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Store Brands that are Just as Good as their Brand Name Cousins

In this age of frugality (at least on the personal level), I thought we might help each other out in identifying store brands of groceries, canned items, coffees, etc -- what have you -- that are just as good if not better than their brand-name counterparts. Costco, Trader Joe's and the like are welcome for comparison, as well as regular grocery store brands.

I'll start:

Harris Teeter ketchup is as good as Heinz.

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  1. most walmart brands(good value brands)

    1. President's Choice (Loblaws' various banners, in Canada - believe also in some US markets). They are very innovative and have products "brand names" may not carry, some very good, some deplorable, but in general a good standard.

      2 Replies
      1. re: lagatta

        I find a lot of the PC products pretty decent.

        1. re: raidar

          their chocolate chunk cookies are the best best best!

      2. Here's a thread with a similar topic with lots of suggestons, just to get things going:

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/664010

        White Rose brand (the old White Rose Tea company) is widely available in NYC metropolitan supermarkets and I've tried many of their products, cream cheese, raisin bran, frozen veggies, breadcrums, even butter, to mention a few. All of their products are very good, some even being better than the name brand (and cheaper.)

        2 Replies
        1. re: bushwickgirl

          i didn't see many specific head to head comparisons on that thread, except in the OP -- maybe a couple others.

          i agree that campbell's tomato soup wins over store brands that i've tried, e.g., giant, safeway. it has a very particular flavor that is not just "tomato-y."

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            harris teeter half-n-half is better than land o' lakes.

          2. As a frequent returning working visitor to my native land (well, DC rather than California and Oregon) over the past few years and after decades of being away, I found all things Safeway, Giant, and Harris Teeter to be inexpensive and excellent. I entertained a lot of Foodie Van Snoots in my posh suite (with great kitchen). No one ever suspected my exclusive use of store brands: meats, sausages, cheeses, coffee, bagels, bread, sauerkraut, cheap pasta sauces to use as a base, pickles, pasta, rice (even found a cheap Japonica at Safeway and made makizushi), hot sauce, peanut butter (for sauces), olives, capers, and selected canned goods. I used a lot of "shortcuts" (cheating) because short stays don't allow you to maintain a pantry of goods. Come to town for 10 days, calculate number of dinner parties and home meals, buy what you'll use up and nothing else, and carefully pre-prep so no one knows what cheating was necessary.

            3 Replies
              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                Sam F.
                wuld love to see a thread from u, re ur. short cuts/secrets. I have a smallish pantry and even a smallish budget-
                great thread OP.
                my try-outs: contina canned tomatoes vs. alymer (culd. not afford san marzano)
                i find alymer/store brands too watery/tasteless.

                1. re: divya

                  I agree. I find tomatoes pretty different across the board, and peanut butter while I'm at it. I haven't had kraft mac n'cheese in ages, but I remember store brands never tasting as good back in the day. Of course this was before you could find all these crazy options now.

              2. Shop Rite in the NY area has the best granola cereal. It's called 100% Natural Cereal (I get the one with almonds and raisins) and every time we go home to NY I have to go to Shop Rite and stock up.

                1. I find the Pecan Shortbread cookies from Aldi to be a very good clone of Keebler Pecan Sandies. Aldi does have its fair share of "dud" clones, but this one was spot-on...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: TexSquared

                    We get a lot of staples at Aldi like flour, choc chips, walnuts and pecans for baking, honey, extra virgin olive oil, chocolate candy, sugar and brown sugar, salsa con queso, etc. The quality is just as good, if not better than, brand names.

                    1. re: mrsbuffer

                      I think Aldi's chocolate chips are the best! If you can't afford name brand these are just as good. I buy my baking supplies here every year for Christmas cookies. Their canned veggies are also quite good and less than 1/2 the price of name brand. If you want to save alot of money you can do it here.

                  2. trader joe's stone ground wheat crackers are as good as the name brand.

                    according to this, i should check out the whole food's version, too: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

                    i cannot find an image for the one i consider the "name" brand, and i don't know who manufactures it.

                    ~~~~~~~
                    ps, does anyone remember those "un peu de trois" (sp?) crackers --- three different crackers in one box -- and all with that whole grain crunchiness and flavor? i miss those. were they canadian?

                    1. I use Costco Kirkland unsalted butter for baking. It's much cheaper than Land O Lakes, and I haven't noticed a difference.

                      1. I think Publix OJ is every bit as good as the name brand. I believe it is made from Florida oranges.

                        1. I have remarked on previous threads that store brand soft drinks have improved greatly in recent years, and now it is generally possible to find them equal to national brands. IMO, Wegmans root beer is better than any of them.

                          But a question from the opposite camp. While I have found good store brands for just about everything, I have to my dismay never found a version of Ritz crackers (which I eat a lot of, in addition to using them for those salmon patties :) ) equal or even close to the original, and lord knows I've tried. Has anybody found one?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: johnb

                            I find that the Market Pantry brand from Target are really tasty. I might even say I like them better.

                          2. I also like Publix OJ Not From Concentrate...their Greenwise Blue Corn chips are really excellent, too.

                            Whole Foods own brand (365) of albacore tuna is the best I can find around...so many of the major brands' quality has seriously declined along with size of the can. 365 is still 6 ounces and the tuna is white and firm, not all dark and mushy; also come in a No Salt Added version that I love.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Val

                              Haven't tried WF tuna but I think Kirkland Solid White packed in water not broth like some other brands is absolutely the best.

                              1. re: Babyducks

                                I've heard good things about that...it's Costco, right? I don't have a membership there...how much is a can of it? The 365 is $1.49 for a 6 ounce can.

                                1. re: Val

                                  Not sure about the price. They come in a six pack.

                                2. re: Babyducks

                                  Kirkland tuna is absolutely the best. It's the only kind I can eat!

                              2. Here's a few off the top of my head:

                                Kirkland (Costco) canned tuna
                                Kirkland butter
                                Harris-Teeter canned black olives
                                Harris-Teeter version of Froot Loops
                                Wegmans canned pumpkin

                                1. Anything from Target's "Archer Farms" brand.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: cavandre

                                    Archer Farms has a lot of tasty side dishes that I haven't been able to find in a name brand. Also they have lots of unique sauces and marinades.

                                  2. I rarely eat bagged chips or pretzels, but sometimes I get a craving for them.......I cannot say store brands are as good as the name brands for snacks items, but when I get a craving for potato chips I break down and purchase them.....however, the name brands carried in the supermarkets are FOUR BUCKS a bag and I simply refuse to pay that much. Unless the chips are on sale,e.g., for say two bags for five bucks.....I'm perfectly happy purchasing the store brands for $1.39 per bag similar in size to the national brands.

                                    1. harris teeter's cream cheese spread with onions and chives is, unfortunately, not as good as the philadelphia cream cheese brand. the ht brand is gummier and less flavorful.

                                      trader joe's table water crackers are as good as carr's -- and a heckuva lot cheaper.

                                      and their brand of stone ground crackers equals the red oval farm's brand http://www.nabiscoworld.com/brands/br... , and is cheaper, as well.

                                      1. trader joe's "cracker assortment" (in the primarily black box). four different types of crackers in individual sleeves for each type. fresher and better than pepperidge farm's assorted cracker box, for sure -- and cheaper, too.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          there are two assortments. do NOT get the "organic."

                                          thinking about it, they probably are made by pepperidge farm because the crackers are the same. they probably *taste* fresher because of the turnover in trader joe's.

                                        2. Wal Marts "Great Value" sherbet is far and away the best compared with all others from the supermarket. They actually have visable tiny peices of real fruit that you can taste especially the pineapple. Also, another rather small item is the Kroger "Private Selection" flat anchovies in olive oil. They are kind of plump compared to other brands and not so salty, I can eat them right out of the can, great flavor.

                                          1. for pickle lovers, i've found this: equal to -- if not better than -- claussen pickles are the harris teeter brand dill pickle halves. nice, flavorful, and crrrrunchy! very nice bite!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              Recently, I tried some labels branded *America's Best* at my local Pathmark Supermarkets. They sell just about everything under this label, including fresh meats and poultry, For everyday items, when on sale, you can save a fair amount of money. Regularly, there are manager special
                                              $2 off coupons on chickens and meat packages. I purchased four 3-4 pound chickens, just last week for $9 and change.

                                              Unless the national brands of 2-litre are on sale, I am happy purchasing the diet brands under this label as well.......usual cost is .79-.99 per bottle. I'm the only one who drinks soda in the house, so I'm only being cheap to myself.....