Every supermarket carries its own line of cheaper products modeled on famous national brands, options that could become more appealing for consumers during a recession. Hoping to sidestep a price war, the big brands say they're pouring money into developing new products to tempt buyers. But market research finds that the retailers are starting to launch new products of their own. "I wouldn't want to be a number three, four or five brand that wasn't differentiated," said Campbell Soup CEO Douglas Conant. "That's where there's ... going to be a lot of chaos."

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