How They Stack Up
Many household products hold up just as well as brand names, according to studies by Consumer Reports. Kirkland Signature Premium paper towels from Costco work just as well as Bounty, the popular Procter & Gamble brand (Stock Quote: PG), and Great Value Slider food storage bags from Wal-Mart are just as durable as Ziploc Easy Zipper bags made by S.C. Johnson.
In addition to household products, some store brand foods have passed Consumer Reports taste tests, proving that they’re just as good as national brands. Instead of Kellogg's Mini-Wheats, you can try Kroger Mini-Wheats, or instead of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, you can opt for Malt-O-Meal Frosted Flakes, Consumer Reports says. For oatmeal, try Wal-Mart’s Great Value Quick Oats 100% Natural or A&P’s America's Choice Instant Maple & Brown Sugar oatmeal. Kroger’s Self-Rising Crust 4-cheese Pizza and Winn-Dixie’s Prestige Premium chocolate ice cream were also highly rated in taste tests.
When Store Brands Don’t Cut It
If you’re particular about the tartness of A1 Steak Sauce or the exact flavor of Miracle Whip, generic options may not be right for you. Store brands that emphasize value may contain cheaper ingredients, and even when national brands manufacture a different type of product to be sold as a store brand, they make it to the store’s own specifications, which could mean a change in ingredients, Consumer Reports says.
Check the ingredients list, take a look at the product itself if you can and decide what qualities you’re willing to give up for the savings. And If you’re partial to Kleenex Cottonelle toilet paper with Aloe and Vitamin E, you may not be able to find a suitable generic. But if you’re really trying to cut back on spending, the store brand may be good enough.
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