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Consumer Alert! - Beware Of Strange Discount Products

Updated on November 27, 2012
Consumers will often buy products packed in red and yellow.
Consumers will often buy products packed in red and yellow. | Source

Grocery Store Chains and Rising Prices

Kroger grocery stores and some other grocery chains carry a line of less expensive foods and home products under one of several "off brand" labels.

This line of goods is often called FMV [For Maximum Value] and has largely been replaced by 2008 with the newer brand known as Family Value [FV].

FV products are enclosed in wrappers that feature red and yellow print logos or the latest variety one uses the colors of red, yellow. and blue - like the red, yellow & blue balloons kids are taught by TV commercials to look for on Wonder Bread.

The FV red and yellow labels use a color scheme that in marketing research is proven to attract the consumer eye more than any other combination of colors. However, the result of bring pulled in by this color scheme but experiencing an inferior grade of product behind the label is in a one-time-only sale without repeat business. In fact, some customers leave the grocery chain altogether and shop elsewhere when this occurs.

Not all of the FV products are inferior, but a few have provided enough problems to warrent customer complaints and refunds. The following list of products from the FMV/FV line are not only bad, but also could be declared hazardous materials.

Friends and I have experimented with these items for one year and have found several problems -- We want to save you the trouble with this review.

Note: If you see any labels that say COST CUTTER, they date back several years from 1981 to the 1990s and are surely expired.

Not Very Good - Except in Certain Recipes

Makes very small muffins.
Makes very small muffins.

Corn Muffin Mix

It is a delight that the packaging for this product is bilingual in Spanish and English, but the product is not at all very good. It results in an undersized muffin with less taste than Jiffy brand corn muffins and significantly less flavor than your own home made delights.

This corn muffin mix is not bad, however, when made thicker than usual and used to coat CORN DOGS. Put a little cumin and hot pepper into the mix and it is not bad at all for this application.

Good - Very Good - Even Excellent

One of the good ones.
One of the good ones.

Macaroni and Cheese

Some consumers write on Internet brand discussion boards that they like this product very much and compare it favorably with the store brand and with Kraft brands.

I occasionally use this product after preparation, by adding cilantro, a can of mushrooms, a can of spicy tomatoes, and a can of tuna. Then I sprinkle grated cheese on top and melt it in the microwave or under the broiler.

It's pretty good - not like made-from-scratch macaroni and cheese, but good in a pinch.

A Rogue's Gallery and Museum of Inedibles

FV Roll Sausage – Looks like Scrapple® pig parts stuck together with glue and cooks down to about ½ the original size of the roll. Has very little flavor and a grainy texture.

Keep it frozen and use it for picnic cooler ice blocks or a handy self defense brick to throw at burglars that may try to break into your kitchen to get your dandy new Chef’s Knives during the Holidays.

I found 1/3 of an open roll of this sausage in a refrigerator drawer a month after I forgot about it in there and it had not deteriorated at all and do not think that that is a plus in this case.

FV Evaporated Milk – This is little more than a mixture of the cheapest vegetable oil and colored water. I cannot think of any use for it.

FV Bread – Horrible – dry, not very tasty, and not heavy for its size. Sir bread - toy bread - - Might make good bread crumbs, if seasoned.

FV Powered Coffee “Creamer” – Looks like laundry detergent, tastes like chalk dust and does not dissolve in any liquid that is either hot or cold. I suggest using it for sawdust to soak up oil spills in the driveway.

FV Dish Soap – Very watery, short-lasting, and does not clean very well. Useless even as a temporary shampoo when you have run out of your favorite brand. Pease do not bathe your dog with it, either. It also is not good for floor mopping.

FV Cheese Slices, 12 Oz PackageOddly inconsistent. Sometimes a whole package will not contain any slices that will melt in a grilled cheese sandwich. Use them for making Flash Cards for the kids. Other packages of these cheese slices will be fine, but you won’t know until you open them. You can receive a full refund by returning them to the store. The manufacturer admits that this cheese product is made with water and soybean oil - siometimes too much water and I think it evaporates to leave yellow pasteboard.

FVB Cigarettes – This is a different but similar brand, and you’ve got to be kidding! Produced by Phillip Morris Incorporated. probably gets people into the stores that cannot afford other cigarettes.

FV Toilet Paper - Far fewer sheets per loosely-rolled roll than even the store brand, thinn and flimsy, and not very absorbent. Pretty useless.

There have also been complaints about cats and dogs refusing to eat the FV brand pet foods.

Acceptable FV Brand Products

These items have been perfectly fine for the most part:

FV Frozen Corn, Peas, and Peas & Carrots; Ice Cream; Macaroni & Cheese, canned fruit; breakfast cereal; condiments, flour, sugar, and vanilla extract.  We could not find any FV brand Gravy, so you would need to use FV Flour to make it.

However, there have been isolated reports of glass found in the corn. Another shopper opened a large can of the pears and found nothing but water and ONE small piece of pear in the bottom of the can. Definitely a problem with consistency, but some of the products are good quality and cheaper than even the store brand – or banner brand, as this is called.  

Any type of brand similar to this one across the US is known as a loss leader that does not make the company any money directly, but which draws customers into the stores, where they purchase additional higher-priced items.

Chains That Offer the FV Label

You can purchase the GOOD FV brand products at Kroger and possibly at other chain groceries and convenience stores affiliated with Kroger. These are  Ralphs, King Soopers, City Market, Dillons, Smiths, fry’s (sic), QFC [not QVC], Baker’s, Owen’s, JayC, Highlander, Gerbess, Payless, Scott’s, Foods4Less, Foods Co., Fred Myer, TurkeyHill, KwikShop, LoafNJug (really?), QuikStop, and Tom Thumb. 

Hmmm...FMV Laptop

Looks suspiciously like FMV Brand pears of the empty-can type.
Looks suspiciously like FMV Brand pears of the empty-can type.

FMV and FV Confusion

The FMV Laptop line is likely a serviceable groupof products, but the color scheme of certain ads could be off puitting to consumers that have been burned by FMV or FV food and home products. 

Organizational FMV

This is surely a color scheme and brand name coincidence.

In Sweden, FMC is an organization that specializes in Verification, Validation and Accreditation (VV&A) of models and simulation results related to the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) and the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration (FMV). At first glance, you might think "Hmm - government FMV product" but this illustrates the effect of the FMV/FV product labeling color scheme in the opposite of what is the well known "halo effect." One only hopes that America is not labeled as an FV nation.

B.T. Evilpants

Testimony before the US Senate: "I know nothing of this product; neither do I know anyone that does."
Testimony before the US Senate: "I know nothing of this product; neither do I know anyone that does."

FMV Moose Hats

I must say that I was astonished when I ran across this one on Internet buying sites. It includes similar colors and pricing to FMV/FV home and grocery products and advertising.

Further, it looks supisciously like a jackalope production. perhaps there is a side business involved - the FMV sideline for a larger catalogue of goods.

The "FMV Moose Visor"

Evidently this is a B.T. Evilpants loss leader.
Evidently this is a B.T. Evilpants loss leader.

Ack! - Same Colors - Really FMV?

Look for the Red, Yellow, and Blue Balloons.
Look for the Red, Yellow, and Blue Balloons.

Advertising Schemes

We end this treatise where we began - with the red, yellow, and blue balloons of Wonder Bread.

What with the confusion of the color schemes borrowed for less expensive brands, the reverse halo effect, and the expense of Wonder Bread in the 21st century, one might hesitate now to purchase it as well as FV brands. Around $2.89 a loaf here.

Gasoline is now cheaper than bread in these parts for the first time in a couple of years (fall, 2008). We can now drive and lose weight without the bread, at least until after the elections in November.



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    • PaperNotes profile image


      7 years ago

      Hmm, I think I saw cans of milk with these brands before in the grocery store. They really cost cheap that it is tempting to buy them. We get what we pay for, as the cliche goes.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Hmmm, that sounds like code for something.

    • diggersstory profile image


      10 years ago from #1 Tourist Trap O Town USA

      Interesting and an odd hub page. But Jackalopes don't look so dangerous on the cat... even in the woods.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Let's see - I believe that a "comsumer" is one that has purchased a bad FV food item and thus suffered neurological damage from its use, which affects language out-processing of the keyboarding kind. In some cases, one's antler's begin to go adrift while driving the big rig up on the Canadian Ice Road :) I suppose I'll have to take three more vitamins and change the erring word...

      My last safari to Canada was of the informational variety - and we caught quite a lot of it, all useful. No one ever introduced me to butter tarts, though.

      Jackalopes all look alike, do they? We'll get letters about that one...

    • Shirley Anderson profile image

      Shirley Anderson 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      By the way Patty, what's a comsumer?

    • Shirley Anderson profile image

      Shirley Anderson 

      10 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      We don't have these stores or FMV products in Canada, and I'm glad! I don't like the sound of them one bit.

      Yes, our gas is sold by the litre since we went metric, and YES IT'S EXPENSIVE!

      Safari, Patty? As in African Lion Safari?

      Isn't it amazing how much B.T. and his brother look alike? Are they twins?

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Capitalism has gone mad and abusive! Customer service has certainly taken a turn for the worse, hasn't it?

    • MrMarmalade profile image


      10 years ago from Sydney

      Here is some article arisen over the weekend Mum Dad and three sons went to one of our very fashionable beach hotels in Sydney and complained about, maybe a triviality. They were abused a little. Things got heated and the family were sent a big bowl of gelato for free as conciliation.

      This had properties of human excreta in the bowl, faeces laced gelato. Now we have vast headlines and talk of suing for $1,000,000.00

      Wonders will never cease

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      MrMarmalade - I am sad for all those sick children; and also the price gouging in Australia. I am beside myself with disgust with these "fake" products that actually hurt their consumers. In the States, we'd thought that was done away with under the rise of the labor unions and regulations, but no such good fortune. Building materals in milk - how dastardly; and here also, some mechanics put french fries into auto transmissions to tighten them up, charge a thouseand USD for "repairs" and the comsumer ends up stranded or worse, in an accident. I an nearly speechless at the busuiness world.

      Always good of you to visit and give us this type of information. I want to be informed and alert others.

    • Benson Yeung profile image

      Benson Yeung 

      10 years ago from Hong Kong

      that's entertainment.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      The Old Firm - That's right, it's per litre and expensive there, is it not? I recall the same in Canada a couple years ago while on safari.

      How could I not recognize Teena Tesla?! I will delight in seeing all the information from her fil3s after the election, because we will use it to stage a film greater than High School Musical 427, The Non-Graduate Years.

      The myelin sheath around my nerve endings is tatter'd from work, alas, and I am taking B vitamins to reconcile my peripheral CNS as we speak/write. That should increase my brain fitness in future, one hopes, or not. Too early or too late, as always in a sideways spiral Flatland sort of way.

      Delighted to hear from you, of course! _ One hopes the eels are not too much bother there, pogo-ing up and down and time traveling and all...

    • MrMarmalade profile image


      10 years ago from Sydney

      Well I would never  have believed this trail of cheap products.

      Still we have this rather somber case arising from China of all places.

      China was buying cheap milk from our other state overseas. The company selling the same product to the Chinese were putting building material in to the milk to give it body and strength.

      All it did was make young children very sick. Now we have had a vast recall of some of Cadburys' cheap sweets, not chocolates, as they have the same mixture bought and made in China.


      Lots of sick children and lots of recalls from the grocery stores.

      Obviously big business think we are all idiots in Australia.

      Now we find our Dollar going backwards and oil by the barrel coming down and the Oil Companies are fleecing the Australian motorists by 20 cents per litre.

      Not bad profit margin for Shell and Caltex.

      I suppose it boils down to Who can you trust?

      great Hub

    • The Old Firm profile image

      The Old Firm 

      10 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

      Surely you recognised the model with the fake antlers as Teena Tesla the elective eel! After all she was in one of your' hubs - The Return of Starship LaBelle Coiffure

      Maxi and Tinkerbelle the bear have had her planted in B.T.'s campaign HQ to collect dirt, er, relevant electoral information, on him. How do you think I got those shots of his crazed deli holdup the other week?

      By the way, petrol is now cheaper than a decent loaf of bread down this way too, but per litre, not per gallon!

    • Carlosweb profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      Great Hub.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      And here we thought the takover of FVAmerica was given up due to long work hours by the interesting antlered entity. How droll and adroit all at once. Bravo! Bravissismo! Bravivissisimo! Bravivissivississippi!

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 

      10 years ago from New Brunswick

      so there is a jackalope behind all this, interesting.

    • B.T. Evilpants profile image

      B.T. Evilpants 

      10 years ago from Hell, MI

      I'm glad to see that my brother did not sell me out, when he was brought before the senate. I can give you my personal guarantee that I know nothing about these moose related products. I can also guarantee that if I did produce them, they would NOT contain any type of miniature electronic hypno-mind-control devices. Furthermore, these non-existent devices would not be cleverly concealed in the antler tips, nor would they be motion activated.


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