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Kraft Cheese -- maybe your store brand, too!

alkapal Apr 26, 2008 04:36 AM

In conducting research on the ingredients of Kraft Parmesan Cheese in the famous green shaker can, I came upon this letter from Kraft to the FDA listing all the labels under which several of their cheeses are sold. I was surprised to see so many store brands. I'm posting here just for your information.

http://www.fda.gov/OHRMS/DOCKETS/DOCK...

Do you know of any other large manufacturers which make store brands that you can share with us? For example, does Del Monte can Safeway's house label's asparagus -- or whatever. Or does Breyer's make Giant's ice cream -- (not that I think that of course, but you get the drift, right?

)

And Wal-Mart: who makes their various products? salsas, mustards, canned beverages, bottled beverages, you name it?

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  1. JonParker Apr 26, 2008 04:58 AM

    I see this discussed, but I'm not sure what use it is. Kraft has the infrastructure to produce grated parmesan, but that doesn't mean the actual cheese used, or in the case of manufactured products the quality and formulation of the ingredients, is the same as the more expensive variety.

    Being made by the same company does not mean an equivalent product.

    4 Replies
    1. re: JonParker
      alkapal Apr 26, 2008 05:04 AM

      I didn't assume it is always the same product. But, it just as easily might be the same product as a slight variation. I've had the Safeway cheeses and they are equivalent quality as Kraft.

      Just because it is more expensive does not mean it is necessarily better.

      1. re: alkapal
        d
        dolores Apr 26, 2008 05:27 AM

        Polly-O??? I'm confused, does Kraft put out their product under Polly-O's name????

        I'd love to know who makes Stop and Shop brand products.

        1. re: dolores
          alkapal Apr 26, 2008 05:31 AM

          dolores, look at this list of kraft products (kraft being the number one food producer in the u.s.): http://www.calorie-count.com/calories...

          and to answer your question: yes, polly-o is made by kraft. the link confirms it.

          1. re: alkapal
            d
            dolores Apr 26, 2008 06:04 AM

            Interesting, thank you alkapal. I wonder when Polly-O sold out to Kraft? This will be news to my mother, who has been paying more for Polly-O.

    2. alkapal Apr 26, 2008 05:34 AM

      here's what stop and shop says in their faqs:

      "14.) Are Stop & Shop products the same quality as the national brand?

      Although they cost less than the comparable National Brand, all of our Stop & Shop products are tested and approved as being equal to or in some cases better than the comparable National Brand. We complete a process of research, testing and inspections before we put the Stop & Shop name on any product. Our buyers search for suppliers with high standards for quality and cleanliness. And our Quality Assurance Departments make sure the manufacturing facility meets our high standards for processing and packaging. Products are rated on taste, texture and appearance, and are always compared to the leading national brand. We stand behind our products and if you are dissatisfied with the quality or flavor of a Stop & Shop product, we will gladly give you a refund."

      3 Replies
      1. re: alkapal
        m
        moh Apr 26, 2008 05:50 AM

        "Products are rated on taste, texture and appearance, and are always compared to the leading national brand."

        How about rating taste texture and appearance compared to actual Parmesan cheese? :)

        But seriously Alkapal, thank you for posting this information! I'm always surprised to see how many different pies some of these companies have their fingers. In some ways it seems we have so much choice, but choice seems to be artificial in this instance and in others.

        1. re: moh
          o
          Orchid64 Apr 26, 2008 06:41 AM

          Not everyone has access to the real thing, enough money to buy the real thing, or an appetite for buying even a small quantity sufficient to justify the expense of a block to grate. I live in the land of process cheese (Japan) and real Parmesan is not available except at gold prices and far, far away from where I live. For a sprinkle here or there (usually in a pasta dish which has other ingredients), it's just not worth it.

          1. re: Orchid64
            m
            moh Apr 26, 2008 07:00 AM

            I sympathize about the availability of real parmesan in Japan. I admit, although I am of Asian background and love Asian cuisine, I would greatly miss all the wonderful cheese I can buy in Quebec. But think about all the great Japanese products and food you have available! I live in a land of packaged ramen after all. Every place has pros and cons.

            I still think it is not unreasonable to compare the processed product to the original cheese, not to another processed cheese. The whole point is to resemble the actual food item so that people who can't access the original food item can still enjoy the original qualities as much as possible.

      2. alkapal Apr 26, 2008 05:43 AM

        this 2000 press release from hhs regarding a canned soup recall shows a canadian company ( Les Produits Freddy Inc. (St-Hyacinthe, Quebec) made Stop and Shop and Wegman's soups, along with the brands "Tasty Classics" and "Baron".

        http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/ne...

        who knows who makes their soups in 2008?

        2 Replies
        1. re: alkapal
          d
          dolores Apr 26, 2008 07:20 AM

          Now that makes sense, alkapal, it probably varies by whichever company wins the contract.

          I am usually surprised by how decent S&S brand foods are. They're not 'great', but they're oftentimes good. As are Kirkland brand foods sold by Costco.

          I wouldn't be surprised if there were one company behind the curtain, making all the foods for all the brands.

          Polly-O is gone, I can't get over that. I still have their original booklet with a message from Don Pollio.

          1. re: dolores
            alkapal Apr 26, 2008 07:41 AM

            doesn't it taste the same as before kraft acquired it? i checked the sec for kraft's filings, but couldn't find that acquisition date info close at hand....

            kirkland, i don't have membership at costco, so don't shop there often, but the kirkland brand items i have purchased have been quite good quality. their kirkland bottled water is just as good as any "name" brand of bottled still water. their olive oil is good. their coffee, hearts of palm, etc.

        2. beelzebozo Apr 26, 2008 07:47 AM

          things like this are always interesting, and often eye-opening. there are lots of products that i don't bother buying name brands and will totally reach for the "brand x" version--ballpark mustard, for example.

          i'm something of a breakfast cereal enthusiast, and that's one area where the generics just won't do. regardless of how much "honey puffs" look like smacks, the flavor and integrity of the puffs is just totally different. i don't skimp on breakfast cereal.

          3 Replies
          1. re: beelzebozo
            alkapal Apr 26, 2008 08:00 AM

            wal-mart's "sam's club" southwestern mustard in the squeeze bottle is only a dollar and it is quite good -- with a kick, too.

            1. re: beelzebozo
              johnb Apr 27, 2008 03:28 PM

              Interesting that you say that, because I have found that, to me anyway, store brand cereals are just about always equal or superior to the national brands. In the old days Ralston Purina was a big maker of store brand cereal, and I concluded that they just did a better job. Now I never ate Smacks, so maybe that is an exception......? What little I eat is mostly corn flakes and oat circles, so take it FWIW.

              1. re: johnb
                beelzebozo Apr 27, 2008 04:08 PM

                i'm specifically thinking of generic smacks, captain crunch, honey nut cheerios, and so on. i think the bare-bones basics (corn flakes and oat circles, as you say) are pretty hard to mess up, and the generics are just fine and dandy. kroger used to sell a store brand coco puffs knock-off with a monkey astronaut as its mascot that was great. generally speaking i don't think they hold up though--particularly the ones that are boxless, in giant plastic bags. ick.

            2. FoodFuser Apr 26, 2008 05:21 PM

              Thanks, alkapal. Just one more reason to always give the House Brand at least one open minded try, calibrating the quality you taste against the extra cost of their brand name advertising.

              I will add that mayonnaise seems to be a regular exception to this rule. Perhaps for the reason that a single standalone product requires perfect replication of the model.

              2 Replies
              1. re: FoodFuser
                rworange Apr 26, 2008 05:57 PM

                I'm guessing if by 'Mayo" you mean Hellman's / Best Food. Actually a local supermarket, Raley's / Nob Hill has mayo thiat is just as good ... though not much of a price difference.

                I like Kroeger canned / boxed food a lot. I have to yet try one that hasn't been as good as the 'name' brands.

                Trader Joe's as has been mentioned ad infinitum, often uses known brands and slap their name one the item.

                The Wal-Mart stuff actually isn't too bad as mentioned by someone else. I like the two-buck Wal-Mart wine better than two-buck Chuck.

                1. re: FoodFuser
                  DiveFan Apr 27, 2008 01:28 AM

                  I agree with rworange. I used to like Best Foods/Hellmans, but the last two jars I got tasted 'off'. My standby, Trader Joes regular, skyrocketed in price this year along with most of their products.
                  I've had two jars of Valu Plus (local discount market) mayo that tastes every bit as good as BF - that surprised me. $1.99 vs $3.50, you betcha!
                  With mayo, I surmise that production process and storage to prevent staleness are just as important as the trade secret 'formula', as if a mayo recipe is complex :-\.

                2. johnb Apr 27, 2008 03:38 PM

                  A large proportion of store brand products out there are produced by the same manufacturers who make the national brands. I doubt the products are inferior in most cases--the stores themselves wouldn't buy it then sell it if it were---they have every incentive to please their customers, and anyway the unit cost savings would be very tiny. The manufacturers probably just stop the line and switch boxes then keep going--it would be too much trouble to do it any other way.

                  There are also companies that specialize in store brands. Here is a link from one of them:

                  http://www.ralcorp.com/thestorebrands...

                  1. BeeZee Apr 27, 2008 06:38 PM

                    My husband worked in the food business for many years, for some of the top manufacturers (General Foods, Breyers, Land O'Lakes) and as a consultant for independent companies who formulated products for other manufacturers. Very few items that are "store branded" are identical to the "name brand" product. It is not a huge difference, but there is almost always something slightly different in the recipe. That is usually what the customer (the company marketing the product) asks for. It is usually due to needing some cost savings, so they will manufacture a product using a different supplier of seasoning/flavoring, for example. Or in the case of cheese, a store brand/private label would want more water mixed in to increase yield/drop cost.

                    1. r
                      renov8r Apr 28, 2008 08:13 AM

                      I think this may be a more complete explanation:

                      http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontr...

                      Doesn't look good for those looking for a traditional style slow aged cheese...

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