Grocery bills are high enough as is and if there is one area we’ve learned to cut back is buying more generic food brands. Generic foods are usually cheaper priced than the name brand items.
When we first made the switch we were a little cautious to the idea of buying generics. If you’re one of those people who have had a bad experience with buying generic foods – don’t worry you’re not the only one!
Most people have had the bad experience of, how RC Cola doesn’t taste exactly like Coca Cola. Or Fruity O’s don’t quite match up to the flavor of Fruit Loops.
Most of time generic food taste as good as their name-brand items or even better! The problem is that most people have bad experiences with generics and never go back.
Stores are incentivized to make their generics taste better than their on brand versions. That is because they are able to keep more money for themselves and keep you loyal to their brand. If you haven’t tried generics in a while, read through these tips and give them a try again. I promise you won’t wallet and
Here are some tips to figure out which generic foods are the best to buy.
This might sound silly, but you have to go to the right place to get good generic foods.
When it comes to going out to eat for a nice dinner, you wouldn’t go to McDonald’s for dinner. Instead, you might choose a sit-down restaurant for that nice dinner.
You should have the same mindset when it comes to buying generic foods, you need to go to the right place for your generics. As much as we love going to Walmart, we rarely buy the generic brands there. Instead, we go for better grocery store chains.
When it comes to choosing the right grocery store, you can probably separate the type of grocery stores in your area by the more expensive vs. less expensive. You want to go to the expensive grocery stores.
Some examples of these types of grocery stores (I included some non-traditional grocery stores) are:
The only exception to this rule I would possibly make is Trader Joe’s and ALDI. However, many of their items both stores sell are created by themselves.
Knowing there are different generic brands within stores
Ever walk through Target and notice they have an Archer Farms brand and a Market Pantry brand? Those are both Target generic brands! If you ever compared Market Pantry to Archer Farms it’s a night and day difference. What gives?
Some stores have at least two types of generic brands. There is usually one type which I would call the “basic” brand and the nicer “premium” brand.
To explain the difference between the two the best way to explain it is below:
“Basic” Generic Brands
“Premium” Generic Brands
Significantly cheaper than the name brand
Slightly cheaper/about the same than the name brand
Dark colors, thicker packaging
Designed to match the taste of the name brand version
Designed to be better than the taste of the name brand version
More often not, if you go to the “nicer” stores, your basic brands will be very much similar to the name brand comparisons.
If you are skeptical, take a look at the package details. Generics and the name brand usually share the same manufacturer!
Where things get very good is the “premium” generics. Examples of these include the following brands:
H-E-B Central Market
Kroger’s Private Selection
Costco’s Kirkland Signature
The premium generic brands are designed to taste better for about the same cost than the name brand cost. These brands are designed to hook customers in and keep them coming back to their stores.
Stick to cans and less processed packaged food for your generics. Taste your sodas.
Cans other than sodas and less processed packaged foods are your best bets for generic foods. More often than not, the generic product uses the same canning and packaging facility as the name brand.
For instance, you’re not going to have much difference between tomato sauce from generic and name brand. The reason being is you can only do so many different things to create a tomato sauce.
On the other hand, more processed packaged food like Doritos chips are a very unique taste. So even if the generic food may come from the same factory, there are other ingredients that go into the Doritos chips that takes more guessing to replicate.
It’s for the same reason you should avoid sodas. Sodas such as Coke and Pepsi use very secret ingredients that require a lot more precision to replicate.
If you’re uncertain, wait until a sale. They will definitely have them
Let’s say you finish reading this post and you walk away still uncertain about generic foods.
Generic foods will always have sales especially toward the end of a financial quarter for the grocery store. It is the easiest way a grocery store can make a quick profit for relatively less loss since they didn’t need to purchase the generic food from another company.
We’ve had the wonderful opportunity of moving through the U.S. It’s through these sales that we have found many of our personal favorite foods which include, but aren’t limited to:
Wegman’s tomato sauce
H-E-B Bare Bread
Wegman’s soda water
Safeway Select Moose Tracks Ice Cream
Archer Farm’s nut mixes
Publix Graham Crackers and baking foods (chocolate, butter, etc.)
Great Value Oyster Crackers.
Clearly, we might have a slight bias toward some stores.
As the famous Lavar Burton from Reading Rainbow used to say, “Don’t take my word for it” – give it a try! You’ll be thoroughly impressed with how much money you’ll save at very little cost to taste.
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Have you ever tried generics? If not, what is holding you back? If so, what are your favorite generics?
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