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The Truth About Store Brand Foods That Will Save You Money

Store Brand Foods

Some blog posts are easy to write, especially if the topic is something I know a lot about. But other posts take more time and effort, and I have no one to blame for that but myself! I get curious about an unfamiliar topic, decide to write a post about it, and end up diving head-first into hours of research. That was definitely the case with today’s post, because before very recently, I didn’t really know anything about private label products!

But after reading somewhere that some private label foods are identical to the name brand stuff, I couldn’t help but wonder how that could be. (Because if I can buy the same product for less money, I want to know about about that. And I want YOU to know about it too!) So I dusted off my reporter hat and got to work, and I’m excited to share everything that I’ve learned about the world of private label foods with you today! :-)

Let’s start with the basics: what is a private label product?

Store Brand Foods

What Are Private Label Products?

Private label products include any merchandise sold under a retailer’s own brand. Private label products may be branded with the same name as the specific retailer (like Kroger brand foods at Kroger stores, for example), but that isn’t always the case. Many retailers have started offering private label foods under a brand with its own name (like Great Value brand foods at Walmart).

Retailers don’t have to spend a lot of extra money to advertise private label products. Because of that, they can sell them at a lower price than the name brands can, and that equals savings for us!

Store Brand Foods

The Advantages Of Private Label Foods

Private label brands are popular with retailers and consumers alike, especially in grocery stores! Retailers like them because they have more control over quality and profit margins with their private label products. And as consumers, we like them because they save us money without (and this is key!) sacrificing quality.

Related: 17 Store Brand Products That People Actually Swear By

Store Brand Foods

Some retailers have so many private label food products that they operate their own manufacturing facilities to produce them. But in other instances, private label brands and national “name brands” source their food products from the exact same manufacturers. In those cases, there is virtually no difference between the two products in terms of ingredients or quality—the only difference is the price!

Store Brand Foods

12 Private Label Foods That Are The Same As Name Brands

While I wish I could offer you a massive list of where retailers are sourcing their private label foods, it isn’t quite that easy! Most retailers are reluctant to give up exact details about who manufactures their private label products.

But after a LOT of digging around online, I managed to scrape together a list of private label foods that, according to general consensus, are the same as (or incredibly similar to) a name brand food. Check it out below!

Store Brand Foods

  1. Trader Joe’s mac and cheese = Annie’s
  2. Trader Joe’s yogurt = Stoneyfield Farm
  3. Trader Joe’s chili = Amy’s Organic
  4. Kirkland Signature batteries = Duracell
  5. Kirkland Signature canned tuna = Bumblebee
  6. Kirkland Signature pet good = Diamond Pet Foods
  7. Great Value spices = McCormick
  8. Great Value canned vegetables = Green Giant
  9. Great Value peanut butter = Peter Pan
  10. Kroger American cheese = Kraft
  11. Kroger fruit rings cereal = Fruit Loops
  12. Kroger cocoa puffed cereal = Cocoa Puffs

Store Brand Foods

The Takeaway

So what’s my point here? I simply want to encourage you to give private label products a chance! Not only will it save you money on your grocery budget, but you never know when you might come across a “generic” private label product that is actually identical to its name brand counterpart! :-)

Do you have a favorite private label food?

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  • It wasn’t until I was a Walmart+ member and ordered grocery delivery that I discovered just how many private label items Walmart sells. Their food products are generally under Great Value but their pharmacy and personal items are called Equate. I’ve had much luck using their brands and saved a lot of money. The only two items I have found that aren’t the same are the dishwasher tabs and laundry soap. We stick with name brands on those two, only because we’ve tried unsuccessfully using their store brands.

  • I do almost all of my grocery/OTC shopping at Walmart. I don’t eat fish, meats or eggs. I wish Walmart had been in my area when I had kids! Back then, there were some generic store brands but they weren’t very good. Now just about everything has a comparable brand. I’ve tried just about everything & never noticed any difference in the taste or quality of their products. If I try something, don’t like it, I won’t repurchase it. We have Shaw’s (part of Albertson’s, based in Fla) and their store brand is very good although I don’t go there often. I do stick with my Crest, shampoos, and things like that but a greater savings than a CVS. The only thing I don’t like at Walmart is their brand of Windex – it works but not as well as the real thing. I don’t do Aldi’s – I’m alone and their produce is packaged. I don’t need 4 peppers – I need one. My son shops at Aldi’s because he cooks for his tailgate parties. My personal take on organic is a waste of money. I buy regular produce and wash it. Organic doesn’t taste any different. Milk is a huge money saver at Walmart – about $1.50 less per gallon and it’s always fresh. The paper goods are as good as the name brand although I rarely use paper towels anymore. I’m into recycling so rags work for me.
    No Costco or Sam’s around and BJ’s isn’t worth it for one person. It was great when I had my kids, though.

  • If you shop at Walmart you’ve seen the big packages of chicken breasts in a unmarked package next to Tyson’s chicken. I used to be leery of it until I watch an employee take them out of a Tyson box!! Enough said! Lol

  • I’m in Pennsylvania, I wish we’d had Kroger’s here-I hear about it a lot! My husband lost his job, got ill, and then passed away all in the last 6 months of 2018. Because of the job loss, wr didn’t get life insurance and COBRA for health insurance is insanely high. We’re (my daughter and I) losing our home and moving into an apartment. So saving EVERYWHERE we can is vital. I’ve always been leery of the private label brands, thinking there must be something bad in them for some stupid reason. I’m gonna give them a try! I discovered ALDI too, I’ve saved a LOT there. Unfortunately, I can’t find everything I need there though-but VERY grateful for what I can find there at awesome prices. Off topic a bit, but ROSS, Marshall’s and Burlington have become first stops too for clothing and non food stuff!

  • Good post, Jillee! However I take issue with #2. Maybe I’m being picky, but one yogurt your holding is non-fat and the other is made with whole milk. Can they taste alike without the non-fat yougurt brand adding another ingredient? Perhaps if you compared two non-fats or two whole milk brands they would be the same, but I can’t see how two dissimilar ones could compare. I never balked at store brands. When I was a home ec major eons ago we learned the major brands produced the store brands.
    (As an aside the same goes for Kenmore appliances. They’re produced by various name brand companies).

  • for budget reasons (plus, I’ve always been incredibly frugal), I almost always buy store brand or private label (Kroger in particular) and have found that they are actually BETTER than name brand in many cases, about 90% of the time in fact . There are some things that I refuse to buy the name brand even if I have a coupon or rebate, like butter, cereals (the cereals have FAR LESS sugar and taste much better), and milk.

  • I previously worked at a bottle water company. I ended my career there in the production department. I couldn’t believe how many different labels we had to buy for the very same water and bottles we produced. It was the exact same water, bottle, source of water, etc. except the label and the color of the caps. My mother also worked at a food canning plant and the same was true there. Same exact product going into the cans, just with a different label on the can. My aunt worked in a sewing factory when I was growing up and that was basically the same thing. They sewed the materials together the same way just putting a different label in according to the company/customer who ordered it. Don’t be afraid to try generic or private label brands. Don’t be under the false opinion that because a product has a name brand label that it is a better product.

    • I shop thrift stores. One day at Salvation Army, I saw two vests, exactly the same for $2. The tag in one said Christopher & Banks. The other one said Falls Creek (from Walmart). Only difference was the label.

  • I would never buy Great Value brand. Walmart is just not trust worthy. I have tried private lable foods at 2 local grocery stores and they are horrible.

  • For a long time I was skeptical about buying ‘off’ brands or store brands because of the quality/taste/health etc. Then money got really tight. I decided that one of the ways I could potentially save is trying these store brands. I also started shopping at Aldi. We started buying the store brand instead of the name brand and would do taste tests. It was actually FUN! Some items were a total fail but other times we found that we preferred the taste or qualaity of the lower cost store brand. The downside is that some stores/brands do not offer coupons and I’m a BIG fan of coupons.

    I love your site. Thanks for the great tips Jillie. Keep them coming!

  • I think it would be great if you could compile a larger list by asking for your readers input from what THEY KNOW TO BE TRUE. For instance, if they work for Purina, and they KNOW that it is packaged under another brand such as Great Value, then you could add it to a more comprehensive list.

  • i live in a rural area a small town and we have only walmart and a place called lin’s to do our grocery shopping and i do buy some great valu from walmart i do not buy any meat there i have to go to lin’s for other things such as cheese i use and lin’s has went to a food club brand and i have had to use that as it took the place of western family which i really liked and the price was good also but have kept a list of the things wrong with food club that i want to give to the manager and will at some point soon, they stocked chicken breasts at a buy one get one and i did that and the meat was so tough i could not bite thru it after cooking it also an off brand and we do not have other stores to shop at here for a lot of years i was able to go to costco and before my husband passed away we shopped at sam’s club but cannot do that anymore it involves traveling either to provo or st george to get to costco and sam’s or costco in provo both arelong distances to travel for me alone.. any comments would be helpful for me.

    • I agree about the Food Club brand. Two of my local grocers carry them and the items I have tried are horrible! Cheese has a “plastic” flavor and texture. Chips taste greasy. Can green beans had way more plant stems than I’ve found in other brands. Just to name a few.

  • Beware using Kirkland brand AA batteries. We’ve had several devices ruined from battery leakage with this brand. It’s Duracell for us from now on.

  • I dispute that Great Value is better for you. Walmart is out to get anything at the cheapest price,
    regardless of nutritional value, and most comes from China. Stay away from it…proven in the long term!

  • I might add that I have found the same to be true with OTC medicines, the store brands (Walgreen’s and Equate for Walmart) are the same as the name brand and you can save a lot of money.

      • Walmart also has a private brand Spring Valley.,It’s very reasonably priced .,We use it a lot for our Vitamins. I had a doctor give me that tip years ago about that brand. I agree Walmart is a great place for saving on Medicines.

    • I use many of Walmart’s Brand, Equate Acetaminophen Reg as well as arthritis. Vitamins, Robaxacet, Antihistamines, Washing and dishwasher cleaners. Great value toilet cleaners. They are definitely worth the savings. Particularly OTC meds.

  • We no longer have Kroger (at least where I am outside Raleigh) so it’s Costco, TJ’s, Fresh Market, Sprouts and Walmart for me. I am very fussy about my albacore tuna and use the Kirkland brand from Costco…..it’s very much like Chicken of the Sea.
    I worked for a medical supply company and we private labeled for other companies and likewise sold under our label items that were made elsewhere. I guess for companies it’s more cost effective to do business that way.

  • I can attest to this! My husband works at a cheese packaging and distribution plant. All the cheese is the same…it just goes out with different packaging labels

  • You are so right! Again! Years ago, I’m 63, I heard that the store brands were the left over products of name brands. I tried a lot of store brands. I know I don’t have to repeat if I’m unhappy. Again, years ago, when I had 5 kids at home, 2 were big eater boys, I shopped Smart and Final. My kids often tried an them and requested I don’t buy it again. I tried a lot of their brand items and the only one I kept buying was their big bag of brownie mix. I always was requested to share my recipe! Ha ha.

  • I usually buy a lot of store brand Items, by far Kirklands has great frozen fruit the berries are huge, where with most frozen brands and especially store brands there berries are very small. We make a lot of smoothies in my house so we use Kirklands frozen fruits, I use 3 or 4 strawberries with most the others I use half the package. The only thing I have been disappointed in is Krogers frozen veggies the broccoli was horrible all stems and pieces and no florets. I love Kirklands tuna. I shop mostly at Fry’s which is Krogers and just some things I get at Wall-Mart like paper goods and personal care products, sorry just can’t beat their prices. Point being Most all store brands are just as good as Name brands. Thanks for your advise and letting people know.

  • Thank you, Jillee!! We shop almost exclusively at warehouse stores and the bulk of the time we just buy the store brand rather than the name brand…we save a truckload and there’s no difference in quality. Looks like we’ll be sticking with that plan :D

  • Very informative Jillee, thank you. I was a single mother at one point in my life with two growing boys and purchased private brand items at every opportunity to save money. It was a life saver for me.

  • A lot of times there’s not much difference between the store brand and name brand. I get the store brand of the cereals when I can. Also with a lot of the name brand you pay more just for the brand name. Stuff like painkillers you save a bundle by not buying the name brand. I don’t shop there very often, but I think Walmart’s great value brand is comparable to the name brands. Targets market pantry is good. Although we don’t buy food products there very often.

    • Also when my mom worked for AC Nielsen marketing with their grocery store division. She said that a lot of the name brands pay for where they want their products placed on store shelves. This could also be a factor as to why you pay more for the brand names.

  • Hands down, best potato chips out there are Kroger’s store brand kettle cooked variety, especially Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper. Even better when on sale!

  • Did you realise that Diamond also makes the private label pet foods that Tractor Supply features? What I know is from the store manager of my local store, and I know for sure it’s the dry kibble for cats and dogs that’s the product of Diamond foods. Not sure about the sourcing of other Tractor Supply private label foods for horses, chickens and other livestock that they carry.

  • When I was a teen I worked in a Wisconsin canning factory that processed peas and corn for a couple of the major labels. The brand name companies would send tasters who would taste a sample of each batch after cooking, sometimes they said no at which point we would label the cans with store brand labels.

    • My father was a truck driver. He often hauled canned goods. He explained that technically, they are the same goods, however – the vegetables are stored in huge vats. The top companies take their products off the top. The next company next, all the way down to where the generics are getting the bottom.

  • There is a factory just outside of Vegas that manufactures marshmallows and allows the pubic free tours. I was astonished to see all the packing labels displayed that they make the very same marshmallows for just pack it differently. It was Kraft and every other food store that you could think of. In other words about 20 of them were displayed. I shop in Publix, so I saw that one displayed too and now I do not pay the extra for the Kraft because now I know for sure they are exactly the same.

  • Before I was not concerned about ‘health’ food ( between 1951 and 1980) and bought anything and everything and was concerned about ‘the price’ of the item–I subscribed to a ‘coupon magazine’ (about 6 or 8 pages) which listed names and address’ of special offers–the information came each month for a year at $3.25 a year if I remember correctly–may have been$3.75–Now a days I believe thy cost much, much more. I had to send in labels to receive–
    free items I could use for gifts or myself ( Rogers silverware–Baby Stroller–other Baby items–Basketballs and on and on)
    or
    coupons for free food items
    or coupons for 50 cents -$1.00 off
    or a check for $1.00-$5.00

    I was known as the coupon ‘Queen’–I guess I started this ‘coupon’ thing around 1963–couponed for about 23 years
    But in 1975 I moved to California for one terrific year–did not coupon–too busy–moved to KS in 1976–became very interested in ‘health’—couponing seemed to be only for ‘junk’ food but I found an even better way to do couponing–I found almost all companies will send you coupons if you simply either call them or e-mail them–simply request them.

    And most companies allow you to do this once a month. Ezekiel Bread will only allow you to do this once every 6 months but they send you about 8 coupons at a time.

    And since I now buy ‘only’ organic it is even more rewarding–and I do not have to spend money on stamps or stationery and saves a lot of time it took writing, mailing etc. I use to keep a list of the companies that I requested coupons from each month but have been so busy that I have not requested coupons for some time. Do not receive the gifts or money but the coupons I do receive are certainly appreciated.

    And since I buy ‘only’ organic–and nothing with added sugar of any kind (except stevia)—(honey-sorbitol and all the other ‘hidden’ sugars) or anything with canola oil, or rice–I may be paying more for my item but in the end my total bill is lower than the person who buy like I use to buy–anything and everything–chips, soda, junk cereal etc.

    I am 85 and feel wonderful and soooooo glad I learned–and am still learning about health–enjoying each and every day, still playing tennis and thank the Heavenly Father for leading me in this direction. I just wish I would have known all this when I was raising my wonderful 6 children and babysitting 6 beautiful children.

    I love your information Jillie, but must give a one star rating simply because this info was not for me–been there–done that–wore that tee shirt.

    • Though I appreciate Vee’s perspective for making healthier choices, which indeed leads to better health, not all folks can afford to buy only organic. They (including my family) rely on packaged foods with the lower price tag and we remain cognizant of healthier choices amongst the options.

      Rather than class-shame people who cannot afford organic or have time to play tennis, please remain silently grateful for what you have.

    • I prefer to shop at Aldi and get what I can from their private label organic, and gluten free sections. I wish they had more. I love their organic yogurt and their Never Any meats. I’m not actually celiac but have a reaction to foods with high oxalates (kidney stones) so I have to stay away from nut flours and wheat so the gluten free items mostly use corn and rice flours at Aldi, which is perfect for me and so much cheaper than name brand gluten free items.

    • There are actually a lot of generic brands with organic products, or that only have organic products! So you can have the best of both worlds…

    • It is not always the easiest thing to feed a growing family organic or to make the healthiest choices when you have picky eaters. I remember just being glad that they ate dinner! I, too, clipped coupons, mailed away for rebates, etc. When my children were growing up, I wasn’t so food conscious as I am today. Making sure that no one went to bed hungry was my objective, and that they had full tums. Today’s we are more aware, I believe, because there is so much information available about additives in our foods. The 1950’s and 60’s was the age of “new and improved” and not everything was disclosed about the food we eat. As moms and care givers, we are more educated about the food we eat with so may food choices available. We just do our best.

    • I’m a caregiver to a 99 year old woman who played tennis until she was 90. At 99 she still plays Bridge 3X a week. Goes to a luncheon every Wednesday, and is on a lot of committees. She’s sharp as a tack and she NEVER buys organic. She has me buy her the cheapest brands possible. Not because she can’t afford it (trust me, she can afford it!!). The only pills she takes is a very low dose BP med and Lasix. My Doctor told me that to be truly organic you have to grow your own food (he’s not very trusting of Organic companies. He was a research Doctor). So, while organic may seam better it’s not always is. To each their own. Somethings I buy organic and some I don’t. People do what they can. I’m from California and they are not the healthiest people. You can eat organic everything but with the stress and pollution there, it will kill you first.

    • “I love your information Jillie, but must give a one star rating simply because this info was not for me…”

      What do you gain by giving the content 1 star, and leaving a comment if it “isn’t for you? Clearly you aren’t the intended audience for this post. She’s made it clear that this information is about the cost differential between brand types and quality of said brand–not about a chosen health lifestyle.

      Rating the article isn’t about how well she speaks to you individually; that route would indicate a self-centered personality with a lack of insight. Certainly someone with your life experience would understand that a blog article written for the masses would be rated on thoroughness of research, attention to detail, and veracity of information. I assume that this was not slip of the selfish, but rather one of a bad day.

      As one who can afford to eat the way that you do, I recognize that others cannot spend the kind of money I do on my family. I will not judge them for buying fruits and veggies that aren’t organic. I will not judge them for buying corn-fed meat, or eggs from chickens that are in cruel environments. They may work in zero hour jobs and be treated like crap.

      Be like Jillee. Lift people up. How we treat the least fortunate among us tells us exactly who we are as a person.

    • I don’t buy exclusively organic, but do buy a good bit that is organic. I love Simple Truth Organics at Kroger and you can get coupons for them. It’s just my husband and I at home now, so it is easier for us financially. But I know it isn’t always easy for families with kids. I would encourage you to purchase fresh produce and whole foods.. cook from scratch as much as you can.. and yes do organic where you are able. Also consider buying local and seasonal from Farmers Markets in your area. It doesn’t have to an all or nothing to choose a healthy lifestyle. Small changes where you are able add up and make more of a difference than you k know.

  • Kroger’s solid white tuna in water is the best of all the brands out there and the least expensive! If you haven’t already tried it give it a chance….I guarantee you will not be disappointed! Another good one is Kroger zesty Italian dressing (dry) taste exactly like good seasons, for of course a lot less.

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