How does Kroger (and other large grocery chains) make all of its generic brand food?


Kroger has a generic branded version of pretty much everything in their store. How do they make all of it? There are different recipes, molds, and entirely different production processes for most of this stuff. Do they buy each product off of someone else and put on their own packaging, or do they really make it all themselves? (And if so, where are all these factories?)

In: 552

Many of Kroger brands are made in the same factory as the other more expensive brands. The cheaper price comes from a combination of buying direct form the manufacturer and not as high quality ingredients or parts.
Also a lot of time you are paying a premium for the well known that has nothing to do with the quality of the product.
Edited for spelling.

They contract it out to other makers (often those that make for name brands) and have their labels put on it.

For example, Costco’s Kirkland brand whiskey is made by the Tennessee Distilling Group, who also makes Thunder Road Corn Whiskey, Mitchum’s Thunder Road Premium American Corn Whiskey, Butcher’s Bourbon, and Thunder Road Bourbon.

They buy so much at a time that they get a huge discount, then sell it under their own label.

There are companies called contract manufacturers, who produce whatever product for other companies… these exist for all foods — frozen foods, canning plants, bakeries, etc. These factories might even make products for name brands, or may be name brands’ factories using excess capacity.

Kroger has a development kitchen where they develop a recipe, say for Marinara Sauce. They go to a factory that makes pasta sauces and give them the recipe, cost specs (ingredients must cost no more than 50 cents/jar), specs for jar sizes, etc. The factory then orders the ingredients and makes the sauce to Kroger’s specs, jars it in the two size options Kroger wants, and labels it with Kroger’s labels (for which they provided a design the factories printers print). The next week, the same factory might be churning out pasta sauce for Trader Joe’s with TJ’s recipe, and the week after that they might even be making a new variety of Ragu they want to try out regionally before launching nationwide.

Some products Kroger may develop in-house, other times the contract factories might have an already developed recipe the chain likes enough to use, or maybe they ask for a slight tweak to it. Or they might work with the chain to develop the recipe unique to them.

Just because products are made in the same factory doesn’t mean it’s the same product — a bakery making cookies can very easily make different recipes with the same mixers, ovens, packaging equipment, etc.

Lots of products for even top name brands are processed by contracted kitchens.

In the 70s and 80s recession there were a lot ‘generic’ brands (made fun of in the movie Repo Man where they buy cans of “DRINK” Generic cigarettes were often the repackaged name brand that were returned for being long past their sell date.

Costco house brands are usually brand names under their own label.

Lots of house labels are sold to the store that way. There are a couple veggie marts in town, they each have their own house labeled spices but packaged by the same company.

It is more likely the maker put Kroger labels on their deliveries and another store’s labels on stuff in a different region.

When I was a kid my dad loved to take us on factory tours, Just called them up and asked if we could come by for a visit. Coke bottling plant, etc…. one place made mayonaise, they made it for a dozen brands, according to their recipe/ingredient ratios etc. I remember that one because the lady let me try the labeling machine and I instantly wrapped some 50 lables around one jar. they let us take that one home. But they had 3 major brands and a dozen others all out of the same vats.