I hate to admit it, but there was a time when I turned my nose up at generic plain labels and store brands, and any attempts to discuss their merits, would get my dander up. I radiated to what I considered to be my cream of the crop favorite brands. And you couldn’t convince me otherwise.
Well, times have changed and generic brands have improved. If you want to stay on budget food-wise, you must at least try them and explore the savings and value these brands offer.
As I found out, these lesser food brands have also improved quite a bit in the last few years and some even outweigh in quantity, while others are comparable in size, but out-taste the brands I used to love.
I do still have some favorite brands that I have held onto, but I am now more willing than ever, to at least try these other foods. And the outcome has been surprising. I would estimate that my stock of dry goods and food tins is now mostly lesser brands. And I don’t merely buy them for the cost savings, I also like the taste of these particular foods.
While many lesser brands are comparable in taste to higher brands, there are exceptions – some generic brands actually taste better – you did hear that right. Some actually taste much better than their top brand equivalents. I used to live near one grocery retailer that had a store brand of pie filling that was way better than the leading brand for a good $2 less a tin.
Take for instance, the NoName® Beans – they taste better than a higher brand I used to purchase and the same brand of Cream Corn and Kidney Beans shown are comparable in taste and tin size is larger. But these NoName® tins are much less than other well-known brands, sometimes there’s almost a dollar saved on each tin. The President’s Choice Rice Cereal box is much bigger and a few dollars less than the leading brand box and though there’s a slight difference in taste, it does taste very good.
I’ve found tremendous savings with store brands as well. And with many food items like white vinegar where taste is difficult if at all possible to compare, you can save several dollars each week. That tends to add up over a month, leaving money for other household expenses.
Generic foods are actual brands such as NoName and President’s Choice (featured) – there are lots more including store brands. Just because they are lesser-known brands does not mean the foods are lesser quality. In many cases, the scrimping is in the label design and packaging, so consumers can reap the savings and still get good food.
So, don’t hesitate to try generic or lesser brands – you’ll realize substantial food savings. But I’d recommend you only buy one or two and not stock up on a certain food right away, till you do the taste test for yourself. You’ll eventually zero in on certain brands you’ll love, while others may not be as desirable. When taste is comparable, switching is worth it.
There are exceptions of course, when a generic brand fails to make the grade taste-wise but don’t give up the chase. There’s lots of variety in lower priced brands to try out. And if you have tried a certain store brand a few years ago, remember that recipes could have improved. I found that out with block cheese – the same brand was now much more tasteful and worth buying for the savings.
One word of caution though, remember to check ingredients. One thing you don’t want to sacrifice is food quality in way of preservatives and additives. Always know what’s in the foods you’re feeding your family.
Additives do vary per brand. Recently when I was making a veggie salad that required Tomato Soup, I was surprised to find that the generic soup brand had less preservatives than the well-known brand. That was important information considering I was making this dish for a child with lots of allergies. So read the labels.
When trying other brands, you want to get the best value possible for your money, without sacrificing food quality. But when size and taste are comparable, but price is much better – the generic brand wins. Other household goods are available in generic brands, so you can save more by watching prices and comparing quantity and value.
It’s your budget, stretch it out and save – one tin at a time.