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Aug 29, 2006 01:52 AM

Disappointing store brands?

I'm a big fan of store brands. I practically live off President's Choice (Loblaws) and Merit Selection (Loeb), not to mention the Trader Joe's stuff now that I'm in the States.

But once in a while, I come across a really crappy product, one that screams "inferior." Some recent cases:

-America's Choice (A&P) instant pudding: tastes like chemicals and chalk
-Pathmark yogurt and veggie baked beans: both were bland and runny
-ShopRite cereal (the Cheerios knockoff): has the texture of packing foam

Any store brand products you stay away from?

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  1. Compliments (IGA, Sobey's) is no good. Everything I've ever tried from them was disappointing. The quality goes from terrible to mediocre and the packaging is ugly and confusing.

    I had a short love affair with Selection Merite (Metro, Loeb) cereals, but I'm off them now. I don't find most Merite prepared foods or baked items very good, though. The condiments and canned foods are generally very low quality.

    Presiden't choice (Loblaws) is almost always good. I like their tangy salsa. Their prepared foods are always handy in a pinch. These days I'm addicted to Blue Menu (also Loblaws) low-fat granola. The Blue Menu brand in general hasn't let me down yet.

    Trader Joe's is really good. I wish we had them up here.

    1 Reply
    1. re: SnackHappy

      Sélection Mérite makes fabulous frozen yogurt, for which I forgive it any other mistakes.

      You're right about Compliments, though. I've yet to find any redeeming qualities.

      And in my view PC can do no wrong.

    2. Most A&P stuff I've gotten is pretty bad.

      Store brand sugar is often beet sugar, not cane sugar, so watch out.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Pei

        Watch out for what? From the web site

        "White sugar is essentially pure sucrose and there is no difference between that derived from cane and that from beet."

        Unless there are political reasons for avoiding it.

        1. re: Loren3

          Beet sugar works in coffee, not to bake with.

          There has been a thread on the two on another board within the last 2 weeks. Not sure which board.

          1. re: Loren3

            Check out this article in the SF Chronicle:


            Most supermarket chains' house brands of sugar are beet sugar, although a few package cane sugar. If the sugar is cane sugar, it will almost always be identified as such on the front of the package.

            1. re: Nancy Berry

              In that case all those fantastic European cakes and cookies and other sugary goodies are a miracle. Most European sugar is from beets.

        2. Consumer Reports often includes store brand products in its reviews. The results vary considerably: often they are high in the ratings, bur more often low.

          1. We don't have any of those stores here in San Antonio.
            HEB Grocery Stores has their brand,Hill Country Fair.The majority of their products are very good.They have canned soups I have tried,which are okay,but I haven't tried their chunky soups.They maybe made by Campbells or some other company.Even the cookies you can buy in a package from HEB are decent.
            I think they try to keep their brand products as high quality
            as they can get.
            But yes some store brands are'nt very good. I think it depends on who they have manufacture the stuff for them.They may try to use cheaper manufacturers.
            A friend's son in law is a trucker.He told me he picked up some of HEB's catsup from a Hunts plant once.
            For those not in Texas,HEB stands for Herman E.Butt,who founded the company in Kerrville Texas in the early 1900s.They have HEB Central Market which is upscale groceries,and now HEB PLus,which is their answer to Walmart.They are even into mexico
            and are mentioned in

            1. Yes, I suspect this will sound weird, but I just got frustrated with a President's Choice "Blue Brand" Raisin Bran because it had TOO MANY raisins. I ended up cutting it with a plain bran cereal becasue I was tired of spoonfulls of raisins (like 6/8 in every spoonfull-way too much chewing for that hour of the day!)