This week, I had a reporter asking whether store brands were good quality compared to name brands. She asked specifically about organics and conventional staples like flour, butter and sugar.
First, let’s address the issue of the old word, “generic”. Unfortunately, when we think “store brand”, it may still have a negative connotation, based on the initial emergence of the “generic” concept. I say, “Pshaw!”, which can be translated as, “the ‘generic’ of the 80’s is nothing like the ‘store brand’ of today.” So, now that that’s behind us…
USDA certified organic has to follow the same strict guidelines for all manufacturers, whether name brand or store brand. So, when name brand organics are not on sale, store brand organics are always a great alternative.
Store brand organic produce often costs much less than their name brand counterparts. The most dramatic difference I’ve found is on name brand organic mixed greens (salad), which are sometimes almost twice the cost of the store brand organic greens.
Now on to conventional staples (not organic)… Sugar, flour and butter are also very good items to buy as store brand in terms of quality and value.
Here’s just one example of flour from our Grocery Game databases:
At Jewel in Chicago:
Pillsbury 5 lb. flour – 4.39 – goes on sale for 2.49
Jewel 5 lb. flour – 2.79 – recently on sale for 1.99, and with store incentive, final price 1.24
However, when on sale with a coupon, the name brands can be cheaper.