99 Percent Invisible just did a great episode looking at the birth of phenomenon No Name Brand(R)* products, and the evolution of sorts towards the birth of the President’s Choice brand and, even more amazing, its eventual spread to create ‘gourmet’ store brand labels throughout North America (and likely beyond). A whole branch of the modern supermarket landscape started right near my hometown of Toronto.
And that latter part is what made it all the more amazing to me; while I certainly knew about both No Name Brand and PC products**, I had no idea that it was the instigator for the myriad of high-profile store brands that proliferate today. A cool and fascinating little piece of design and shopping history.
Give the episode a listen here***, and I heartily recommend checking out their other episodes! They’re all great, full of design (including plenty of architecture) and curiosities and sociological reflections and history and more. 99PI is a go-to listen for me every week.
* Yes, No Name Brand is indeed trademarked… something that has brought me no end of amusement over the years!
** Before I moved out of the country I’d say at least half of my shopping every week was President’s Choice products…
*** You can also read the webpage, but the podcast is the much better and more in-depth format!