No brand brands.

No brand, Brand X, house brand. I’ve tried a few of the sodas, canned peaches and breakfast cereals and they just don’t do it for me. Surprisingly, the ingredients are basically the same, but something just isn’t right.

So what’s the scoop? Have I been brainwashed by Pepsi, DelMonte and Kellogg? Are these wannabes using inferior ingredients? Cutting corners to save a few cents?

Well, I agree on the sodas, at least the colas. I think some of the generic root beers and all of the ‘fruit’ flavors are just as good as the branded ones. The peaches I don’t eat. The cereal - well I disagree there. I was told in my economics class that almost all the generic cereals are distributed by the same cereal company’s that make the ‘real deal’. The product consist of those that don’t meet specifications. For instance, if a batch of fruit loops has X % of loops that are the wrong size, the whole thing gets bagged and sold generic. This is how it started anyway. Today, they actually produce normal fruit loops to sell as generic since there is so much demand. If you think about it, this makes sense. After all, they already have all the production facilities and know-how to make a good product, why let someone else cut in on it? If their profit margins are lower than for the ‘real’ product so what, its better than the zero profit they would get if brand-x was really a different producer.

My economics teacher told us that his kids have been eating fruit loops from the same box for the last ten years, cause he just fills it up from the X-brand bag at night. They are none the wiser.

It depends on your tastes and the product.

E.g., all ketchups (catsups) taste the same to me. So, I buy the cheapest, even if that’s the brandless brand.

However, I have very discriminating tastes for chocolate cream sandwich cookies (i.e., Oreos). Hydrox is the chocolate cream sandwich cookie of the devil, and thus, no-name ccsc’s would be anathema to me.

OTOH, some generics are, in actuality, the name brands in disguise. Especially if they’re packaged almost exactly the same and if the no-name (or store brand) says compare us to name-brand X!. In these cases, you’d be crazy not to buy the cheaper brandless version.

Where the biggest savings occur are in the store-brand over the counter drugs. Aspirin is aspirin is aspirin whether it’s Bayer or Joe’s. In the local CVS (a drug store chain), they have their store brand cough medicines right next to the brand name. You’ll find the generic Tussin DM right next to Robitussin DM. It is the same thing at 40% off.


One generic product I avoid are store brand razors. They shave like my girlfriend already used them on her legs; better to spring for the real Gillettes than shave the same spot over and over with one of the generics.


“Believe those who seek the truth.
Doubt those who find it.” --Andre Gide

When I worked in retail (drug store), I did notice that we received more complaints about store and generic brand products than name brands. This was in beauty care items - things like product separating, off-odors, bad packaging. I don’t know whether it was because of lower quality ingredients or poor manufacturer quality control. Store and generic drugs didn’t get these complaints; probably more regulation there. Also it was usually products from those companies that only made generics, not those that made both name brand and generic.

As for food, I notice the differences, although I wouldn’t say the generics are necessarily worse, just different. More of a matter of what you’re used to. If you grow up eating generic mac & cheese, you will probably like it better than Kraft.

Yes, you’ve been brainwashed. The generic pops differ as much as the namebrand ones of course but I have found ones I would like just as well, even if they weren’t half as expensive. I do not disagree that some generic products could be inferior.

I found a beetle in a generic can of spinach once. I’ll never buy that again but it didn’t turn me off all generics. I dare say it could happen to a brandnamed can, too, though not as often.

I do not disagree with the possibility that some brandname manufacturers might also make generic alternatives. Heck, some of them produce different competing brands of the same product as it is.

But the idea that generic products packaged similarly to recognizable brandname versions are made by the same company is an <Strong><blink>urban myth</blink></Strong>. I wouldn’t be surprised if that rumor was created and kept alive by the generics manufacturers themselves. Why do generic products whose packaging gets a little too close to the original get in legal trouble every once in awhile? Are the companies suing themselves? Copycat packaging is a scam, not a helpful tip for those of us clever enough to notice it.

My favorite generic product (which I haven’t found in my current grocery stores unfortunately) was Mother’s(?) vanilla cream cookies. The artificial flavor was formulated wrong. They actually tasted like maple sugar. I had half a dozen packages over the years and they all tasted the same. Thank you, generic cookie scientists, for screwing up.

As for seconds, I used to buy namebrand jelly beans [How embarrassing, the name eludes me at the moment.] seconds at the one dime store which sold them. I actually found them more fun than their regular products, as they were real big or real small or a whole bunch of jelly beans stuck together. Yum!

Ah, it was Brachs which sold their jelly beans seconds around Easter time.

Actually, putrid, both Alcon and Allergan make name brand eye care products and store brands of those same products. Those are two I can think of off the top of my head; I’m sure there are plenty of food manufacturers who do. Read the labels.

I distinctly remember reading somewhere (here I go being accurate again, but I want to say the “Tightwad Gazette”) about someone who worked for Del Monte. All week long they’d can beans and slap a Del Monte label on them, then Friday afternoons or whatever they’d switch to a store brand label and slap that on instead. Onto the exact same cans of beans. There’s a big difference between a generic brand and a knockoff brand. The generics are usually made for the stores by the same company as the name brand. The actual product costs the company the same. The reason their brand costs more is because of advertising and maybe shipping to a larger area or nationwide. (They most likely only do the generics to a regional chain.) Knock-offs are made by independent companies trying to make a fast buck. ("If you love Calvin Klein’s “CK1” you’ll love Designer Imposter’s “U”! – loads of miniscule legal fine print follow.)

I do agree with the colas, however. I assume Coke and Pepsi are too tightfisted to share, but like mentioned earlier, if you grew up on Cost Cutter cola you’re probably going to like it better anyway. All the generic cereals taste the same to me with the exception of Cheerios, and I’m baffled as to why they’d tase different.

As for drug store stuff, my medicine chest is stuffed with “Wal-tussin” “Wal-quil” and “Wal-sporin” from Walgreens. :slight_smile: I’ve yet to notice any detectable difference.

I did not disagree with you, Gilligan, unless you are saying Alcon and Allergan’s house versions are packaged so as to look like the name brand versions.

Sorry, I misunderstood. I had a chance to look at some Kroger brand products today. Two things I noticed:

The manufacturer wasn’t listed on any of the products, just “Distributed by the Kroger Co., etc.” So it’s hard to say who made them.

There is a trend toward making the store brand products look like each other, not so much like the name brands. In the eye care, for instance, they all had the same package design, except for the color, which matched the name brand each product was competing with. Same thing in the cereal aisle.

There isn’t any one answer, because the it varies from food to food. In some cases, it’s made by someone else; in other cases, it’s made by the usual manufacturer with a different label.

This can lead to some interesting possibilities. For instance, Ralston sold its Chex cereal to General Mills so that Ralston could concentrate on their generic brands. This would imply that generice rice chex are the original, and regular Rice Chex are the knock off.

Read “Sundials” in the new issue of Aboriginal Science Fiction.

The most obvious item for me are laundry detergents. Consumer tests must have been carried out. I suspect the cheaper brands are similar, maybe lacking the amount of enzymes a ‘good’ brand has, the enzymes being expensive and all.

Laundry soap…
If you live near the Mexican border, or in an area where there are a lot of Mexican shoppers, you may run across a detergent named Auriel (sp?). It’ll be in a plastic bag, rather than a box and it will usually sell for a lot less than it’s U.S. competitors.
It happens to be made by the Mexican branch of Proctor and Gamble, and except for the fragrance it’s Tide!

Cooper, & to think that all the fruit loops are actually the same flavor.

I think that major brands use more sugar, that seems to be about it.

I drank some generic coke once. Bleargh. Never again.

The one item I positively will never buy as a generic is Saline solution. After an expired (or just evil) bottle was freshly opened, poured into eyes, and I felt like I just put battery acid in them (and had that feeling for three contact-lensless days), I realized: Never again.

Yer pal,