White brands: heroes or villains?

White brands: heroes or villains?

IE Focus | By Carmen Abril, Professor at IE Business School

Things are not often black or white, but rather tend to come in varying shades of gray. The world of white brands is no exception. They are no better or worse than other products, but they are certainly competitive.We are currently witnessing a controversial debate on white brands in Spain owing to the rapid growth they have enjoyed in recent months, where they have reached 38% of the sales of packaged large-consumption products.

As a result of this situation, which, on the other hand, is nothing new, many manufacturers, such as Danone, Nabisco and Kellogg´s, among others, have launched a massive advertising campaign to clarify certain concepts that consumers supposedly confuse regarding the manufacture of white brands in the hope that the message hampers their growth.

The importance of the issue and the controversy it has caused is worth taking a look at. First of all, we should start by giving this type of brand its correct name: if, by white brands, we understand undistinguished products based purely on their composition and ingredients and directly comparable with others, such as generic drugs, the name given to these products is incorrect.