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Consumer Alert! - Beware Of Strange Discount Products
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This line of goods is often called FMV [For Maximum Value] and has largely been replaced by 2008 with the newer brand known as Family Value [FV].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
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
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 Package – Oddly 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.
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.
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.
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"
Ack! - Same Colors - Really FMV?
Strange Items on Amazon
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.