No Frills Products Of Pathmark

No Frills Products Of Pathmark

When I was a kid in the 1980s, my parents would go to the supermarket once a month on Saturday mornings. Having been a regular viewer of Saturday morning cartoons, this would upset me as I had to go with them and miss out on all those shows. The supermarket? Pathmark.

[Via] Gray Flannel Videos

While there, I would spend most of my time in the toy aisle. The toys were cheap and… limited, but it was something for me to look at. However, there was one aisle I didn’t mind going down, because of how odd it looked. From front of the aisle to the rear, all I could see were white labels on soda cans, apple sauce, pet food, etc.. This was the no frills aisle. I remember this fondly as this was the go to place to get everything we needed for vacations. The no frills soda cans were a staple in the cooler for those trips. I can’t remember how the cola tasted, but I do remember how the can looked. It was like watching a Looney Tunes cartoon, but instead of Acme products, it was no frills.

Looking for baking soda, don’t look for Arm & Hammer, get BAKING SODA. Looking for cola soda, don’t look for Pepsi, get COLA. Same goes for BEER and CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP. Something about the uniformity of this aisle made me smile. Do you remember Pathmark’s No Frills products? Did you have a similar experience?
Pathmark - Beer

Justin M. Salvato

Seeker of 1980s nostalgia, rummager of vintage computers and player of retro video games. When not writing posts of The Retroist, I'm converting Retroist audio podcasts to Retroist video podcasts. My own videos can be found at www.YouTube.com/JustinSalvato.

This Post Has 23 Comments

  1. We used to have generic sections in our local supermarkets.

  2. A related experience; for years, up here in Canuckland, we have a chain of grocery stores called No Frills, and they feature the store brand No Name products, which feature plain labels with black text over yellow colouring. No beer under the banner to the best of my knowledge, but everything from cleaning supplies to all-dressed chips to drinking straws and so on is offered.

  3. Somehow my link to the Brandless online store dropped out, but it should be findable on Google.

  4. These pictures bring back a tone of memories. My first Job (when I was 15) was at a store in CT owed by Pathmark called Heartland in that late 80s early 90s. After a couple years I was put in charge of the “no frills” section. I would order and stock that isle multiple times a week for years. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Oh, the memories! I grew up in New Jersey; we usually went to Shoprite but sometimes to Pathmark. What a great idea, I wonder why they don’t have this any more.

  6. I loved NO FRILLS. I didn’t totally get it as a kid (in NJ) but was fascinated that the brand was so bland.

  7. I’m from Levittown, PA. I remember this aisle as a kid because it seemed sinister to me, and vaguely …un-American? Just really weird. Everything is exactly what is says it is, or IS it? It confused the hell out of my young mind. What is this stuff and why is it packaged this way?!!

  8. Remember it fondly. Always wondered why Pathmark didn’t just make the no frills brand their official store brand. It was so cool.

  9. I remember when they had No Frills novels!

  10. Yep sure do remember. We would go to Pathmark in Yonkers. No Frills is nothing more than store brand these days.

  11. I remember Pathmark No Frills from the 80s in NJ and was always fascinated by the labels as a kid. The simplicity of the label really stood out. We did buy those products sometimes but stayed away from some of the items that didn’t taste quite right to us. If I remember correctly we all complained about their soda. Maybe it was flat.

  12. Oh what a great article! I was just looking online to see if anyone still sold Pathmark’s No Frills Corn Chips. They were AMAZING!…. and 40 cents a bag

  13. Your article came up when I was searching for a picture of BEER when a bunch of us at work were remembering the cheap stuff we used to drink when we were younger. I’m glad I found it and now I’m subbed to the podcast.

  14. Glad to have you aboard Cap’n.

  15. Bittersweet. Weekends with dad over the bridge (NJ) as a teen in the 80s.

    Bitter: My sister and I would cringe at approaching that aisle. At mom’s we used name brands like Kellogg’s, Kraft or Nabisco. Uh-uh with dad. “They’re all the same!”

    Sweet: Wouldn’t trade those times for anything. Fond memories.

  16. Wow, I was just talking about this the other day! My mother was the queen of the no frills products! In fact, I remember having a bad case of the flu and sore throat as a kid and the No Frills Grape Drink made me feel so much better! I miss those products!

  17. Love it, would keep a list of what was good and not and always bought the soy protein isolate to stretch my ground beef.

  18. I remember No Frills, it became the butt of every joke and synonymous with being cheap. This evolved into store branded products.

  19. Yes! I absolutely remember those labels from my childhood. I’ve talked to many others who didn’t and I knew they shopped at the same place, and I had started to think I imagined it all! I’m glad to know I’m not totally crazy! Just halfway there.

  20. I grew up in the Bronx in the 1980s… and remember PathMark as the store we went to for grocery shopping. I also remember School House Rock on ABC, White Castle cheeseburgers on Saturdays, riding the #41 bus on White Plains Rd for 90 cents, block parties, WHT and HBO as premium channels, 98.7 KISS FM, 107.5 WBLS, Caldors, the famous Christmas toy catalog from Sears Roebuck… Memories….

  21. There was generic store brand PathMark products which was OK – and then there was No Frills, so generic that PathMark couldn’t even bare to put its name on the label it was that embarrassing. You know when you were shopping the No Frills aisle, you were definitely on the lower end of the socio-economic scale. It’s not like most supermarkets today where the store brand product sits proudly next to it’s big name equivalent. Nope – it was all kept in its own aisle of shame. I don’t say this in jest because that’s what my family ate when we were kids growing up in the struggle paying for our No Frills sustenance for with food stamps!!

  22. I remember going to The No Frills isle in Pathmark located on Bruckner Blvd in The South Bronx, NY, I was about 12 years old, around 1972. Moms use to tell all 5 of us kids…’don’t ask me for SH*T, when we get in the store, we didn’t. But when we got to the No Frills section.. She gave all of us $2.50 to spend on what we wanted in that isle. If you never been in a Pathmark…their isle are LOOOOOOOONG. She would tell us to hurry up because her ice cream was melting.

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