Don't Waste Your Money

Store brands vs name brands: Which are better?

More and more items on the grocery shelves are now house brands, such as Target's Archer Farms, Costco's Kirkland, or Walmart's Great Value.

One store -- Aldi -- sells almost only house brands

More and more shoppers are saving money with cheaper house brands.  But is it always a smarter move to go generic?

Mom of two Becky Erb thinks so.  She says she is buying more and more store brands these days for her two young children.

"I love Pat and Jack clothing," she said, "which is Target's brand."

Whether it's kids clothes, bath supplies, or food, Erb says likes many Target items.

Store brands have come a long way since the generic barcoded products of the 1970's.

A Nielsen survey found 70 percent of shoppers say store brands have greatly improved.

Reanne Young agrees. "They have gotten a lot better," she said. "I think the store brands have really invested a lot more in getting better."

House brands are typically 15 percent cheaper, according to Consumer Reports magazine.

Recent blind tests by Consumer Reports magazine and the Krazy Coupon Lady found several top quality store brands products, such as:

                Cheese

                Frozen vegetables

                Ketchup

                Sandwich bags

                Sunscreen, where Walmart Equate was top rated by Consumer Reports.

Surveys show that store brands are making a lot in inroads, especially when it comes to shaving, toothbrushes, and a lot of food.

There are still a few exceptions though.

The taste surveys found name brands still have an edge when it comes to:

                Breakfast cereal

                Coffee

                Cookies (especially Oreos)

                Shampoo

                Skin care products.

Except for those items, however, some moms like Angie Watson could be switching allegiances.

Does she feel the store brands are as good as the name brands?  "I do, I think so," she said.

Bottom line: The shopper is the ultimate winner when it comes to private label brands because they keep costs down for all of us.

And that way you don't waste your money.

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