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Do you ever choose the store (or generic) brand over the the national one?

I'm trying to figure out if any store/generic product is actually better (at least equally good) as a national one? For example, private label catsup versus the Heinz Ketchup, etc.

Only 2 that I could think of so far are table salt and regular sugar.

Anyone have any thoughts?

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  1. My husband buys the generic supermarket whole-grain cereal which is a fraction the cost of the brand name version. In a blind test I can't tell the difference. I buy sea salt in bulk from Whole Foods and have purchased no-name vanilla beans online from an importer. I dislike excess packaging so avoid foods that are all dressed up in fancy boxes and jars when possible.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cheryl_h

      I know this is an old post and I don't expect a response, but what is a fraction of the cost? Here's a fraction, 99/100%. It's like the TV IRS commercials promising to settle at a fraction of the debt, or a golf course or new subdivision being minutes away, 120 minutes.

    2. At Whole Foods I buy their Italian sparkling mineral water (99 cents in glass, cheaper in the newly available plastic bottles), canola oil mayonnaise, olive oil, butter and smoked trout.

      1. President's Choice chocolate chip cookies (available only at Jewel) are the best store-boughten cookies I've ever had... especially if warmed for ~5 seconds in the microwave.

        Argh. Albertsons own Jewel, WHY can't I get them at Albertsons?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          Here in the south President's Choice cookies are known as the Harris Teeter house brand. Different name, but same packaging and same delicious cookies. I will have to try your microwave trick.

          I buy the 365 brand at Whole Foods all the time. The olive oil, tortilla chips, milk, cereal, pasta, oj and canned beans are just a few of my favorites.

          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            I totally second that. In Quebec PC is available at Provigo...and the chocolate chip cookies as well as the hot chocolate are very good!

            1. re: Frenchie

              I don't even think of PC as a store brand anymore, they have many convenience products I like at good prices that I go out of my way to go the stores that carry PC when I need those items. Their salad dressings for example are decent, cheap and come in good flavours that other brands don't make. In other cases their product is a knock-off but is as good as the name brand - their nutella product is just as good but cheaper. The cookies, the frozen desserts - I could go on.
              Actually, I think their chocolate chip cookies were actually copied by Christie.

          2. I took a quick look in my fridge and cabinets to answer this question. I always buy store brand eggs, and I can't detect any difference when I buy more expensive brands. I buy Trader Joe's butter, which is much cheaper than other brands. I also buy their nuts, but I'm admittedly not a nut expert. And I like many products from the Whole Foods 365 brand...for instance, they make my favorite bbq sauce, and some good spices. I think I buy a lot of their products but I can't remember what in particular. In general, I feel like the Whole Foods store brand is a cut above other store brands. But it's also more expensive than other store brands.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Nicole

              Egglands Best eggs really do taste better than storebought eggs. Take it from me, I have half a dozen hardboiled eggs almost every day. :)

            2. Without a doubt I almost always buy the house-brand. There are very few exceptions: mayo, ketchup, plastic wrap, dried whole wheat pasta. There are a few "high end" products that I do shop for by name or locale such as balsamic vinegar and non cooking evoo. For basic oils and vinegars the house brands are fine. Another exception would be if I have a coupon and the house-brand is more expensive than the name brand would be with the coupon.

              The 2 place I shop the most when I do shop a traditional grocer is Stop&Shop and Whole Foods. I have found there house brands are are comparable if not better in most products.

              1 Reply
              1. re: foodieX2

                I love 365 brand balsamic vinegar. I believe it won, or came out very high in Cook's Illustrated taste tests.

                I've begun to buy house brand (RichFood) of a lot of things at Fairway here in NYC. Their pasta is great, and their butter is usually 3lbs/$5. I also buy housebrands of sugar, salt, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, cream cheese and a few other things. Of course if a name brand is cheaper, I'll get that, but these are things I hardly ever buy, and with the cornstartch, baking soda, and powder, I end up throwing them away before I finish the package, so why bother with the brand name.