5 groceries to always buy store brand, according to shopping experts

5 groceries to always buy store brand, according to shopping experts

Over the last year, you might have noticed your grocery bill steadily rising. Food prices rose 0.9% in January and are up 7.4% since January 2021, according to the Consumer Price Index.

If you’re looking for ways to trim your grocery bill, you might want to step away from name-brand items and try out some store brands or generics. Generic or “no-name” groceries were introduced in the 1970s, when Americans were facing record inflation, much like they are today.

“You can save anywhere from 10% to 30% on price if you’re buying generic,” says Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at truetrae.com

How to shop for store-brand groceries

Many store brands are made by the same manufactures as name-brand products, says Isabel Brown, consumer watchdog at Public Interest Research Group. If you want to be sure you’re getting a product that is comparable in quality to the label you usually shop, there are two things you can do, Brown says:

  1. Compare the ingredient list. If a product isn’t a trade-marked recipe, like Tate’s Bake Shop, it likely has a similar or identical generic. “If the ingredient list isn’t super long, if it’s only one or two items, there won’t be a ton of variation,” she says.
  2. Research the manufacturer. If a generic product is made by the same manufacturer who makes a name-brand product, it’s likely of comparable quality.

Name-brand products are often more expensive than generics or store-brand products because companies spend more on marketing, Brown notes. “That markup is just for advertising,” she says. “People shouldn’t need to pay more for prettier packaging if they don’t want to.”

Here are five products you can save money on by buying generic or store brands.

Frozen produce

Baking supplies


Store-brand spices are likely to be just as good as name-brand, Woroch says, and less expensive.

At Kroger, for example, a 1.5-ounce container of store-brand turmeric is $3.29, but a 1.37-ounce container of McCormick turmeric is $5.59.

You can buy unbranded spices in bulk at smaller retailers, she adds.

“You may not get the convenient glass or plastic container since you will likely fill a plastic bag to weigh at check out, but hold on to your old ones to refill with what you buy,” she says. “You’re looking at saving anywhere from 40% to 60% off.”

When it comes to frozen vegetables or fruit, there’s no need to spend more on the name brand.

Andrea Woroch

Consumer Savings Expert

Pet Food

OTC medicine

“I find that duplicates of over-the-counter meds are a great value,” Bodge says.

After all, a generic drug is created to be the same as a brand-name drug in “dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, performance characteristics, and intended use,” according to the Federal Drug Administration website.

A Walgreens, a 30-pack of Claritin is $19.99, but a 30-pack of Walgreens’ store-brand version is $13.99.

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