Store Brands Vs. Name Brands

Saving money at the supermarket is no easy feat, but buying store brands can help.

Tod Marks with Consumer Reports found, "Buying store brands can save you a small fortune. Anywhere from 15 to 30% on average, depending on the category."

Consumer Reports just taste-tested 57 store-brand foods from five major retailers -- Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, Kmart, and Target, plus Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.

It turns out 33 of the 57 store brands proved as high quality as the national brands, though they're not necessarily identical.

Tod says, "When we evaluate a store brand and say it's as good as a national brand, that doesn't mean it's a dead ringer in terms of the flavor. The fact is products can be equally high in quality but maybe the store brand has different seasonings or spices."

However, Target's Market Pantry Ketchup tasted similar to Heinz.

The mayo from Whole Foods, Target, Costco, and Walmart, while different from Hellmann's, was just as good quality.

And listen up all you die-hard Breyers ice cream fans.

Tod points out, "Walmart's Great Value Vanilla ice cream came pretty close to Breyers. And not only that - it costs a third less!"

And when it comes to nuts, store brands are the way to go. Consumer Reports' taste tests of cashews showed all seven of the store brands were actually better than the national brand - Emerald.

Considering many stores will refund your money if you don't like a store brand, what do you have to lose - and you could save plenty.

Interesting to note, store brands are not always a bargain. Consumer Reports found five out of the ten store brands from Whole Foods actually cost more than the national brand.

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