benefits for all three.”

Tillotson has a two-part series in his Business and Nutrition column in Nutrition Today who looks at the brand name products and refers to them as “fortress brands” because they are hard for competitors to take their market share.

“In spite of a deluge of popular press coverage in recent years about pros and cons of following the Dietary Guideline recommendations, consumer surveys continue to report that taste still trumps all other rationales in motivating food purchases by catering to our strong liking for sweets, fats and oils, and salt,” Tillotson wrote in his column.


Tillotson believes that the supermarkets help in brand name marketing to consumers.  He attributes the economics of profit to the methods that the grocery store will use to sell products.  Because profit margins can be barely anything, shelf space is limited; the grocery store will try to make as much profit as they can.  The name brands are recognized, will sell faster and make more profit.  The unknown brand that may be less expensive may not sell as fast and also would not make as much profit.  That is why the grocery store is so important for the success of big brand name products.


“Their greater profitability (versus the lesser brands) is the result not only of their commanding market shares and higher sales volumes, but also their larger profit margins,” said Tillotson. “Mega-brands are inherently the most-wanted by consumers, so supermarkets must have them to sell. Brand preferences are often passed from grandparents to parents to children and are deeply ingrained in our eating culture.”

Nutrition may not be the focus of the brand name product as the bottom line is profitability.  The FDA rules for food manufacturers have improved some of the quality of the foods out in the marketplace.  Recently the FDA has requested proper labeling for whole grain foods, and also to list Trans-fats in their product.  This has led quite a few big brand companies to change their products and use these healthier preparations as part of their marketing campaign.


“Mega-brands offer consumers a time-proven guarantee to deliver repeated satisfaction and quality, and importantly even more than the sum of great taste, convenience, and price, they offer compelling associations, emotional and psychological product inducements. These products are marketed by well-funded, highly professional organizations. The Dietary Guidelines are long on lecturing what to eat, but short on telling how and limiting in their motivation,” stated Tillotson in his column. “Without the same marketing attributes, strategy and budget, how can the Dietary Guidelines compete?”

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Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication

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Keywords and misspellings: health foods organic food grocery stores suppermarkets marketing helthy food choices

Important:  The material on Best Syndication is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. You should promptly seek professional medical care if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness program.

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                   Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:48 PM