The research, conducted by Chicago Booths Jean-Pierre Dub, Sigmund E Edelstone Professor of Marketing; Matthew Gentzkow, Richard O Ryan Professor of Economics and Neubauer Family Faculty Fellow; and Economics Professor Jesse M Shapiro, demonstrates that professional chefs are more likely to reach for the cheaper, no-name versions of such pantry staples at the grocery store. The study hypothesised that sophisticated shoppers may find it easier to cut through the informational clutter created by branding. They found that when chefs buy pantry staples, they devote more than 80% of their purchases to private labels, compared to 61% for the average consumer.
Overall, chefs are 13 percentage points more likely than the typical shopper to buy the generic version. If everyone in the US shopped like a chef, the researchers estimate, spending on name-brand pantry staples would fall 24%, saving consumers $20 million per year on pantry staples and $340 million on other food and drink categories in the study.