Thursday, March 01, 2007

Generic Food

All this talk about "recession" has me thinking about the early 1980s.

One of the products of that time period was "generic food." You know, you have premium-priced "name brand" products, e.g. Peter Pan Peanut Butter, and budget-priced "store brand" products, e.g. Great Value Peanut Butter. Well this was a category beneath "store brand!"

Initially, the packaging was solid black printing on a yellow background, like the can of "Beer" pictured, here. It kind of depended on which store you went to. Some had black printing on stark white labels, as shown below.

You had to pick and choose as to which items were "ok" to buy as a generic. Paper towels and spaghetti sauce stand out in my memory as being really crappy; I'd have to go with the store brands on these.

Canned vegetables, coffee, coffee filters, pasta, laundry detergent, shampoo and glass cleaner were all products I'd gleefully grab off the generic shelf.

My favorite part about the genric food craze was opening my kitchen cupboard and seeing that all the labels matched! It was so cool; kind of like living in a never-ending "Brand-X" commercial.

And, oh yes, I would buy a case of long-neck generic bottled beer ($3.99 a case, folks!) for my monthly film parties. It was nice and watery - just the way I like it!

9 Comments:

Blogger whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I remember those days. I used to hate to see my Mom come home with the white packaging with the black letters, especially when it came to cola or toilet paper.

March 02, 2007 3:57 PM  
Blogger Meander said...

yes i remember generic...i didn't know there was generic beer. hey do you remember billy beer from the carter administration?

well...just popping on over to say hello. i hope you have had a great weekend!

March 04, 2007 11:25 AM  
Blogger Dorky Dad said...

Ah, the memories. One of the scariest moments of my life was the day I ate generic corn flakes. Ugh.

March 05, 2007 12:33 AM  
Blogger Craig D said...

Never bought the cola, but I did regularly purchase the TP & corn flakes.

Funny thing: I had trouble finding any reference material on 1980s generic food. Thank goodness for eBay & beer can collectors, or I wouldn't have had these illustrations! I'm sure they all covet those six-packs of BILLY BEER.

Another food gambit from this era was "bulk food." You'd bag it and save. Started out with basic staples like oatmeal, flour, sugar, etc. It ended up being stupid crap like "penny candy" and the like.

March 05, 2007 9:36 AM  
Blogger Wizened Wizard said...

Mmmmm.... such good memories of those generic Not Dogs... I suppose that craze must have cost a lot of QC jobs... Why bother?

March 05, 2007 12:00 PM  
Blogger Craig D said...

Oh yeah, I forgot about the frankfurters! I don't think I went down that road.

I have to wonder if using the generic shampoo hastened the "balding process."

March 06, 2007 5:17 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

I've since quit smoking, but I remember the worst cigarette I ever had coming from a dark blue pack that was labeled 'CIGARETTES' in white letters at the top of the pack. There was a light blue pair of scissors below.

December 25, 2008 2:36 PM  
Blogger Aran said...

It just has to be pointed out that the movie "Repo Man" features generic food packaging throughout the movie as a running gag.

May 01, 2009 11:56 PM  
Anonymous CD said...

The generic beer was Schlitz reject. Yummy......

December 20, 2010 12:25 AM  

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