Rachel Achmad

Do Generic Products Taste Better? — Supermarket Savvy

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Earlier this year, I wrote about the results of a Consumer Reports grocery shopping test, which found that shoppers saved the most when purchasing store brands.

 

But there was one big drawback to the study: it didn’t report whether those store brands actually taste any good. I’ve found very good store-brand products, but I’ve also ended up with terrible ones — recently, a hot cocoa mix I tried didn’t even taste chocolatey.

 

So Consumer Reports ran another test: a taste-off. “Sensory experts” did blind comparisons of 19 items. While only one store-brand item emerged an undisputed winner, ten products got tie scores (and eight name-brand products won). The results …

 

Store-Brand Winner: Chicken broth from Giant/Eagle (beat Swanson). Tasters liked its true, unprocessed flavor.

 

The Ten Ties:

 

• Peanut butter

• Cranberry juice

• Cottage cheese

• Cheese crackers

• Greek yogurt

• Ranch dressing

• Wheat bread

• Chewy granola bars

• Walnuts

 

Only two of those items, the Greek yogurt and the walnuts, were found to be “interchangeable,” but the others were all deemed equally palatable.

 

The Name-Brand Winners:

 

• Kellogg’s granola

• Bush’s baked beans

• Ben & Jerry’s ice cream

• Quaker oats

• Birds Eye frozen vegetables

• Stouffer’s lasagna

• Soy Dream soymilk

• Tropicana orange juice.

 

Tasters had many complaints about the flavors and qualities of the store-brand alternatives for these products.

 

To me, the take-away here is simple: try store brands! Only one may have bested the competition in the Consumer Reports taste-off, but with 11 out of 19 items ranked as a tie or better, your odds of finding a less-expensive alternative to name brands are pretty good. Find the store brands that work for your own taste. Keep in mind, however, that you can get many name-brand products for less than store brands if you match coupons to sales and stock up, and as Consumer Reports points out, product suppliers change without notice, so don’t assume a store brand will always taste the same.

 

 

 

Shop smart and save! Check out more tips on couponing and savvy shopping!

 

 

3 Responses to “Do Generic Products Taste Better? — Supermarket Savvy”

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  • Carmel says:

    I totally agree. There are some store rand products which are excellent. Washing powders are a case in point. The store brand in LIDL is great whereas the TESCO one is not up to much. But in fire lighters, it is the other way around. Washing up liquids vary too, as do toilet tissue. Store brand butters are little different from each other but the premium brand butter, Kerrygold really does taste so much better. So one way and another, it’s well worth trying them and sometimes you’ll get really good products for significantly less money.

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