Store Brand VS. Name Brand

gvblackbeansWhen gas prices shot through the roof, in some places reaching as high as $5 per gallon, store brands really started to gain traction.   Shoppers were trying to compensate for the hit they were taking fueling their cars.  The reason has changed but shoppers continue to flock to the store brands to save money.  Over the years store brands have gone from bland, sub par foodstuffs to true competitors for name brand foods.  Name brand foods charge more for their products because they have to offset marketing and advertising costs, among other reasons.  Store brands can offer a comparable product but don’t have to, nor do they, advertise their products. A lot of the store brand products are canned by ConAgra foods and just labeled differently.

I grew up with store brands, it was very rare if we were allowed to eat name brand cereal, or anything else name brand.  I grew up and moved out, I vowed to never be so cheap, that was a joke. Looking back I realize my parents were getting the best value for their money.

The products you buy under the store brand name, for the most part, are just as good if not better than the brand names.  Why pay a premium for brand recognition.  Your neighbors really don’t care if you have Heinz Ketchup or Great Value ketchup on your burgers and hot dogs.  Now I will agree there are certain things you buy which just aren’t as good in generic. We don’t buy generic peanut butter, cola’s, sandwich bread, or brown rice.  I bought Great Value brown rice and it is the absolute worst purchase I have ever made we, will shortly be going back to Uncle Ben.

The king of Store Brand shopping would have to be Aldi Foods, they offer only a small specialized set of products almost all of which are under their own store brand.  They charge for bags, don’t accept checks or credit cards, require you to bag your own groceries, use a quarter deposit system for carts, and stack the boxes the food comes in for shelving.  These are all frugal ways to cut down on the costs of running the business, by cutting down on the cost of running the business they can transfer the savings to the consumer.

The trick to the off brands is just to try them, if it is not what you are looking for, don’t buy it again. Odds are you will find more Store Brands you like than those you don’t,  and in the end you grocery budget will have a little bit more room.

These thoughts made me wonder, what generic do I have in my house right now, here is what I came up with:

Canned Goods: Chili Beans, Black Beans, Corn, Tuna, Black Olives, Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce, Tomatoes with Chilis, Cream of Chicken Soup.

Dry Goods: Brown Rice, Egg Noodles, Hamburger Buns, Microwave Popcorn, Bread Crumbs, Oatmeal, Flour, Sugar, Graham Crackers, Spices, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, and Corn Starch.

Refrigerated & Frozen: Mustard, Ketchup, Jelly, Apple Juice, Salad Dressing,Butter,Soy Sauce, Frozen Fruit, Frozen Vegetables, Garlic Bread, Hash Browns, and Cheese.

Other: Pizza Sauce, Spaghetti Sauce, Honey, Syrup, Olive Oil, Vinegar, Jalapenos, Chicken Broth, Chocolate Syrup, Hand Soap, Body Wash, Bleach, Pain Relievers, and Allergy Medicine.


1 Aryn March 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm

I have another caveat to store brand items – crushed tomatoes if you make your own marinara. I’ve found that the store brand version has much more water, which results in a watery sauce. Other tomato variations don’t seem to have this problem – since you can drain the water out of those!

2 Thomas Johannsen April 29, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Hi from Germany!
I have read your post and it is interesting to see how deep this “Brand Name” thing is rooted. I know from the german Aldi that 25-30% of their “No Brands” are in the truth “Brand Names”!Why? Because nearly every producer of food or nonfood is interested to be productive to 100%. So they sell their products with little changes in the recipes for a different taste to Aldi, and not only to them. As higher the number of pieces they produce as lower are the costs per piece! Sometimes they founded “new” companys for this kind of products. For example (Germany):Diapers-Aldi name/Cien is from Pampers, Grillsauces- Aldiname/Kim is from Nestle, Kitchenpaper/Toilettpaper is from Kleenex and these are only a few worldwide operating companys. In former years only people with a lower income bought at Aldi. But in the last years it is a kind of a lifestyle to buy things with a good quality for low prices there. Its smart and clever. You have more money left for really important things.
Sorry for this long post! ;-))

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