Your Money: Supermarket bargains

July 30, 2009 5:31:16 AM PDT
You may have noticed recently supermarkets heavily promoting their own store brands to attract bargain shoppers.But are you really saving, if you don't like the cheaper version?

Eyewitness News put store brands to the test. We made two different peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Sandwich A: Jif peanut butter and Welch's grape jelly on Wonder whole grain bread

Sandwich B: Harris Teeter store brand ingredients

We also bought two types of chocolate chip cookies and 2-liter colas, Chips Ahoy! and Diet Coke versus the Harris Teeter counterparts.

Then we set up a table outside the Raleigh Eyewitness News Center around lunchtime to conduct a taste test.

Could people tell the difference between store brand and name brand products?

The tasters didn't know which brand sandwich, cookie or cola they were sampling until after the test was over. A self-proclaimed name brand snob was the first tester. He had to laugh after picking all three store brands!

In fact, out of 13 testers, all but one preferred one or more store brands over the name brands. Only one tested picked all three name brands.

According to a Consumer Reports March 2009 report, virtually all retailers are churning out high quality, low cost store brands. Some of the generic brands are actually made by the name brand manufacturers.

Store brands sell for 25 percent less on average than name brands.

North Carolina-based Harris Teeter has seen significant growth in store brand sales. The company is bringing extra attention to those items as well through the use of signs and special section in their stores.

The tough part is convincing name brand shoppers who prefer store brands to switch.

Maybe our bill from the taste test will provide a little incentive.

Harris Teeter whole grain white bread -- $1.57
Wonder Whole grain white bread -- $2.19

Harris Teeter Peanut Butter - $2.19
Jif Peanut Butter -- $2.75

Harris Teeter Grape Jelly -- $1.99
Welch's Grape Jelly -- $2.49

Harris Teeter Diet Cola -- 87 cents (2 liter)
Diet Coke --- $1.79 (2 liter)

Harris Teeter Chocolate Chip Cookies - $2.47
Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip Cookies -- $3.69

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