10 Name Brands You Should Buy at the Grocery Store (and 5 Times Generic is Better)
Many households buy a specific brand of product for one reason — it’s name brand. When something carries a name brand, it usually elicits a feeling of trust in that product. You can justify the price because you know the quality of the brand. You don’t have to think twice about whether you should try something new from a name brand because your satisfaction is pretty consistent.
This isn’t the case with every household though — many choose to buy store brands for a variety of reasons. They can save money, they don’t want to support a name brand, or maybe the off-brand is actually a better product. I can think of a handful of snacks off the top of my head that I prefer the flavor of the off-brand to the name brand — and I’m far from the only one with that opinion.
Both ideologies have convincing reasons. Sometimes the name brand is better, sometimes generic is better. From foods, to cleaning products, to over-the-counter medications, we usually do our own forms of research and settle on which brand we will be getting from that point on. For this article, we’ve constructed a list of 10 name brands you should buy at the grocery store — and five times generic is better!
Coffee | Starbucks, International Delight, Folgers
When it comes to coffee, people can have pretty strong feelings about their brands. From the moment they wake up, the only way to start their day is with their favorite coffee. A poorly crafted cup can ruin more than just a morning. Don't disrupt the sacred morning ritual!
More often than not, name brands are the chosen brands. Starbucks, International Delight, and Folgers are a few of the most popular brands that hit the coffee pots. Most people willingly choose to spend a little more money to ensure they wake up on the right side of the bed. When it comes to coffee, it’s worth sticking to the name brand!
Cookies | Oreos, Chips Ahoy!, Pepperidge Farm
As many people’s favorite snacks, cookies are another category where you don’t want to skip the name brands. While store brand cookies may be good (I know many that are!), they cannot compare to the greatness of many of the name brands. Many steer clear of store brands.
Brands like Oreo, Chips Ahoy!, and Pepperidge Farm have perfected the cookie-making process and have created cookies that stand above other brands. In multiple blind taste tests, testers consistently preferred Oreos to every other brand. From texture to flavor, spending a little extra money is worthwhile.
Condiments | Heinz, Kraft, Hellman's
When you reach for a dressing to put on your salad, is your first choice a name brand or a generic brand? For many people, the only condiments they will even consider buying have a widely known name brand on the label. Only the best for their hot dogs and hamburgers!
Name brands like Heinz, Kraft, and Hellman’s offer a large variety of condiments to meet your tastebuds' needs. Whether it’s dressing, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, tartar sauce, or barbeque sauce, the flavors of the name brand greats outshine all the lackluster generic brands.
Shampoo | Redken, Biolage, Joico
So many shampoos, so many choices! If you are willing to spend the extra money, many people recommend name brands due to quality. While you can certainly find decent generic shampoos, name brand shampoos have been used by so many for so long, you can trust the quality.
Although they can get to be pretty expensive and may not be available at a local store, brands like Redken, Biolage, and Joico have withstood the test of time and remain some of the top shampoo brands. When it comes to your hair, do you really want to risk the side effects of a lower-quality brand?
Paper Products | Bounty, Charmin, Hefty
Ever overloaded a paper plate and wished it was a little thicker? That’s a situation that can turn messy and embarrassing FAST. Kind of like cheap toilet paper when you really need something higher quality. That’s why when it comes to paper products, name brand is the way to go.
Though they do tend to be a little more expensive, the added expense accounts for the higher quality of the products. With these paper products, you need them to function well. That’s why we’ve placed paper products under the “go with the name brand” category.
Baking Products | Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Hershey's
Put your apron on and grab some name brand ingredients for all your baking needs! In blind taste tests, testers usually described generic ingredients as blander. A vast majority preferred baked goods with name brand ingredients. When it comes to chocolate chips, we demand the best of the best!
While generic brands are a little easier on the wallet, substituting flavorful ingredients with lower quality ingredients just isn’t the way to go. With a little bit of a splurge, your baked goods will be tastier and have your guests asking for your recipes!
Juice | Ocean Spray, Tropicana, Simply Orange
Juice is another category people prefer name brands over generic brands. Similar to the baking products, generic juices tend to be blander. Name brands usually taste much richer and sweeter. I don’t know what’s worse than subpar orange juice in the morning.
Besides less flavor, generic juices also tend to have more preservatives and artificial additives in their makeup. Who would want to save a few cents to have less flavor and more preservatives in their juice? The majority of people refuse to take the generic route.
Peanut Butter | Jif, Peter Pan, Skippy
Lower prices and oily textures go together like generic peanut butter and jelly. It’s not a savory combo. Peanut butter is a food that when it’s good, it is oh so good — but choose a cheaper peanut butter brand and you might regret it.
Most people insist on buying name brands when it comes to their peanut butter. Instead of trying to save a few cents, reach for brands like Jif, Peter Pan, or Skippy. These name brands will provide your tastebuds with maximum peanut butter quality.
Yogurt | Dannon, Yoplait, Chobani
Many people look to yogurt to fuel their body by eating it for breakfast or enjoying it as a snack. The consensus seems to be that people don’t settle for the cheaper versions of yogurt — only name brands will do. When choosing a brand, great flavor is the biggest deciding factor.
There are several options to choose from when it comes to name brand yogurt. You can’t go wrong with Dannon, Yoplait, or Chobani. These brands have been some of the most popular brands for years due to their amazing flavor. Just add some fruit or granola!
Syrup | Mrs. Butterworth's, Pearl Milling Company, Griffin's
When you think about syrup, you think of a rich, thick stream of goodness drizzling your pancakes or waffles. What you don’t think about is a weak, semi-sweet watery substance covering your food. That’s why when it comes to syrup, name brand is the way to go.
Many of the generic brands are cheaper because they usually offer a one-note type of flavor. Whereas most of the name brand syrups that people know and love are complex and offer an array of flavors within the syrup. Be sure to splurge a little to get the good stuff!
OTC Drugs | Pain relievers, Anti-inflammatory, Allergy Relief
As stated by the FDA, “a generic medicine is required to be the same as a brand-name medicine in dosage, safety, effectiveness, strength, stability, and quality, as well as in the way it is taken. Generic medicines also have the same risks and benefits as their brand-name counterparts.”
Because of this, it is the general consensus that buying generic forms of over the counter medicines is the way to go. Why pay extra for medicines that do the same job as their cheaper counterparts? Any kind of OTC pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, or allergy reliever should work about the same. Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), and antihistamine (Benadryl) are just a few examples.
Cereals | Tootie Fruities, Marshmallow Mateys, Honey Nut Scooters
Surprisingly, cereals are a food in which you should totally save some money and buy generic brands. When put to a taste test, many tasters either couldn’t tell a significant difference between name brand and generic. Many even preferred the generic flavor over the name brand!
Some specific cereals you should definitely give a try: Tootie Fruities instead of Froot Loops, Marshmallow Mateys in place of Lucky Charms, and Honey Nut Scooters to replace Honey Nut…you guessed it, Cheerios. Save some money and buy a generic cereal brand today!
Soft Drinks | Sam's Cola, Dr. Thunder, Mountain Lightning
When it comes to the best soft drinks, there are many who will die on this hill. You have your Dr. Pepper lovers, Coca-Cola fans, and so on. However, through a blind taste test, there were some shocking results. There was no significant difference between those who preferred name brands and those who preferred generic.
The generic brands tend to have a good report when it comes to sweetness and flavor. They do a good job of keeping up with the top name brands. There are several who actually prefer the generic soft drinks to any name brands. Sam’s Cola, Dr. Thunder, and Mountain Lightning all give their name brand counterparts a run for their money!
Staple Foods | Flour, Sugar, Cooking Oil
For staple foods, there is not much of a change between each brand — staple foods only contain one ingredient. In fact, many staples often come from the same manufacturers, so they are literally the same. No sense in spending extra money for a name brand.
A few staple foods include things like flour, sugar, cooking oil, vinegar, and baking soda. Since they only contain one ingredient, there is no significant difference between any two brands. So save a little money and reach for a generic brand next time you’re looking for your staple foods.
Snack Foods | Chips, Crackers, Ice Cream
When you think of snack foods, name brand chips, crackers, ice cream, etc. may come to mind. Doritos, Ritz, and Breyers are all extremely well known and loved — but how would they do in a blind taste test against generic brands? Not as well as you would think.
There were a few generic brands of snack foods that hung tight with the biggest name brands. Walmart’s Great Value sandwich cookies ranked extremely high, as well as their Great Value vanilla ice cream. Trader Joe’s Ode to the Classic Potato Chip also earned above-average ratings. Generic treasure is out there!