If you take a pass on generic brands at the supermarket in favour of brand name foods, Consumer Reports’ comparison test might interest you. Turns out there’s often very little difference between the two in taste or quality.
Photo by The Consumerist.
Consumer Reports ran a blind taste-test on several types of generic and brand name foods and discovered, perhaps unsurprisingly to many, there’s typically a marginal difference between them. In fact, in some cases, the store brand was better than the name brand.
For instance, Kirkland’s salsa rated better with food tasters than Old El Paso’s similar chip dip, and Walmart’s au gratin potatoes won out over Betty Crocker’s spuds. It’s not always a total win, of course. Comparisons between brownie mixes and frozen lasagnas resulted in a tie, while Publix generic-brand barbecue sauce tanked next to the much-preferred K.C. Masterpiece name brand. (While those brands aren’t available in Australia, of course, the principle is still worth noting.)
The taste-test results are great news for those of us trying to squeeze value out of every dollar, since buying generic can really save you some cash at the grocery store.
[T] he store-brand foods we tested cost an average of 27 percent less than big-name counterparts — about what you’d find across all product categories, industry experts told us. The biggest difference: 35 cents per ounce for Costco’s vanilla vs. $US3.34 for McCormick’s. (Prices are the averages we found across the country.) Price gaps have less to do with what goes into the package than with the research, development, and marketing costs that help build a household name.
If you’re new to supermarket brands, start off with simple items like condiments or canned vegetables and see what you think. If you like them, then give boxed meals and prepackaged dinners a try next. What generic products do you use regularly (ketchup? rice?) — and what name brand foods will you never give up? Share what you like in the comments.