It is a terrible thing to undermine our ability to choose - whether it be clothes, political views or groceries.
Hence, the big two supermarket chains of Australia are performing a profound disservice to the people with their campaign to swamp their shelves with own-brand.
Already it has become hard to find Australian-produced canola oil. The globals are in ascent and with them, more and more foods and cosmetics prepared in China. In itself, this is scary, given China's history of contamination and corruption. I was very impressed with Woolworths when it led the way in trying to remove trans fats from its stores, starting with its home brand but, its marketing man in Singapore once told me, setting an example to all food manufacturers.
That fine stance looks a bit wobbly a decade later. I see China-produced confections for children clearly labelled as containing partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil. Lovely, tempting, delicious treats for Australian children - loaded with potentially damaging trans fats.
My respect for and loyalty towards Woolies now wavers. It has removed Evian water from its stock - never bothering to so much as answer my letter on the subject.
The water choices diminish - like all the stock choices.
Coles aisles, similarly, are less stimulating to peruse. The big excitement is seeing how many more varieties are turning up under their own label. There are knock-offs of everything. Just look at the growing range of own-brand flavoured tunas - which are the chic snack de jour - sitting there competing with the brands who may have brought such ideas onto the market in the first place but can't market it as cheaply. Long-term prognosis would have the cheaper brand killing off the original more expensive brand - and the choices declining.
America manages to run supermarkets where the choices are utterly daunting in their scale.
The first time I walked into an American supermarket the impression was definitely "super" everything. Even in small town outposts of New Hampshire or North Georgia, the supermarkets are consumer paradises of choice, variety and invention.
I found it in a rather dowdy old semi-industrial backstreet of Stamford, Connecticut.
Stamford, with its slogan "The city that works!", is not a huge city. With about 123,000 in population, it is only 8th largest in New England. It is an important rail hub servicing New York.
Fairway is a regional supermarket chain - there are other stores around New York. It's slogan is "Like No Other Market". How true.
One can design and have gourmet salads made to eat on the spot or take home for dinner. The supermarket has a cafe - in which I had what may have been the best clam chowder in the USA. Move over Legal Seafoods. The store describes its nearly 85,000 wonderful square feet of pure gastronomic joy as "an amusement park of food".
This is not to say that Woolies and Coles don't have fabulous, well-informed and helpful staff. The staff is one of the very best things about them.
But we Australian shoppers are being short-changed by their corporate policies and we need to stand up - or at least, walk away to Foodland and IGA.
They don't have the scale of Fairway but they give small companies a fair exposure to the consumer. They enable access to our gourmet producers, specialist products both local and imported.
They also listen to their customers and will endeavour to stock things which are requested.
We can't do things on the scale of the American model. But we can look at what the American model offers. And it is all about choice.