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Jan 15, 2012 06:07 AM

Name Brand Or Generic?

Do you regularly buy name products or do you feel generic is just as good?

Or there certain things that you will NOT buy as a generic?

Do you think the difference in cost of generic & name brand is worth the switch?

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  1. Generally speaking, we'll buy supermarket own label products every time over branded goods. Instant coffee is an exception, as the one in our normal supermarket just isnt very good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Harters

      Absolutely on this. I stick to store brands and find them just as good as the name brands, since the quality of name brands has unfortunately declined. That's not to say the store brand is unworthwhile, just that things have changed. It definitely saves me money.
      There are a few things I won't buy generically:
      Peanut Butter
      Frozen French Fries :). They SUCK. Tiny little things.Way too done.
      Macaroni and Cheese. If I'm not making it I want Kraft for comfort or Stouffer's for yum factor.
      That's about alll I can think of.

    2. I've been using the WM "Great Value" brands for years, no problem. I use quite a bit of canned stewed tomatoes, for those I only get the Albertsons store brand, found those to be the best. Don't care for generic coffee though.

      3 Replies
      1. re: mrbigshotno.1

        Agree on both WM Great Value for basic stuff and at least a store brand for canned tomatoes, altho' some have clumps of hardened cores. We buy CostCo's Kirkland 3 lb coffee--so many national brands are either awful tasting or down-sized cans.

        1. re: mrbigshotno.1

          I like a lot of Great Value products but the shredded mozzarella is a mess. Doesn't melt well at all.

          1. re: Njchicaa

            Shredded Cheese...I heard the shredded packaged cheese is coated with a wax to keep it from clumping, that's why it is best to buy block cheese & shred it yourself. The shredded does not melt too well. Maybe that was your problem.

        2. Ketchup! Heinz: there is no other kinds.

          Generally, however, generic is interchangeable with the name brand. While I may notice differences, they are not often great enough for me to justify paying for the national brand. I get those when they're on sale, which is part of why I check flyers weekly.

          10 Replies
            1. re: megjp

              Never have understood the fascination with Heinz ketchup. Cooks Illustrated did a comparison not too long ago and Hunts won. To me there's no real difference among the standard brands, or even the store brands in most cases. I seriously doubt many people could identify Heinz in a blind tasting.

              1. re: johnb

                Couldn't disagree more about people identifying Heinz in a taste test. There is definitely a difference between Heinz and Hunt's. And fwiw, Heinz Organic Ketchup won the taste test....

                1. re: valerie

                  When people talk about Heinz, they are obviously referring to the big selling classic Heinz, not the much more recent and slow selling "organic" and non HFCS versions. In the 2006 CI taste test (the one I was referring to), Hunts wiped out Heinz. In the recent CI test, Hunts again was clearly superior to regular Heinz, and for all practical purposes tied with the organic Heinz (read the text of the story).

                  Even if there is "definitely a difference between Hunts and Heinz," that still doesn't mean that regular people could identify one or the other in a blind tasting (many people can't tell red wine from white in blind tastings). For more on a sampling of ordinary people tasting ketchup, check the following story from the heart of Heinz country:


                  This quote from that story in most interesting:

                  "Still, the Post-Gazette tasters seemed dismayed to hear about the anemic performance of Heinz's regular ketchup, since, as loyal Pittsburghers, they all declared at the outset they wanted it to win.

                  "Get out!" said Darlene Pilarski, her jaw dropping, when told of the results."

                  In fact, the entire story is a classic is how folks delude themselves about food preferences. Anybody who is actually serious about knowing why people prefer certain brands over others should enjoy it.

                  1. re: johnb

                    Great link...Heinz has said they have not changed their formula, but my opinion is the quality of tomatoes being grown all over the country has declined for all kinds of reasons too long to mention here. Therefore all ketchup has declined somewhat.

                    Well, let's go a step farther & see if folks that make their own ketchup feel theirs is superior to all store bought ones.. Home grown, home can hardly go wrong..or can you???

                    1. re: johnb

                      Hunts probably wiped out Heinz due to the demographic/where the testing was done. Hunts is sweeter and goes over better down South (at least judging by sales) while Heinz is a Northeastern/NY favorite due to its vinegar tang. Not so cut and dried as to which is "the best", they are basically the same with a different flavor profile.

                    2. re: valerie

                      i have demonstrated in blind taste tests that i can easily distinguish the difference in the taste. much of the stuff that Cooks Illustrated writes about their comparison taste tests seems nonsensical to me.
                      also, you write:
                      << that still doesn't mean that regular people could identify one or the other in a blind tasting>>

                      who gives a fig about what "regular people" could identify? this is a CHOWHOUND board, which, presumably is geared to people who actually taste the food they put in their mouths.

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        Ha Ha...loved that little quibble....aren't we all "regular people"??? Just askin'

                        What's "regular" anyway? Something for my pea brain to ponder...I will think about this stuff so you folks won't have to. Lucky you.

                        1. re: txmafia

                          aren't we all "regular people"??? Just askin'
                          nope. constipation is a pretty common problem.

                        2. re: westsidegal

                          "who gives a fig about what "regular people" could identify?"

                          Exactly. "Regular people" also line up at Olive Garden and Red Lobster. Doesn't make them good restaurants.

                          And if johnb cannot tell the difference, that is totally fine and who really cares. But don't tell everyone else that they can't tell the difference. I can, my family can, and we like Heinz.

                  2. I regularly buy the generic versions. But I do prefer name brand cheese and yogurt.

                    1. Coca-Cola bottling plant in Kentucky in the early 80s. While taking the tour, somebody made a mistake in scheduling. After the run of Coke cans, was a line of Kroger cola cans. A lot of laughter and picture taking. Wish I had my camera with me.

                      Put enough rum in them, and even the diet drinks come up equal.

                      I have found a difference in a few items. Canned beans will very greatly on the amount of beans versus fluid. Bare bones small stores have proved the worse down here in Florida. Also, in my experience, the less expensive the can of green beans the more fibrous. But then I live on a boat and I buy lots of canned goods.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                        When she was a young woman, my mother worked in a spice production company. They routinely filled cans/bottles for about 4 brands, all from the same hoppers.

                        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                          Generic Cola...I second the motion about adding enough rum....just have good rum though...bad rum + bad cola=bad headache!! Heard that same kind of story about other items like canned corn, etc....are you telling us a fib? Just asking....

                          Canned items...I just shake the can & if things move around in there a lot...I know it is a watered down product.

                          1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                            I only drink diet sodas, but Publix brand is pretty good, especially the diet cherry coke version. Save-A-Lot's store brand soda is called 'Bubba' and it's as awful as it sounds, blech.

                            I used to like Acme brand diet cola when I could get it, it tasted sort of like nutmeg.

                            1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                              The Publix diet root beer is the only diet soda I'll drink.

                            2. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                              I worked in a commercial bakery summers during college and we routinely packaged the same bread, donuts, etc. in both store brand packaging and the label of the baking company so I understand how that works.

                              I have real doubts however that the local bottler was putting Coca-Cola in the Kroger cans. Local bottlers may bottle for many different companies using different syrups and blends but I would bet a large amount of money that Coca-Cola would not allow their syrup (which is shipped by Coke to local bottlers) to be used for anything but their own products.