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Release Date: 08/30/2012

Eleven Store-Brand Products Tie Or Beat Name-Brand Rivals In CR Taste-Tests

Choosing private-label alternatives can save consumers up to sixty percent

October 2012 CoverYONKERS, NY — In Consumer Reports’ blind taste-test of 19 store-brand and name-brand grocery staples, store brands tied name brands for taste in ten instances, with one product, Giant Eagle chicken broth, beating out its name-brand counterpart, Swanson.  Switching from name-brand to private-label products can save consumers an average of 25 percent.

“Readers have been telling us for years that they are very satisfied with the quality of the store brands at their supermarket and our latest taste-tests confirm that store brands are often times just as good as national brands,” said Tod Marks, senior project editor for Consumer Reports. “These products can be a big relief on your wallet in these tough economic times, and they’re not just a temporary fix – private-label products are here to stay.”

A complete list of the private-label and name-brand winners and losers, along with notable taste and nutritional differences, can be found online at www.ConsumerReports.org and in the October issue of Consumer Reports, which goes on sale Tuesday, September 4th.

While many of the store brands were as tasty as the name-brand alternatives, Consumer Reports found that a tie in quality did not necessarily indicate flavors or styles were identical. While Freihofer’s wheat bread and Hy-Vee wheat bread tied in taste-tests, Freihofer’s has mild grain and malt flavors while Hy-Vee has a sourdough-like flavor.

Giant Eagle chicken broth was the only store-brand to top its name-brand competition, beating out Swanson chicken broth. Wegmans peanut butter, Meijer cranberry juice, Winn-Dixie Greek yogurt and Market Pantry classic ranch dressing (Target) were among the ten store brands to tie their name-brand rivals Skippy peanut butter, Ocean Spray cranberry juice, Chobani Greek yogurt and Hidden Valley ranch dressing, respectively.

Eight name brands came out on top in Consumer Reports’ taste-off, including Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream over Kroger Private Selection, Stouffer’s lasagna over Eating Right lasagna and Quaker oats over Publix Old Fashioned oats.

Many big national brands also produce and package a wide variety of store-brand products, including Hormel (canned meats, bouillon and desserts), Marcal (paper towels, tissues and napkins) and Reynolds (foil, plastic wrap, disposable plates and cups).  There are rarely any clues to a store brand’s heritage, and suppliers can change at any time. There’s also no guarantee that national brands simply slap different labels on products rolling off the same assembly line.

As retailers tap into product categories that lack clear national-brand leaders, it gives consumers more store-brand choices, including “upper tier” private-label products. But with these fancier store brands, along with a current rise in the cost of commodities, exacerbated by drought, the price gap between store brands and name brands could be narrowing.

For more information on the results of the store-brand versus name-brand taste-off, including prices per serving and a list of other highly-rated store-brand products worth trying, visit www.ConsumerReports.org or check out the October issue of Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications.  Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

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