We are sure you have the same question on your mind when you’re walking down the aisles of your local grocery store, “should I go with the name-brand or the store-brand?” Well you’re not alone. Everyone has the same thought when they see the flashy, colorful name-brand product right next to the plain, dull store-brand product – What’s the difference?
The most obvious difference between name-brand and store-brand products is the price. Sometimes this is a minor difference and sometimes the savings are substantial. The savings vary product to product, but bargain hunters looking to replace their name-brand purchases with store-brand can expect to save an average of 25% overall. Saving 25% on groceries can add up to some serious savings over time, but is it worth it? First and foremost, make sure you are comparing the price correctly. Always look at the price per unit when comparing 2 products. Different brands will have different serving sizes and different overall package sizes, so a cheaper price tag might not necessarily mean a ton of savings.
The next thing to consider is quality. When you start cutting costs by going with the cheaper option, it usually means you’re cutting quality as well. Does this extend to name-brand versus store-brand? Not always! Nowadays there is a big popular brand for just about every different type of product – Tylenol, Oreo, Downy, Tupperware, etc., etc., etc. Just because the big popular brand is a few dollars more does not necessarily mean it is a few dollars more valuable. The difference in quality is rarely noticeable just from looking at the box, it more often has to do with the type of product in question.
Certain categories of products are regulated for safety and quality and will therefore be the same quality no matter what price you pay. One example is medication. So next time you’re thinking about going with NyQuil over the store-brand, just keep in mind that both versions will have the same ingredients in them by law. Another example is staple food products. These include products such as sugar, flour, and corn starch. These are regulated foods and will therefore be essentially the same product whether you buy the big name-brand or the less flashy and expensive store brand.
Now how about snacks and other food? Just because the store-brand is sitting next to it on the shelf does not mean they are the exact same product. For this category, there may be different ingredients going into each product and a different end-result. To this end, you may not want to go just off the price tag. These are going to require a taste test, and it will be up to you to decide which you prefer. Check out what other shoppers have said about the Top 25 Name Brand Vs. Generic Products. You can see even more comparisons here.
One more thing to consider is variety. Big brands have a lot of money and a lot of new products being developed. If there is a brand-new variety of your favorite snack, cold medicine, or cleaning product, it will be coming from a big brand, and will take a while for the store-brand to put out a replica. If you are the type of shopper that is looking for the latest and greatest when you go to the store, keep in mind you will have to pay a premium to get the hottest item on the shelves.
Next time you’re at the store, you’ll know what to look for on the shelves. Save on price, and don’t sacrifice quality.