What store brands are you willing to use?

After my first trip to Costco I posted on Facebook photos of what I bought and how much I spent. A good friend, who is a mother of five, commented you’re doing it wrong. Those are all name brands. You need to be buying off brands. Well a lot of the stuff at Costco is name brand but it begs the question what store brands are you willing to use for which products? Which products do you insist on name brand? Which products will you not compromise on?

In general I like the Publix store brands more than other store brands. I will also buy the Target store brands pretty readily. I buy some Wal-Mart and Kroger store brands.

Here are a few products we won’t compromise on:

Diapers – I bought Pampers for the girls and Huggies for my boy (they seemed to leak less with a boy). The only time we ever  bought the store brand was when we were trying to potty train and wanted it not to feel quite as dry.

Pop Tarts – Michael has an issue with off-brand toaster pastries. I think it involves the PX where his mother bought all their food and he still recalls a terrible taste.

Quilted Northern Brand – the extra soft one – toilet paper – Michael feels very strongly about his toilet paper. If I brought home the wrong brand – not even a store brand – there would be heck to pay.

Kraft Singles – I think other other cheeses like this taste waxy on your tongue.

Coca-Cola products (sometimes by the Pepsi product) – Can you tell I was born in Georgia?

Yogurt – I do have specific brands that I like for the kids and that I like for me. (I am totally into the Greek yogurt now.)

Mucinex – I will only buy the 12-hour long-acting Mucinex. I have terrible allergies and this stuff keeps me from getting sinus infections. The store brands don’t last as long so I end up taking four a day. But man this stuff is expensive!!!

I’ll trade out orange juice, milks, breads, peanut butter, pasta, pasta sauces, canned veggies, cereals, veggies, crackers, potato chips, cookies, lotions, toothpaste, floss, frozen pizzas …. Lots of other stuff.

What products are you brand loyal to? What products do you always buy the store brand on? Which store brands do you like the most?

What do you think of the quandary – Costco price on name brands versus store brand price from other store? Which is less or is it case-dependent?

by Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, ajcMomania

76 comments Add your comment

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

February 15th, 2011
10:33 am

let me correct myself…I think the invention of FB for Zuckerberg was about revolutionary invention itself and it being HIS invention. The money was just a nice perk.


February 15th, 2011
10:39 am

There are certain things I will NOT buy. I will NOT by Heinz Ketchup, (I can’t stand Theresa Heinz-Kerry), I buy Hunts.

I buy Gain laundry detergent when it’s on sale, but I usually buy Purex, for the cost.

Sodas – Must be COKE, no substitutes. I don’t like store brand cokes.

Anything else, I’ll buy the store brand. target, Publix, Kroger, etc. 99% of the time its the exact same thing as the name brand, but much cheaper.


February 15th, 2011
10:41 am

@JJ, ha, I buy Heinz exclusively *because* I like Mrs. Heinz-Kerry and her husband!


February 15th, 2011
10:44 am

I’m not particularly brand loyal except for a few things. If a restaurant serves Pepsi instead of Coke, I’ll never eat-in (occasionally will hit the KFC drive-thru). Not a big fan of store-brand paper products either though most other stuff doesn’t particularly bother me. I tend to buy the national brand though since Publix only puts those on sale BoGo and I use coupons. The one exception is that I will only buy Public ice cream. Hands down better than any national brand! I usually buy all of our meat at Sam’s (used to be BJ’s but ours closed).

One brand item that always interests me though is Mayfield Milk. I’ve talked to some people who will only buy Mayfield but store-brand organic still tastes better to me.


February 15th, 2011
10:45 am

*Publix* ice cream


February 15th, 2011
10:48 am

@Claire – I get the Sunday paper delivered and will buy an extra if the coupons are really good that week for items we use a lot and I also use different websites. Coupons.com, RedPlum.com, etc. have a variety of coupons but a lot of brands have their own sites with coupons as well like Kraft: http://www.cookingwithkraft.com.

Bluebell Jones

February 15th, 2011
11:03 am

Wow. You guys eat so much trash! Pop tarts? Kraft cheese? Frosted Flakes? That stuff isn’t even food. Do you read the labels on the products? How many of those chemicals can you even pronounce? Fresh eggs, actual cheddar, fresh green vegetables, olive oil, fresh squeezed orange juice-I have a juicer, it’s easy. I make my own peanut butter in batches that gets eaten in a timely manner, rather than have a jar of peanut butter languish in my refrigerator, full of preservatives (roasted unsalted peanuts + olive oil + small food processor). I make my own mayonnaise- it’s cheaper and better. Roast a whole chicken, make soup out of the leftovers. Make cornbread-cheap and yummy. Slow roast some Roma tomatoes-the aroma will make you happy and it’s almost pure umame. I love organic milk but have recently read that ‘ultra-pasteurized’ milk is inferior to normal-your body needs the good bacteria. Hard to find organic milk that isn’t. My only food concession is San Romano brand canned tomatoes and frozen spinach and peas from Publix. My mom raised me on canned and frozen foods. Pop tarts, Chef-Boy-R-D, you name it. My grandmother, however, taught me how to make stuff from scratch. You can taste the difference. I know doing some of this is beyond the pale for working families but you can do most of it in a day and freeze it. You can even make your own pizza. I have three words for you and they are Decatur Farmer’s Market.
Also, in no particular order, Tito’s vodka, Kenwood Russian Valley Pino Noir, Coca Cola from Mexico (made with cane sugar) Delta (first class), Avis, Fedex and Veuve Clicquot.


February 15th, 2011
11:04 am

@ JJ

I must say, I wish there was a superior tasting ketchup to Heinz. Everytime I buy a bottle of Her Royal Heinzness, I can’t get out of my my mind who must I dislike Theresa Heinz-Kerry. I appreciate your stance and wish I had it in me to stomach Hunts. Kudos to you JJ! :)


February 15th, 2011
11:05 am

Oh, my! Sorry for the stuttering post.

Bluebell Jones

February 15th, 2011
11:08 am

Sorry, San Marzano canned tomatoes.


February 15th, 2011
11:13 am

Blue Plate mayo is a must for us. Can’t stand Dukes and miracle whip is sweet salad dressing, not mayo. I pretty much buy all brand name products unless it’s something like tomatoe sauce for my soups. I’ve tried many off brands but they’re just not the same.


February 15th, 2011
11:17 am

Everyone stay away from the grocery scam “My Harvest America”. AKA, pennypincherscards. This is an MLM company and you will be burnt if you deal with them. They claim to sell you a $300 debit card every month for $225 but you have to have a membership that cost $30-$40 each month. They’re banking on you not purchasing the cards each month but paying the membership. It’s a pyramid scheme that’s hasn’t collasped yet but on it’s way. If someone approches you with this offer…Run, don’t walk away. I personally know the guys that came up with the scam and they are big time crooks that feed of people like us. Hope this helped someone by exposing these crooks.


February 15th, 2011
11:25 am

@HeyJATL -yes, I know all about the ability of Coke to clean, but at least it doesn’t TASTE like it has Lysol in it -and to me, Pepsi tastes like Lysol All-Purpose cleaner smells.


February 15th, 2011
11:55 am

From a few days ago, “I am still on my quest to lose 20 freaken pounds.”

Hmmmm….. From today you might not want to purchase:
Frozen Pizza
Pop Tarts (why ingest this synthetic compound into your body?)
Kraft Singles
Pasta Sauces (good lord, make your own – freeze it)

And then it’s posted on Facebook?

Life in the suburbs is certainly very different.

new mom

February 15th, 2011
12:03 pm

Re: coupons… I get the paper and save inserts whole, I don’t clip until I need it. I use http://www.southernsavers.com to compile my lists, they will tell you the location of the coupon, or if there is a printable available. It’s super-easy!! Also periodically there are workshops hosted locally through that site, in addition to many tutorials on ‘getting started’. It’s not nearly as complicated or time-consuming as most people assume, if you don’t cut them first. :)


February 15th, 2011
12:59 pm

Wow! This one has gotten more legs than I expected.
Way to know your audience TWG!

I bet they’d love a good story about sleepwalking :).


February 15th, 2011
1:17 pm

@Claire Re:coupons – I use coupons from the paper and from the internet also. I love the site iheartpublix.com, every week they list the products with coupons available (in paper and links to online coupons), especially on the buy one get one products. Also, at Publix you can use a manufacture coupon (that they will double) and a Publix coupon together on one item. They also except competitor’s coupons (considered like a Publix coupon). I save a lot of money shopping there and buy a lot of name brand products with coupons that end up being cheaper than the store brand.

In our house it has to be Peter Pan peanut butter, Heniz ketchup, Coke (of course!), Charmin toilet paper, All detergent (fragrence/dye free), and Dove soap for my daughter (she allergic to all the other soaps). With mayo, we have Blue Plate and Kraft in our fridge cause neither my husband or I like what the other one does.


February 15th, 2011
1:22 pm

i buy a lot of store brands, water, toilet paper, canned tomatoes etc. i like the ones at costco, publix and target. i wasn’t crazy about the kroger aluminum foil. i drink diet pepsi, so i’m pretty loyal to that. i’ve bought store brand cereal, and as long as i hide the box, my kids can’t really tell the difference. i only like heinz ketchup and duke’s mayo though. a lot of the other brands are too sweet. i guess i buy half and half store brands vs. name brands. and generally with the name brands, i buy what is on sale, except for a couple of things.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

February 15th, 2011
1:28 pm

New topic up —-


I need to look back and see but I think we did something on couponing but maybe we do it again –

Lady Strange

February 15th, 2011
3:20 pm

I don’t buy sodas. I gave it up back in July and don’t miss it. I try to stick with water, juices or coffee. I try to buy lots of fresh fruit and stick with frozen veggies cause canned are soggy and salty. Can’t say I don’t buy junk food, though I do try to limit the amount I buy.


February 15th, 2011
3:25 pm

I used to buy a lot of national and store brands based on the cost/taste/functionality, but now that my husband and I are more concerened with what’s in the product we are making our purchases based on ingredients. This isn’t just for foods we consume, but also things like cleansers, household cleaners, etc. I even traded in my old plastic to-go coffee cup for a porcelain one that fits in my cup holder. The lid is plastic but BPA free.
Thankfully a lot of products are getting on the healthy bandwagon, so it’s easier to find good quality and even organic products in both national and store brands (we LOVE the Publix GreenWise Market Organic Eggs, for example). We watch the budget, but it isn’t worth nickle and diming our health away to eat cheaply.


February 15th, 2011
3:42 pm

I don’t buy a lot of grocery food. Part of it is fear of pestisides, etc. I grow much of what I eat, and can it and share with my children and their families–typically 250 qts or more. Can’t beat organic.

I also have my own chickens (for eggs). It costs me a little less than $2.00 per dozen in the winter, when I supplement with organic soybeans. In the summer, much less. They are free-range, and humanely raised.

I tend to go with name-brands (with coupons) for paper products. The cats and dog get name brand food.


February 15th, 2011
8:27 pm

I swear Photius, I hope somebody kicks your ass.
Who says the stuff you say to women?


February 16th, 2011
2:58 pm

I buy Publix and Target brand of almost EVERYTHING! Except Peanut Butter. Can’t do it. Have to have Jif! But store brand everything else, for the most part!


February 19th, 2011
4:05 pm

Bounty paper towels
Hellman’s (sometimes Kraft) mayonnaise


February 21st, 2011
2:10 pm

Bluebell…I am partially with you, while I don’t make my own peanut butter, I do make sauces, use actual real cheese, plus I grow tomatos, onions, peppers, herbs etc.. I am surprised at some of the crap that people are buying(pop tarts?), yet in other posts the same people brag about how healthy they feed their kids.