Brand Name vs. Store Brands: How to Get the Best Bargain

grocery cart
grocery cart

Supermarkets stock dozens of options for any given food item, and if you're trying to save money, generic or store brands usually offer a better deal. However, this isn't always the case. So, which products will get you the most bang for your buck?

According to Time, many products from store brand lines -- like Target's Archer Farms and Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value -- are produced at the same factories as brand-name companies. The ingredients are nearly identical, but the packaging is different.

In fact, when Consumer Reports conducted a blind taste test, many of the off-brand items came out on top or tied with their brand-name counterparts. "The study reaffirms that store brands are worth a try," said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports' senior projects editor. "For a family that spends $100 a week on groceries, the savings could add up to more than $1,500 a year."

By opting for store brands, you can save anywhere from 30 to 50 percent on your shopping items without skimping on quality or taste. However, many big brands are reputable and have the perception of higher quality, which no-name or generic brands may not have.

If you're on the fence about purchasing an off-brand product, Andrew Schrage, founder of Money Crashers, has come up with a few quick rules of thumb to go by. According to the Business Insider article, you can save on generic non-perishable snacks, cleaning products, paper goods and diapers, but when in doubt, you should stick to name-brand dairy products, meat, pet food and baby food.

If you're accustomed to brand name goods, try swapping one or two items to start. Even switching a few items on your shopping list will help you keep more money in your pocket.