Saturday, December 29, 2018

Are Brand Names Really Better?

Are brand-name products really better than the in-house version of the same item?
The somewhat unhelpful answer is "it depends." The only way to find out is by trial and error.
For instance, I have truly never found a better dishwashing detergent than Cascade Platinum. I stock up on this shelf-stable item while it is on sale, because the difference in quality between Cascade Platinum and the store dishwasher detergent packs, or even other brand name packs, is clearly noticeable to me.
Another example is Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches. I'm not saying these are the most nutritionally complete products in the world, but they are tasty. The store version of similar items was disgusting enough that most of them went into the trash.
Red Baron pizza is miles better than the store brand pizza, not that I consider either one to be premium pizza by a long shot. I stock the freezer with Red Baron when it goes on sale.
However, when it comes to items like canned vegetables, I'll buy whatever is cheapest. I haven't noticed any difference in taste between the store brand and the national brands.
Similarly, the store brand of items such as crackers tends to be comparable. I noticed virtually no difference between the store brand of thin wheat crackers and actual Wheat Thins, except that the store brand is not endorsed by Brian and Stewie of Family Guy. I can live with that.
With sandwich and storage bags, Ziploc has better quality than the store brand, but not enough to justify the price difference. Similarly, with trash bags, Glad or Hefty have somewhat better quality than the store brand, but not enough to justify the price difference.
If you have a brand name item that you prefer, stock up when it goes on sale. My preferred store, King Soopers, tends to have "buy 5 items, get $5 off" sales fairly often. Sales like this are the best times to purchase extra shelf-stable items. I have not had to buy laundry detergent in close to three years because I stocked up when Sun detergent was on sale for 99 cents per a half gallon, and I still have several bottles remaining.


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