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  • Liann Walborsky
    Liann Walborsky
    » Communications Manager, Tech CU
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    store brands vs. national brands -- same quality?

    July 20, 2012 Posted by: Liann Walborsky

    I remember back when I was growing up, the idea of “generic” first came into view in supermarkets —with an actual black and white label on perhaps, a can of peas, that said, “generic peas.” Novel at first, this concept exploded over the decades with pretty much every supermarket or drugstore chain coming out with its own private label version of just about everything from hand lotion to birthday candles.  

    As consumers, we have been schooled in the fact that all we are paying for is the “fancy name” when it comes to national brands. When looking for deals while shopping for the family, most experts recommend going with the store’s label — due to a generally lower price. And, for the most part, the overall sense is that we are receiving the same quality — except in a few instances when an established brand name may actually be better. Smart Money took a recent look at a few of the store-branded items you may want to avoid 

    Paper products – From my own personal experience, I have decided to stick with the big brands for paper towels and napkins. Yes, there is a difference. The store branded paper towel would wad up into nothing while I cleaned up a spill. Same goes for the napkins. The extra cost a consumer incurs apparently does lead to better strength in napkins, paper plates and other paper goods.  

    Cleaners – According to Smart Money, with a store brand, you might risk having detergent that is simply not as strong. Other cleaning items as well (windows, dish detergent) have been proven to be less effective at times.  

    Diapers – I always stuck to my Pampers or Huggies, and most consumers do as well. Store-branded diapers may lead to more leakage and often don’t seem to provide a snug fit.  

    Macaroni and Cheese – This has been a tough category for store brands to break into. Most consumers are very loyal to Kraft all the way. Few have any interest in trying a different brand when it comes to their kids’ favorite food.  

    Coupons can make all the difference – The whole reason most consumers are drawn to their local store’s brand is usually based on price. However, with clever couponing, you can often buy the big, national brands at the same or lower price than what you might get otherwise. So, do your research and you will find a deal.  

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