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RESEARCH NEWS: Sophisticated shoppers find it easier to cut through branding

Sophisticated shoppers may find it easier to cut through the informational clutter created by branding, according to a new study by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Knowledgeable shoppers, such as professional chefs, and even pharmacists, stock up on generic products for consumption at home in order to save money.

The new research demonstrates professional chefs are more likely to reach for the cheaper, own-brand versions of basic food supplies at the supermarket. Meanwhile, pharmacists are more likely to buy generic medication for headache relief.

For example, when chefs go shopping for their own food, they devote more than 80 per cent of their purchases to private labels, compared to 61 per cent for the average consumer. Overall, chefs are 13 per cent more likely than the typical shopper to buy the generic version. Pharmacists devote almost 90 per cent of headache remedy purchases to private labels, against 71 per cent for the average consumer.

Matthew Gentzkow, professor of economics says: “If you look at places where generics and brands are very similar, if people were informed, they wouldn’t buy brands.”