Bringing Loyalty Home


Post by community member:

A month or so ago I read an article on the Smithsonian web site about our eating habits in the United States. That article talked about the way advertising affects our eating habits and how they try to instill brand recognition and brand loyalty on everyone so they reach for the “right” brand time after time. What bothered me the most, I think, is that, according to this article and some of the other things I’ve read since, is that one of their biggest goals is to instill this brand recognition even (or maybe especially) in toddlers so they can keep people loyal to a certain label for life!

It reminded me of how a very good friend who home-canned her fantastic tomatoes and made all kinds of great things for her family from scratch. Her then grade school daughter insisted that the best ketchup and the only one she’d eat was a certain brand name product. I’m not sure if she ever did figure out that her mother was refilling that same bottle with her homemade ketchup over and over! I imagine she had to purchase a new bottle occasionally since the label surely got destroyed over time.

When we were kids, there were always some kind of fresh fruit in the house, and usually chopped up veggies in the fridge, too, and we never ever had to ask permission to eat any of that no matter how close it was to mealtime. We did have to ask if we wanted anything else, though. And I was in high school before I figured out that according to the directions on the Kool-Aid package, it was supposed to be made with a full cup of sugar, not ½ cup like we always used at home. Suzanne has her homemade pop-tart pastries, and it’s hard to beat homemade cookies with wholesome ingredients and no chemicals that we can’t pronounce in the ingredient list.

I don’t stick to certain brands on many things, but I do have a few preferences. I hope I stick to a brand because it offers a real quality difference in cleaning, baking or cooking results, not just because of a fancy label printed with some color a marketing study says is ‘best’ for the product recognition factor. From now on I’m going to be extra thoughtful when I’m shopping for groceries.

You can also find BuckeyeGirl at Backyard Chickens.

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  1. grandmatotwochicks says:

    Great post BuckeyeGirl, I have been lucky with my kids, they like our homemade food, we always had fresh veggies and fruits, not much packaged foods, it is sad today, some people think mashed potatoes come from a box! I am sure glad that my kids love real home cooked food. It is so important for kids to know where real food comes from, not out of a box, or frozen, or driving through a fast food joint! my daughter started making her own bread and is very excited, she has become a very good cook.

  2. CindyP says:

    We were taught to appreciate ANY food in front of us…but many others weren’t, like my ex and now my SO. With the ex, I filled Hunt’s ketchup bottles, Miracle Whip jars, and (I can’t remember the name brand now) mustard jars. Now I fill Hellman jars with homemade mayo!! LOL!!! That’s the only thing he’s declared has to be, but I’ve outdone him and he continues to eat his “Hellman’s”!

    And I have found, the more I learn to make from scratch, the more he is finding he likes. Many “I don’t like”s were based on one thing he had when he was little that he didn’t like.

    Homemade is just sooo much better! The big companies had to get the recipe from somewhere!!!! But they just had to market it so the housewives would buy it!

    Great post, Deb…that took me on a tangent! LOL!

  3. Pete says:

    A lot of that “grass is always greener” going on during my childhood, too. It never mattered much to me, but my Mom was among those who seemed to think that store bought was better – simply as a sign that you didn’t have to make do with whatever was on hand. (Frequently found among those who lived through the depression.)

    Now a lot of it is just laziness, or ignorance. Ah, well. Good, wholesome food can be a joy, and we are plenty joyful these days!

    Thanks, BG, for another thought provoking post!

  4. Patrice says:

    Great post! My mom was totally into store bought. I was a brand name kid. TV always told me what I wanted and “needed”. Now as a mom, I know my kids have very little of that. Almost everything is made fresh in our house. Three of the six in our family have some sort of food allergy. It has truly been a healthy blessing to us since it keeps us away from convenience foods and packaged things. My daughter, with the worst food allergies, has commented on how lucky she is to have allergies, since she eats so much healthier than her peers!

  5. NorthCountryGirl says:

    Mom canned and froze most of our food. Never really had the “Brand Name” worry. I used to can but not anymore. i still freeze and dehydrate many things. But, never was into brand names much. Today, cost is a real consideration and with retirement looming, I’ve scaled the “splurging” way back. Besides, I got into natural foods way back in the 60’s when “natural” wasn’t cool. Before food additives and colors were frowned upon. So my food was pretty much up to me to process and preserve then. It became a way of life till I gave up my canning jars when we moved. Even so, I still prefer natural and homemade to processed when I can get it or make it.

  6. rileysmom says:

    Excellent post! I grew up with Mom making anything at home instead of store-bought. We didn’t have space for a huge garden and we kids ate most of our vegies raw, so there wasn’t much to put up. As I ventured out on my own, I learned that it was cost-effective to make your own and that everything did taste so much better. My mom told me so, but as a teen….you know!

  7. Gehl says:

    Well, I am that good friend. And yes my daughter did not realize what I was doing and neither did my step children later. But, my daughter, now 21 and in college and pretty much living on her own, has learned some of the pleasures of “cooking from scratch”. She has become quite the baker, mostly of pies. She claims she has a no fail pie crust. I, as her Mom am sceptical. She also likes alfredo sauce and has discovered that she can make it better from scratch than any restaurant or jar. So, I am ever hopeful and so impressed with her ever evolving skills and life. A reminder to me that you never stop learning!

  8. Jennifer Robin says:

    I’m so glad to read that I’m not the only one who makes most of her own “brand name” favorites from scratch! I too grew up with a lot of brand loyalties; it was the era when processed/ convenience foods became so popular because they were cheap and we were bamboozled into thinking they were actually good for us. Thankfully, my granddaughter thinks that Nana cooks and bakes better than anyone else, including popular junk food producers, and prefers to eat homemade!

  9. Ulrike says:

    As a child, my dad was a small town boy who frequently spent weekends on the family farm. He absolutely refused to drink fresh cow milk, so his mom brought an empty milk bottle from town and filled that up. I don’t know how old he was when they finally let him in on the secret, but he laughs when he tells the story now.

  10. Cathy Jones (catray44) says:

    How did I miss this? Great post and encouragement to keep doing what we are doing!

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