Saving a Buck: Store brand vs. name brand

Posted on: 5:01 pm, September 20, 2012, by , updated on: 02:37pm, September 20, 2012


We all know buying store brands instead of name brands can lead to big savings, about 25 percent off your grocery bill, in fact.

But even though you’re cutting costs are you also skimping on quality?

People are buying more store brands these days and more are coming on the market, everything from cereal to peanut butter, even wine.

“We surveyed subscribers about the store brands they bought and most people were highly satisfied,” Consumer Reports’ Tod Marks said.

To see how store brands stack up against name brands, Consumer Reports did blind tests of 19 pairs of products.

Target’s Market Pantry ranch salad dressing went up against Hidden Valley’s.

“It was a tie. Quality-wise they’re right about the same, but they had different flavors,” Consumer Reports’ Adam Kaplan said.

Walmart’s Great Value battled Nature Valley’s granola bar.

Kaplan said, “Another tie. Both were chewy and they were pretty much the same quality.”

It was a tie again for Clover Valley’s crackers from Dollar General and Sunshine’s Cheez-Its.

But in some cases big name brands did beat store brands.

For example, this Tropical orange juice defeated Nice!, sold at Walgreens; it had a fuller orange flavor.

However, in most cases, store brands did as well as or better than name brands.

“The bottom line: Store brands are worth a try and they usually cost a lot less,” Marks said.

Consumer Reports said that the savings and quality aren’t limited to store-brand foods.

For example, both Target’s “Up and Up” paper towels and Walmart’s “White Cloud” toilet paper have rated excellent in Consumer Reports’ tests.