Generic vs. brand name foods: Will the savings make you switch?

It's no secret buying generic and store brand products will save you cash, but is the savings enough to make you switch?

The question prompted us to put dozens of items to the test -- checking the ingredients, the taste and the price.

We even enlisted the help of eight top chefs from restaurants around the Valley, trained to identify quality. And I also joined in on the testing.

It was a blind taste test, which means none of us knew what brands we were tasting.

First up, "milk's favorite cookie"!

Oreos vs. Wal-Mart's Great Value brand cookie

At Wal-Mart, you'll pay $2.68 for Oreos. It's a little cheaper for the Great Value brand -- $2.28.

But what about taste?

Our chefs didn't really have a favorite. They agreed that they really couldn't taste a difference in the two cookies and they say it wasn't worth the price difference.

The Oreo brand only got two votes.

Wal-Mart's cookie also got two votes, while four of our chefs say they didn't have a preference.

So I have to agree with our chefs on this one… it's not worth spending the extra cash just for the name.

Next on our list is pizza!

DiGiorno vs. Albertsons rising crust pizza

DiGiorno will run you about $7.49. You'll save more than $2 buying the Albertsons store brand -- at $5.29 a pizza.

But which will taste best?

Our chefs had very strong opinions, some saying the crust was not crispy enough for one brand, but very spicy for another.

When it came time for a vote, the Albertsons brand won, getting six of the nine votes.

Next up, we compared nacho cheese chips.

Doritos vs. Bashas' Food Club tortilla chips

Doritos cost $4.29 for an 11.5 ounce bag, while the Bashas' brand costs $2.49 for the same size.

Right away we all noticed the difference.

The Doritos had more cheese and the flavor was quite different for this one.

Doritos won hands down, getting all nine votes.

Now, it's time to wash it all down with a cold drink!

Dr. Pepper vs. Fry's Food Stores Dr. K

The ingredients are exactly the same for these products, but there's a big difference in price.

At Fry's you'll pay $1.99 for a two-liter bottle of Dr. Pepper, while it's just $.84 for Dr. K.

There was also a big difference in taste.

One of our chefs said, what he assumed was the store brand had a cough syrup taste.

Another chef said he liked the carbonation in one brand, but the flavor of the other.

This one actually surprised me; the majority of our testers preferred Dr. K over Dr. Pepper.

Only one chose the brand name as their favorite, which means buy the store brand and save that extra dollar for something else.

After eating all of this food we needed to tackle our breath with some freshening mouthwash.

Listerine Advanced vs. Walmart's Equate Advanced

Both mouthwashes have all of the same ingredients on the label, but while Listerine costs $6.28, Equate Advanced comes in at $3.37 -- almost $3 cheaper.

Our chefs noticed a difference right away and this time the brand name won.

Seven of the nine testers preferred Listerine over Walmart's version.

 

So, overall -- brand name only won in two of our test categories and buying the store brand counterpart saved us nearly $9 on just six items.

We compared more than 20 items in all. SEE THE ENTIRE LIST

And let me know which brands you're loyal to by visiting my ABC15 Facebook page.

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