Generic vs. Name Brand

Are name brands worth the price?

The shopper’s eternal struggle between brand recognition and cost.  Is it more important to purchase the product a celebrity endorses it on a commercial or the generic counterpart that’s $2.00 cheaper?

Is a name brand spaghetti sauce better than a generic?  What makes one brand of cling wrap better than the next?  Does name brand wrap hold more securely?  Have you ever bothered to find out?
Why are generic products so much cheaper?

It’s because they sacrifice quality right?  That’s got to be why they’re so much cheaper!  Well actually, no.  In fact, quality has nothing to do with the difference in prices.

The answer is simple:  Marketing.  Have you ever seen a commercial for Great Value peanut butter?  No, but I’m sure you’ve heard the choosy moms slogan for Jif Peanut Butter.  Repeating it seems unnecessary.

Have you ever learned about a generic product in a magazine? In the newspaper?  On the radio?  No.  Name brands are recognizable because they spend extra money marketing their brand.  Those marketing costs are then directed to you, the consumer, as an increase in the product’s price.

So are generics worse quality, generally no.  You just don’t have them constantly marketed towards you.

Which generic products should you buy?

Time to learn which generics are better than their name brand counterparts!  This is the fun part, saving the you, the citizens of Humbleville, money!

Humble Timothy and I have had the opportunity to test numerous claims about generic brands vs. name brands, and have been able to make one ultimate conclusion.  It depends on what you’re buying.

After conducting 40+ member blind taste tests and face-to-face surveys, we have found that these generic items are usually preferred over the name brand.  These generic products are consistently equivalent or better than the name brand products.

  1. Peanut Butter:  Taste tests showed that Wal-Mart’s store brand “Great Value” peanut butter was highly preferred over Skippy, Peter Pan, and Jif.
  2. Cereal:  Did you know many of the generic store brand cereals are actually manufactured by name brands like Kellogg’s and General Mills?
  3. Over-the-Counter Medication:  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) enforces quality and ingredient requirements on all medication, even prescription.
  4. Soft Drinks:  Taste tests showed that most people could not tell the difference between the generic cola and Pepsi.
  5. Cosmetics:  Drugstores will often duplicate the leading cosmetic companies’ products and sell them for nearly half the price.
  6. Baby Formula:  Much like over-the-counter medication, the FDA requires certain ingredients for the product to be available for purchase as “baby formula.”
  7. Toilet Tissue & Paper Towels:  Disposable items are usually the easiest to swap out for generic brands because quality is less of a concern.
  8. Bottled Water:  If you buy name brand bottled water, you’re easily spending twice the price for nothing more than a colorful label.
  9. Frozen Food:  Generic frozen pizzas, ice cream, and vegetables are all just as tasty as their name brand competitors.
  10. Pet Food and Treats:  Obviously no taste tests were conducted, however comparisons can be made when looking at the ingredients lists.

I could tell you it’s always better to pick the generic, but in a few instances, we have preferred the name brand product, whether it was for taste, product consistency, or convenience.

Are there any times you have preferred the generic product over the name brand?  Let us know!