Saturday's with Nichole: Name Brand vs. Store Brand (Week 3)


Happy Saturday!

I'm really having fun with these Saturday posts. While I was concerned at first about running out of topics I found that it's actually quite easy to continue coming up with them. At any time though, if there is something specific you want me to talk about, just tell me. I like requests. :-)

In the multiple groups of people I talk to, brand name vs. store brand has been a pretty popular discussion recently. How do you feel about it? I know there are some people out there who are strictly "Whole Foods! Trader Joe's! Organic! Natural! Store Brand is evil!" and some people are "Pfft. Organic. Buy the store brand and save money." I think most people reside somewhere in the middle.

I'll be the first person to tell you that I'm cheap. Bathing suits are at the very top of my list for overpriced ridiculousness. $90 for less than a yard of fabric!?! Insanity. Jeans and shoes also rank up there in my "You want me to spend HOW much on WHAT!?" list. I like sales, clearance racks and coupons.

I once heard that practically all store brand items are packaged in the same warehouses right alongside the brand name items. I don't know whether its true or not, but I think generally its pretty accurate. If you hold up a can of store brand tomatoes and brand name tomatoes, chances are, the ingredients are exactly the same. So I do believe that in some cases you are only paying extra money for the logo and packaging of said product.

Brand name vs. store brand is actually a bit of an internal argument for me. One side doesn't care about the name or packaging of the product and the other side thinks people need to care about what they're eating. Processed food isn't good for you and organic, fresh foods need to be available at affordable rates for everyone...but that's another post for another day.

What it comes down to for me is quality. If the quality of a store brand item is just as good as the brand name item, I'll immediately pick it up and gloat at my $0.25 - $2.00 savings. If the quality of the store brand item is crappy, I'm going to shell out the extra cash for the brand name item.

If you looked in my pantry, fridge and freezer you'd see an even mix. But just in case you're interested, I thought I'd share what is what. All of my "store brand" items are Great Value which is Walmart's brand. Personally, I haven't noticed a different in taste or quality for any of the items listed below.

Store Brand: whole wheat pasta (in various forms), canned vegetables, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, crackers, canned beans, all purpose flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, baking soda, cornstarch, juice, baking powder, light soy sauce, steak sauce, apple cider vinegar, distilled vinegar, red wine vinegar, applesauce, old fashioned oats, quick oats, cornmeal, dried cranberries
Brand Name: cereal, popcorn, rice, bread crumbs, peanut butter, peanuts, cocoa powder, cake flour, bread flour, chocolate chips, baking chocolate, granola bars, sauces and condiments.

Store Brand: milk, butter, eggs, chicken breasts, ground beef, pork tenderloin, frozen fruits, ice cream (for smoothies), frozen vegetables, juice, shredded cheese
Brand Name: tea, sliced cheese, cheese sticks, sour cream, cream cheese, coffee creamer, pickles, condiments

There are also household supplies that I prefer in brand names. Paper towels, toilet paper, feminine products, toothpaste, all purpose cleaner, bathroom cleaner, floor cleaner, and I'm sure of some other various things that are escaping me at the moment.

How do you feel about the brand name vs. store name debate? Do you purchase any store brand products that you think are better than the brand names? Tell me! I'm really curious. 

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