Brand vs. Generic
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Is there a way to get information about Name Brand companies like Kelloggs or Del Monte that pack or bottle no name brands in chain supermarkets or warehouses? I would like to cut my grocery costs by purchasing no name brand goods but so far I haven't found anything that compares to the taste of name brands.
To me, the best way to find out about something is to get it straight from "the horse's mouth" so to speak, especially if it costs nothing to contact the company. There are usually 800 numbers on the brand name products that you can call for information and they are usually more than willing to answer questions.
The other way to contact them is by e-mail; either using a search engine such as Yahoo, or trying to find the company on their own site. I think Kelloggs is part of another larger conglomerate, like General Foods or something. DelMonte may have their own site; I know Dole does.
The best way to find out what major comany makes a generic brand is look on the generic brand's label. Often it is printed "packed by" or "made by". I generally just ask the manager who makes what. This goes for everything.
At Sears all Kenmore appliances are made by major compaines. I bought a Kenmore AC, window unit, made by a major company. Also, the bread and bread products are made by one bakery in town. Here, Holsum makes Walmart bread, Albertsons bread, Holsum bread, etc. Since I shop at the day old bread store, I can get bread and rolls cheaper and all the brands are the same.
Speaking from my own experience, I have found that if I want to save a few dollars and go generic often times one of the things that I have to do is just get used to a product that doesn't taste like the brand-name stuff. Remember that just because a generic product costs less and doesn't taste as good doesn't mean it's necesscarily inferior or not good for you. Saving money depends on adjusting our personal tastes as much as it does on adjusting our buying habits. I'm not suggesting that you settle for something that tastes like dirt, but realize that when you want generic products you're playing in a different arena.
Here's another alternative: Shop for food at discount stores (like Pic-N-Save). We have found good deals on food (brand-name food at that) simply because it was never sold, or the packaging was damaged. If you don't mind buying apple juice in cans with Chinese labels and don't mind purchasing cereal in a crushed box, I'd say look and see if anything like this is in your area.
What is your goal here? Even if you find out that your store brand toasted Os cereal is made by General Mills it doesn't mean they use the same formula as Cheerios. The recipe for the item is more important than who makes it.
Generics and store brands are a matter of taste. In our market place there are "no-name" generics, store brands and premium store brands. The premium store brands sport names like President's Choice, Our Compliments, Safeway Select, etc. These products are often better than the national name brands and offer some very innovative and unique products as well. Many of the product offerings are more equivalent to gourmet brands. They are still cheaper than the national name brands because they don't have the advertising overhead in their cost.
Trying a new brand of product, only to find that you don't like it, is the wrong way to save money. Use your network of friends, family, co-workers, clients, etc. to try new brands. Ask them what brands they buy. Ask to try a sample.
There are cheaper and often better alternatives to National brands out there. Seek them and ye shall find them.
Kelly B. in Delta, BC
There's always the highly under-rated 1-800-555-1212, for 800 information. I've found that number handy on more than several occasions! If you don't mind spending some of your time on the (toll-free) phone, you may be able to simply ask someone in the know.
Running Wild, Nebraska
In the Tightwad Gazette books, Amy has an article about store brands vs. name brands. Somtimes they honestly just use different packaging for the same product. (After all, the stores have to get their products from some manufacturer already in business). She also explains that people get used to a certain taste - if you grew up eating Kellogg's it's going to be hard to adjust to a store brand, but that doesn't mean it's not as good, just that you aren't used to it. I would suggest trying a store brand for awhile, not just one time, then if you're sure you just don't like it try a different one or go back to what you're used to.
Your reader may have it in reverse. Lots of grocery store chains make the brand name products. My husband's chain owns its own bakery and dairy. The store milk and the brand name milk are the same, but the store brand costs $1 less.
Main thing is to look for the cities where packaged. If I see something from Cincinatti with a certain zipcode, I know my husband's company made it. If the store brand doesn't have the company HQ address, I look for the brand name and compare addresses.
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