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The New York Times this morning reports on how major manufacturers – including Kraft, Nestle and Reckitt Benckiser – are working overtime to make “persuasive arguments” to shoppers about why they should buy their products, ranging from cookies to deli meats to condiments…an argument that remains a tough one during recessionary times.

On the one hand, manufacturers have the advantage of knowing that shoppers are eating home more and eating out less; however, these same shoppers seem more open than ever to the idea of retailer labels that are less expensive that their national brand counterparts. And so, manufacturers and their marketing agencies have to craft messages that impart the core message of “value,” but do so in a way that does not diminish brand equity in the long term. They are banking, in the words of one marketer, that “value is not just cost; it’s also taste, nutrition and quality.”

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