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A Frugal Comparison: Store Brand vs Name Brand Food

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Have you jumped on the Store Brand bandwagon yet? If not, you are likely spending more money at the grocery store than you should be. I’m shining a frugal spotlight on the subject and comparing Store Brand vs Name Brand Food.

Buying store brand food is one of my top tips for Buying Groceries on a Budget – and I often tout that finding ways to save money on food has a big impact on your overall monthly budget. However, many Name Brand loyalists are hesitant to make the switch.

Are Store Brands as good as Name Brands? How much can you save by buying Store Brand products?

I understand the angst. Name Brands have communicated their worth (through advertising) and proven their trustworthiness (through quality). But is the upcharge worth it?

I think everyone is a bit wary of change – and it can be difficult to break up with your much-loved Name Brand food products. So, let’s talk it through – and then we’ll take a look at a real-life price comparison of the cost difference between store brand and name brand food items.

Name Brand vs. Store Brand Food by

Store Brand vs Name Brand – Is there a Taste Difference?

The biggest concern people have when comparing Name Brand vs Store brand is the taste.

There is no doubt that Name Brands have heavily invested their resources to ensure that their products are of the highest standards in both taste and quality. It is quite literally what customers pay for when purchasing Name Brand items.

However, have you ever wondered who makes Store Brands? Many Store Brand products are manufactured by the exact same companies that make Name Brand foods. In nearly all cases, Store Brand foods are produced by high-quality manufactures, wholesalers or regional brands that then label the goods as Store Brands.

Therefore, in most cases, the difference in taste is minimal, at best. Personally, I find numerous Store Brand food items actually taste better than the Name Brand competitor. Add in the fact that they cost less and it’s a win-win for your frugal grocery list.

Why Do People Buy Name Brand Products if they Cost More?

There are many reasons why people continue to purchase more expensive Brand Name products over the cheaper Store Brand equivalent. Namely, Brand Name products have forged a relationship with buyers. Furthermore, in the not-so-distant past, Store Brand food was an inferior product – and some people struggle to be convinced that things have changed.

Additionally, Name Brand foods excel at innovation and variety, which allows consumers to try something new without too much risk of disappointment. The same variations are not always available in the Store Brand foods.

Sleek advertising, better presentation and prominent shelf placement are other unconscious reasons why some shoppers sadly forego the savings of Store Brand foods in favor of pricier Name Brands.

What about No Name Brand Products?

Generic – or No Name – products are a little bit different from Store Brands – although the two names are sometimes still used interchangeably.

Generic Name products are food items that display no brand whatsoever. A good example is a can of beans. The label, which is usually black and white, will simply state what is inside the can – Black Beans – with no indication of brand.

Most Generic Name products have been phased out in favor of Store Brand labeled products. That said, some discount grocery stores still carry Generic Name food items for basic goods.

In my experience, when you make the comparison of Brand Name vs Generic Name products, there is a noticeable difference in taste. The Generic products are offered at the lowest price – and they tend to have a lower quality than Name Brands and Store Brands, as well.

That said, Generic Name food products should not be discounted by those who are trying to slash their food budget. Generic Name products can be a key ingredient for making $1 Meals.

Is it Always Better to Buy Store Brand Food?

Generally speaking, I do believe that Store Brand foods offer the best value for money – and my shopping cart is regularly filled with Store Brand labeled items.

That said, there are some cases in which I prefer the national Name Brand over Store Brand.

For Name Brand vs Off Brand products, I have created categories, a sort of hierarchy, of goods. Of course, you will need to tailor your list to your own personal tastes, but I’m sharing how my list shakes out.

Better than Name Brand Products

Some Store Brand products are superior to Name Brands – and when you add in the cost savings, it’s a no brainer to choose these products over the National Brand.

Examples of what makes my list are items like canned beans, crackers, sliced bread and granola.

Equal to Name Brand

Many Store Brand foods are right on par with Name Brands, so picking up the item that is essentially the same, just less expensive, helps keep a little more money in your pocket.

Some common items that I buy where I cannot detect a taste difference between Store Brand and Name Brand are oatmeal, spices and meats.

Store Brand Worth the Savings

Sometimes the Name Brand has the edge when it comes to taste – but it is such a slight difference that is still worth buying the cheaper Store Brand for the monetary savings.

Pasta, rice, eggs and pretzels are a few of the Store Brand items that I buy, even though they don’t taste quite as good as the Name Brand.

Store Brand Not Worth It

Sometimes Store Brand food falls short of expectations – and it is worth it to pony up the money for the name brand that tastes better.

The few Name Brand products that I prefer are ones that I rarely buy – but mayo, packaged baked goods and canned soups are Name Brands that I purchase over Store Brand.

Store Brand vs. Name Brand Food How Much Can You Save by

Price Comparison of Name Brand vs Store Brand Food Items

I recently compared the regular prices of several Name Brand products versus the Store Brand equivalent for items that I regularly buy. It would cost more than $55 to purchase the Name Brand items, while the Store Brand equivalents only cost $34.50 in total. That is a difference of more than $20 on just 11 items!

Food ItemName Brand PriceStore Brand Price
Sausage (Kielbasa)$5.49 $3.59
Eggs$3.49 $1.39
Canned Beans$1.59$0.79
Thai Jasmine Rice$4.99$3.99
Block Cheese$4.29$2.49
Italian Spice$7.49$3.50
Name Brand vs Store Brand Price Comparison

Tips for Buying Must Have Brand Name Items

It is clear that purchasing Store Brand foods will save you money, but as we already discussed, it might not be worth the sacrifice in taste. For those few items (oh, mayo, I’m looking at you!) where the Store Brand is unacceptable to your taste buds, there are still a few money-saving opportunities.

Use Coupons to Buy Name Brand Things for Cheap

Coupons are a great way to save money on national Name Brand items. From paper coupons to digital store coupons to coupon apps, there are a number of ways to save by couponing.

Keep in mind, however, that some grocery stores offer coupons (usually to loyalty members) for Store Brand items, too. Boom! That is savings on top of savings!

Wait for Brand Name Goods to Go on Sale…and Stock Up

Brand Name items often go on sale – and sometimes the sale prices can be lower than the Store Brand prices. The savings increase when you can double down with a coupon.

When your favorite Brand Name products go on sale, it’s time to stock up! However, before you get too carried away, always check the Best By dates and have a plan for how you will use the items before they pass their expiration date.

Be Willing to Try Store Brands

Buying the Store Brand can be risky when you know you love a certain Name Brand product…but you will never really know until you try it. Start by swapping out one Brand Name item for a Store Brand product on each shopping trip.

Or, if you are up for a big challenge, join my $5 a Day Food Challenge – and see how low you can go with your grocery budget.

Furthermore, don’t limit your Store Brand purchases to the food items. Check out the difference in prices for Store Brand vs Name Brand medicine and home goods, too – all of which can add up to big savings!

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Interested in more of my Frugal Food Tips? I round them all up (including my favorite Frugal Snacks) on my Frugal Food blog page!

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