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Food - Groceries
Written by Ahmed Amr   
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Store Brand vs Name Brand: 10 Ways to Go Generic
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Pepsi or Coke? When it comes to soft drinks the choice pretty much comes down to two brands.  As for drinking store brand pop - well that’s just pure indecent and un-American. Heinz or Hunts? Here again, I understand brand loyalty.  Nobody really wants watery private label ketchup.  There really are a few products for which there are no good store-brand substitutes. Switching to private label products to save money on groceries can be difficult.  But in the battle of Store Brand vs Name Brand we give you 10 ways to help you go generic.

Now almost everybody knows you can cut your grocery bill by as thirty or forty percent on certain store brand or private label products. But something happens when you go to the grocery store shelf - you just can’t bring yourself to do it.

So, here are a few tips that might help you break away from the chains that binds you to the brand:

1. Start with the easy stuff first like the food you’re buying for others to eat. Let’s start with your cats and dogs. A lot of pet food comes out of the same factory. A few years ago, there was a breakout of tainted pet foods and the manufacturer, Menu of Ontario, was obliged to recall 60 million cans of their product. It turned out that the same dog food was being sold under 100 some odd brand names ranging from Hill’s Science Diet to Ol’Roy, a Walmart label.  So definitely go with the private label on your pet supplies. Trust me - unless your dog knows how to read, he won’t notice the difference.

2. This might sound callous - but consider feeding your infants store brand baby food. It’s safe and the government mandates that the contents meet federal nutritional requirements. And just like dog food, a lot of it comes from the same manufacturers - regardless of what the label reads. Unless you have a prodigy in the crib - that’s another mouth that won’t be able to distinguish the labels.  And you won't be alone.  Private label baby food sales increased 22.4% year over year as noted in a recent Brandweek article, and that's in a Recession!  And don't stop there, if you are getting them formula, you are really wasting your money on the branded stuff.  On November 10th, a private label company won a lawsuit against Meade Johnson, the maker of Enfamil, for falsely denigrating private label formula nutritional effectiveness.  Turns out they are the same ingredients from the same suppliers but the private labels cost up to 50% less.

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mokie |2011-02-11 10:34:13
#1 - "It turned out that the same dog food was being sold under 100 some odd brand names ranging from Hill’s Science Diet to Ol’Roy, a Walmart label."

Not true. A restaurant may offer 100 dishes out of the same kitchen and the same base ingredients, but that doesn't mean they're all really just chicken.

A number of large pet food manufacturers outsourced actual production to the same factories. Those factories used some of the same base ingredients for multiple recipes--instead of having a stash of chicken byproduct for Iams and a separate stash for Ol'Roy, for example, they just had chicken byproduct and doled out as much as the manufacturers' recipes called for as needed. The problem was one of tainted ingredients at those factories.

That's why the companies left on the shelves during the big recall were very big (and thus had their own dedicated factories), or else were very small (catering to a niche with no need to outsource production).

Also, yes, cheap pet chow = stinkier poo, because cheap foods contain lots of filler that animals don't digest well. Pets also eat lots more of it, because it's bulk filler that doesn't answer their nutritional needs, so it's often more expensive in the long run than the alternative. Whether you go name brand or generic, if you make sure it's quality food that best suits your pet's needs, they'll eat less of it, digest more of it, and leave you less stinky messes to clean up.

#8 - "Generic medicines are an easy switch... Usually, the only thing that matters is how much active ingredient there is. Compare the amount of active ingredient per dollar you are spending and make the switch."

Emphasis on "usually"! Active ingredients are the same between name brand and generic medicines, but the inactive ingredients like colorants, binders and coatings may be very different. This can affect how your body breaks down and absorbs the medicine; you may even find you are sensitive to one of the inactive ingredients. This shouldn't put consumers off of trying generic medications--they might prefer the generic for results as well as price!--but they should be mindful when they try the switch that it's not exactly the same pill.
Cheep |2010-12-15 07:17:54
I shop at my local "fruit market" type of store for most meat, deli, baked goods and produce (cheap, fresh and very good quality). Then, it's on to Aldi for the rest. Trust me, your family will adjust. You just have to put up with their "pain" for a few days. Also, I've tried putting some things in the more expensive containers for show purposes, like Coffee Mate. Stop letting people tell you what to do, especially your kids!
Lop at Rebates Money  - I can't do it |2010-08-20 22:01:04
I'm sorry, but I hate store brand products. I don't know what it is..but maybe it's a mental thing. There is just something about eating the things you know you like your whole life.
docsmom  - brand names vs other stuff |2010-10-09 15:39:55
While I agree that there are some brand names that DO have a different taste or texture, or whatever, you might want to consider WHAT makes that difference.

If it's added fat, sugar, salt or preservatives - hmmmmmm are you really doing yourself a favor by being so loyal to your brands?

Why not start small - at the cereal aisle? The WalMart brand of toasted oats tastes just like Cherrios to me. If the store brand packaging bothers you, or if you think your friends will notice and talk about you - then buy some platic storage containers and chuck the stuff in them!

We're not really into the whole "organic" movement per se, but we do use the food we grow ourselves, and we don't use additives or preservatives. I prefer to think of myself as being a good Yankee farmwife, rather than a foodie.

So here's a radical idea - try canning something yourself. If you've got the time (and that's a big IF for many people), then do something easy - like tomatoes. Buy them fresh and on sale. You don't need special canning equipment - just a large pot that's deep enough to put the canning jars in and cover with water.

I used to be afraid of canned goods, until a friend showed me how. Take a class, try something new! You might find you're soon changing your profile to VERY CHEAP!

Right now I've got a storage crate full of canned goods that we buy on sale and rotate, but we keep extras of stuff we need all the time - like peanut butter, 2 cabinets full of canned goods, and 3 full freezers. Yes I've got the time, yes I've got the room, and I'm old enough to not really care what my friends think about me. My husband's opinion counts however, and we see living cheaply as a way to extend our income and maybe take that trip - or buy that car we'll need soon.

CLGH |2010-08-20 13:28:10
I also want to caution readers about pet food quality. Does your brand have meat or meat by-products? How much grain versus how much meat protein? What about fruit and veggies? Our pets are dependent upon us to feed them a healthy diet. I ALWAYS buy my dogs food at an organic pet food store, not the grocery store. The prices are comparable to the pet stores' food prices. I noticed that the grocery stores carry all the cheaper brands of food--and cheaper means less quality protein. Let's not ruin our pets' health in our quest to be more budget-minded.
ECZ  - dog food |2010-08-20 16:04:04
I was about to make the exact same comment. Instead of looking for the cheapest bag of dog food, you NEED to be looking at the ingredients. Most major dog food labels are putting absolute **** into their product, and most people are so ignorant about animal nutrition that they don't know.

For instance, corn is not something that should be fed to your dog. Dogs can't digest corn or absorb nutrients out of it very well. Corn allergies in dogs isn't uncommon, either. BUT, corn or corn meal is often one of the first ingredients rather than meat.

I was buying organic and thinking about making my own to cut on costs when we adopted our third dog and found that the "Select" Costco Brand offered more meat, and better veggies.
food dood  - Can't completely agree |2010-08-20 13:05:36
There was a part in this article that states that buying cheaper might be harder if you're an organic lover. The thing is, organic foods is how we should ALWAYS be eating. Think about it, that's how food started. So this whole buying cheaper thing is basically a technique to buy food that is nutritionally deficient. You have to remember that when you buy organic and NON-GMO foods you are getting the proper nutrients that the food you're eating is supposed to give you. Look at all the ingredients in your cereal, snacks, etc and you'll notice some of them aren't even "food". You take a spoon full of MSG and put it in your mouth, and then tell me how it satisfied your hunger and daily needs. High fructose corn syrup is supposed to replace sugar in tons of sweet products. You drink a product with real sugar in it and then tell me how much more filling it is than High Fructose Corn Syrup products. America is fat, and I feel a lot of it has to do with our education on food. My point is, spending less may be more harmful to your body than beneficial. Health is the ultimate wealth.
doraflood  - Size matters |2010-08-20 11:21:35
Just an FYI on cost vs size comparisons. I discovered my FAVORITE iPhone app (I know...) which is "CompareMe" -- It is a very simplistic/cheap app that allows you to make two price per 'item' comparisons - even adjusting for variations in packaging. For example, you can compare your savings between buying 12 - 3 oz cans of cat food at $8.79 vs 8 - 5 oz cans at $9.27. Or the actual cost of the batteries in those multiple packs -- sometimes the "sale of 4 or 8" is still more expensive than buying a 12 or 16 pack.
CeCeWilson  - What I've found. . . |2010-06-21 04:53:19
I admit that I am a Heinz Ketchup and Ghirradelli semi-sweet chocolate chip kind of brand-er. I could probably forgo the ketchup but I draw the line with my chocolate! I've tried many branded and non-branded confectionals and I really think it's worse than adultery for me to sacrifice my chocolate. However,I have found great value to buying private labels in most staple items. As much as I run from Wal-Mart, I confess that they have some of the best quality for the money in some items. For example, some of their frozen veggies like the cut corn on the cob is better in taste than Green Giants's or other national brands and cost significantly less. I also get more for my money. I avoid Wal-Mart's canned foods(except the applesauce and spaghetti sauce), but their whole wheat pasta and instant brown rice is good quality and a great price without all of the "extra" ingredients than the other brands I compared. Because my children and I have allergies to things like dairy we have to buy branded on rice milk. Stores like Publix has their label for things like soy milk and a good line of organic products.
amom |2010-06-18 09:45:25
for number 2, better yet nurse your children and you won't need to pay anything at all for formula. As for baby food, I never bought any. They were nursed exclusively until 9mo then they began eating small amounts of whatever the rest of the family was eating(sometimes I pulled out plain foods before adding strong spices). Nine month olds can eat ordinary oatmeal or Cheerios(generic), smashed soft cooked vegetables. I never did understand the need for "junior" or "graduate" type baby foods; they can just eat regular table food cut up very small. I think baby food is a huge money making racket.
Gary  - #3 is easy |2010-06-11 08:49:18
Number 3 is easy. I get the off brand versions of the advertised cereals, he either eats it or goes without. We DONT allow ads to dictate what we eat.
C1 |2010-05-23 10:18:35
For #3 Buy the cheap stuff and put in the expensive box :)
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