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Store brand can match name brand in taste

September 13, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Consumer Reports says buying store brands can cut your grocery bills by an average of 30 percent. However, a new shoppers' survey reveals 81 percent are reluctant to give up certain name-brand favorites. Consumer Reports' taste testers pitted 21 store brands against big name brands for staples like soup, orange juice, and peanut butter.

"Out of 21 head-to-head match-ups, the store brands won outright three times. Eleven times it was a tie. So store brands are a good bet," said Consumer Reports shopping guru Tod Marks.

Wal-Mart's Great Value Original Potato Chips tied with Lay's Classic Potato Chips. Both have a nice balance of real potato flavor, fat, and saltiness. And Target's Market Pantry Ketchup tied with Heinz Ketchup. But while they're similar quality, that doesn't mean they taste the same.

"The Market Pantry was very tomatoey. The Heinz was spicier," said Marks.

Testers said consumers can skip Target's Market Pantry Chunk Light Tuna.

"The product exhibited some off-notes and varied in quality from lot to lot," said Marks.

Bumble Bee's Chunk Light Tuna was far better in the taste tests.

On the whole, Consumer Reports finds store brands are worth a try.

"Like national brands, store-brand manufacturers and retailers stand behind their products. If you're not satisfied for any reason, you can simply bring it back for a refund," said Marks.

Consumer Reports says there isn't any reason a store brand can't hold its own against a national brand. After all, some of the companies that make the national brand products are the same ones that make the store brands.

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