Rachel Achmad

Should You Go Generic?: Supermarket Savvy

how to couponWhen I was a child in the 1970s, I was enthralled by the appearance of generics in my grocery store. The white boxes with their big black lettering were appealing to me. A new reader, I was happy that I could easily identify each item, and I loved the idea of buying products in matching packaging. The boxes’ contents, though, were so inferior and suspect that my mom never purchased them, despite their low prices.


Today’s generics are a different story. First of all, many items packaged under a generic or house brand are actually made by a name-brand company. Name-brand companies typically won’t disclose this (since they want you to keep paying more for the fancier version), but if you compare the ingredients and see that they are identical … chances are the product will taste just as good and be of similar quality. Second, even generics that aren’t made by a name-brand company are of better quality than their predecessors. A prime example of this is the Aldi food chain. As the New York Times reported, Aldi carries only a tiny amount of name-brand items. The majority of their products are their own, private-label generics, but they’re cleverly packaged to closely replicate whatever name brand the product is imitating, and for the most part, they’re good.


Overall, the savvy shopper can still beat generic prices by combining name-brand sales and coupons. But when that is not a possibility, a good strategy is to take a chance on generics. Buy just one can or package of a particular generic item and see how you like it. If it turns out that you just have to have name brands on certain items, then you can focus your attention to look for those particular items on sale and snap them up!




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








14 Responses to “Should You Go Generic?: Supermarket Savvy”

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  • Mandy Dunlap says:

    I appreciated this article. I live where there is a cannery. It is true that all the beans ,peas, etc. are produced and labeled according to orders. I love Aldi, infact I mostly shop there. I have never bought any private label product at Aldi that was substandard, infact my husband only wants Millville (Aldi’s store brand) cereal. Alot of “Brand Name” companies advertise on your site. By the time I buy a news paper, or download and use expensive ink to print coupons I really haven’t saved as much. I know with the extreme coupon craze some people might save if they are buying the more expensive brand name products,and that’s great, but for my buck I’ll just go to Aldi.

  • Rob says:

    It seems you some knowledge of the savings and quality store brand products, however your terminology is stuck in the 70′s.
    The correct terms to use now are “Private Label” or “Store Brand” products. The term generic went out a long time ago even though it is still used for prescription drugs. Unfortunately, the term “generic” still carries some negative connotations for many consumers.
    The company I work for manufacturers and supplies many Personal Care Products to numerous Retailers, and I can assure you that our product standards are as high and in most cases even higher than those of the National Brands, primarily due to Retailer’s requirements.
    On another note, the statement that many store brand products are made by “Name Brand” companies is misleading. In my experience most Private Label products are produced and supplied by lesser known private companies, not by National Brand firms.

    • Rachel Achmad says:

      Thanks for your comment! I chose to use the term “generic” because while it may be outdated to you as an industry insider, it is still a term the average consumer uses and recognizes. Here is a link to one of the articles I found regarding national brand firms manufacturing products for private labels:
      Thanks for reading!

    • Brent says:

      When I worked for Ralston Purina we packaged 99% store brand and 1% Ralston Purina brand.
      It all came out of the same hoppers, we just changed labels per quantity ordered. We would change brand names several times a night and package the same product. They even had training on how the stores will put store brands right next to the name brand that made them. They said that we made more off of store brands because there was no advertising cost!

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