President’s Choice has been considered the Canadian grocery industry’s most successful in-house brand.
President’s Choice debuted in 1984 with the distinctive cursive logo which was Nichol’s handwriting.
Nichol, a native of Chatham, who eventually headed the Loblaw chain - which includes in these parts Zehrs Markets, Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills - personally marketed the company’s products with his Insider’s Report, a flyer that took a fun and slightly irreverent approach to describing new and innovative products.
Loblaw also has other successful product lines in which Nichol had a major hand developing such as “no name.”
What made The Decadent such a top-selling cookie?
“In a sample conducted in 1988, this delight had approximately more than double the chocolate chips by weight compared to the leading national brand of chocolate chip cookie at the time,” the company says in a flyer.
“We knew we had found our cookie when our experts couldn’t get enough and exclaimed “they’re beyond good, they’re totally DECADENT!!,” Paul Uys, vice president of Loblaw Brands said.
Consumer demand resulted in 3.6 million cookies being baked daily.
John Torella, a retail analyst with J.C. Williams Group, said the cookie has remained a top seller because shoppers recognize quality when they see – or taste – it.
“It’s in the value, the price is similar to other chocolate chip cookies but the quality is better and the ‘better’ is a reflection of taste and consistency and packaging and all of those things,” he said.
Torella called it “one of the best” of the PC product line.
Torella said not all PC products have reached a similar lofty plateau.
“I wouldn’t say all (PC products) are in that same stature, some are more of a value or price proposition,” he said.
But I think the chocolate chip and Dave Nichols’s development of that, that was a passion that he had for it and his goal was just to make it the best.”