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Old 11-18-2006, 12:33 AM   #1
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Question Name Brands vs. Store Brands

I know some people who would never stoop to buying a store brand over a name brand, regardless of their financial situation and the price. I find this rather funny.

For example, if you're buying canned beans, does it really make any difference if they are Bush's Best or the store brand? Chances are, they came from the same place. If I'm buying canned tomato sauce because good fresh tomatoes aren't available I've found no difference between the store brand and the name brand. Same thing with dried pasta. Same thing with frozen vegetables. The only difference I've ever found is name brands have a nationally (in the U.S., at least) advertised name on them. They generally cost more unless they are on sale and you have a double-coupon.

Things like toilet paper and paper towels aren't food-related so I'm not talking about those items.

How say you? Are you a name brand only shopper or do you buy store brands?



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Old 11-18-2006, 12:51 AM   #2
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For the most part, I don't care. But, I have found occassions where I may not like a particular generic brand as much as I do a big brand name or another generic brand. For me, I'll try it, but if I don't like it I won't buy it again. For example, ketchup. I find that I don't like the Del Monte brand. But some store brands are ok. For my Asian sauces and canned foods, I'm very picky. I buy the brands I like over and over. Not often do I try a new brand.

Oh, I saw a show America's Test Kitchen, they did a taste test on tomato sauce and to some, I guess they can tell the difference. It was a blind test.

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Old 11-18-2006, 01:09 AM   #3
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Well of course if you tried it and don't care for it, don't buy it again. But do you know anyone who won't even try? I do.
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Old 11-18-2006, 04:46 AM   #4
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I usually buy store brand vegetables, except for a few, like frozen corn. Some are better than others. I season them up anyway - butter s/p !
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Old 11-18-2006, 05:16 AM   #5
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Personally, I prefer the store brands. Where I live, they are of very good quality and significantly cheaper (often as much as 50%) than name brands. My only exception is tomato paste for which I prefer a name brand because it is less sour than the rest. I am often amazed that people go for name brands at ridiculous prices. I know that this is purely because of the "stooping down" effect that has epidemic proportions here.

As an indication of anti-stooping down mentality, consider the following:

A few years back, a new (but well-established in Germany as well as other EU countries) supermarket chain opened in this country. Their products are excellent, most of them coming from Germany, and their prices unbeatable most likely due to the large volume deals they are able to secure. After suffering from very little acceptance locally, they found the ultimate solution to reach respectability, ie. raise their prices by 30%. This finally put them firmly into the local map!!!
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Old 11-18-2006, 05:46 AM   #6
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The chances are good that the store brand is canned by the "big" brand anyway. I buy what is on sale for what I need.
I love to find things like Muir Glen tomatoes on sale, but will rarely buy them full price.
Store brand tuna may not be as good.
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Old 11-18-2006, 05:51 AM   #7
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It's funny, isn't it, how many people view buying a less expensive brand of something means they are "stooping down" (that's what I call it, anyway). Like one is lowering oneself by saving some money. I don't understand it.

Example here: John and I were working at the Stone Arch art show about - gosh, has it been almost 4 years ago? We got done setting up for the show and went to a restaurant across the street from the park to have something to eat. We ordered the mushroom-swiss burger (delicious, I might add!). It was a $15 hamburger with fries. I happened to comment on my way out that it was tasty but was a really expensive burger. A woman (dressed to the nines) overheard me and said something snide, like "Well of course, you get what you pay for." Heh, it was a burger and fries. Not McD's but nothing spectacular.

So okay, I'm a smart-a** I'm pretty darned sure she wasn't going to walk across the street and spend $10,000 on one of John's paintings. So I said over my shoulder, "Yeah, and if you're an idiot you get overcharged every time."

That same show, the next day, we were invited by one of his repeat patrons for dinner. She has several of his works hanging in her condo and we were invited to have drinks after the show. We had cheese and crackers and sliced baguette on her gated 2nd floor terrace entrance which overlooks the Mississippi River. She then suddenly wheeled a grill out of nowhere and asked "Who wants cheese on their burgers?" Then she promptly announced one of her guests was the grill master and had him grill hamburger! So we had cheeseburgers , cooked to order, some sort of potato dish prepared by one of her guests (not fries!) more wine and lots of laughter. We talked about her Disney print of Mickey; apparently her ex's father did it. Cool! She had Mickey and Minnie Mouse salt & pepper shakers on her dining room table.

But so much for snobbery. The rich eat cheeseburgers, too. And appreciate Disney characters.

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Old 11-18-2006, 06:35 AM   #8
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Whats ever on sale. Or the cheaper brand unless I know that that brand isn't very good.
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Old 11-18-2006, 09:46 AM   #9
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I usually buy whatever is least expensive. I'm a bargain shopper and use coupons whenever I can, so I can frequently get very good deals. Since all companies have to follow at least the minimum FDA requirements, I have no problem with store brands.

One difference between name brands and store brands is, obviously, cost in advertising. Print and TV ads don't come cheap. Quality is another issue. Canned green beans, for example, will be more uniform in size in a name brand. In off/store brands, the cans might contain beans of many sizes and cuts. Doesn't bother me.

Since I'm rarely influenced by advertising, I see no need to pay for it. I'd rather have two cans of what I view as a quite acceptable product than one that has a "name."
"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
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Old 11-18-2006, 09:59 AM   #10
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I don't care what brand something is if it is good quality! A name brand doesn't mean something is better than some off-brand ... it just means it's usually going to cost more because of their advertising costs. I generally find less expensive brands are just as good as more expensive "name" brands.

And, as has been noted - sometimes a dozen different brands come out of the same processing plant with a dozen or more different labels. Remember the recent e-coli spinach scare? And, there was something on TV a few weeks ago one of the Discovery channels I think, on "How It's Made" or some other not FoodNetwork show, that showed a plant that processed canned vegetables and put them into the warehouse until they got an order ... and then they ran them through the labeling process for the brand to fit the order.

I have never noticed any real difference in frozen vegetables.

I do notice a bigger difference in canned tomatoes and tomato sauces, but not so much between US brands. Depending on what I am making (Italian sauces mainly) I will splurge and make the extra trip to a store that carries Muir Glen or San Marsano brands - but I did find an odd brand of San Marsano tomatoes, don't remember the name but I remember what the can looked like, that was 1/2 the price and I thought a little sweeter (less acidic). But a lot of the differences in tomatoes comes not from processing as much as from the type of tomato, soil conditions, climate, and growing season. Kind of like grapes for wine and olives for oil.

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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