When you’re grocery shopping it is almost always a rule that store brands are cheaper than the name brands. Some people stay loyal to their preferred brand name while others will buy whichever brand is cheapest. The brand loyal folks will say that the name brand food that costs more tastes better and the ones that buy the cheapest stuff will say that it all tastes the same.
So the question is, who is right? Can you really tell the difference between the store and name brands and if so, which one tastes better? I personally don’t have the time, money, or a large enough group of people to objectively test the store brand vs name brand debate, but luckily Consumer Reports does!
Do Store Brands Taste As Good As National Brands?
According to Consumer Reports,
Our expert tasters judged 33 of 57 store-brand foods as good as or better than the national brand.
This also means that 24 of store-brand foods weren’t as good or better than the national brands. So what does that tell me? It is pretty much a toss up whether or not a store-brand is better than a national brand. Plus, you have to realize that different people have different tastes.
If Consumer Reports used a different group of expert tasters would they have ended up with separate results? So what should you do? Go for the store brands or stick with the national brands?
It Isn’t All Or Nothing
Despite what everyone wants you to think, you don’t have to go all or nothing with every decision you make. You don’t have to buy only store brands or only national brands when it comes to your food. I personally have some foods that I’ll always buy the cheaper store brands and other foods that I’m extremely brand loyal to. But how do you find out which products you would prefer the cheaper store brand?
How To Figure Out Which You Brand Prefer
I suggest a simple test, but it involves more than one person. When you need a lot of a particular item that has a national brand and a cheaper store brand, buy both. Then, when you would normally want to use the item, have someone else prepare both brands at the same time but don’t allow the person preparing the items to let you know which is which. Make sure they make multiple samples of each and have a key of which samples are which.
Don’t let them prepare the items in front of you. Don’t even look at the items. You can even blindfold yourself if you don’t trust yourself. Then eat or use each item and then write down your thoughts on each one. You can try different combinations of the brands and do multiple tests to make sure your brain isn’t messing with you.
On the first test, you could have 2 samples of the national brand. On the next, do one national brand and one store brand. You can even do three samples in one round of testing. Then compare your results with the key to see which brand you really prefer. If you end up liking the store brand, you might have saved yourself a lot of money in the long run. If not, you’ll know you prefer the national brand and can quit wondering. Can’t tell the difference? Go with the cheaper brand!
Which do you normally prefer? The national brands or the store brands? Do you buy national brands you prefer or do you always save money with the store brands? Or do you fear store brands so much you’ve never tried them? Let us know in the comments!