Generic vs. Name-Brand Groceries
Generic products have come a long way in recent years in order to become competitive in the marketplace. They used to bear white-and-black labels that denoted economy and thrift and often their taste was as bland their looks.
More recently, consumers are buying store brand products at an increasing rate. They've ditched the black-and-white labels in favor of replica-style labeling that rivals higher-priced products. Yes, a lot of them are manufactured at the same places as their brand-name counterparts. Manufacturers contract out their services to stores as a way to stay competitive and claim a stake in ever-increasing store brand/private label pie.
Are they exactly the same? The answer varies from product to product. Because most manufacturers are reluctant to talk openly about this practice, information is hard to find. Some products have to be altered slightly to abide by legal restrictions and copyrights. Most times the ingredients added or altered are minimal, such as adding vitamins. In general, they are able to make up the difference in price by not spending as much on advertising, not by compromising quality.
Since most store brand products cost 30 to 50 percent less than premium brands, they're certainly worth a try. Compare labels before you buy to see how different the ingredients really are. When you get the products home, try a side-by-side blind taste test to see if your perceptions of taste and quality are influenced by labels. Many stores offer money-back guarantees on their products so if they're not up to your standards, there's no risk involved. Aldi (a growing limited assortment store), for instance, even offers a double-your-money back guarantee.
For more information check out this Consumer Affairs article on store brands.
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