Battle of the Brands

Tuesday, October 06, 2015
Should you only trust brand names or give generics a try?
Battle of the Brands

Going through the entire checklist at the supermarket has never been more complicated and tiring. All sorts of brands crowd the shelves. So which way should you turn?


The Generic Winners


Pantry staples

Unless you are buying organic seasonings, generic condiments are a perfect fit. Because dried herbs and basic spices have identical ingredient lists, and because salt, pepper, baking soda, flour, and sugar are all single-ingredient items, the differences in the general taste are virtually inexistent. And not only are generics less costly and as cost-effective, but since they are not in high demand, their quality is not compromised.


Cereal and grain products

Unless you have a gluten allergy, in which you will need to buy certified gluten-free products, there is no need to purchase colorfully branded items that may be manufactured by the same source that produces generic ones. Though generics are sold in bags and cost from 25 to 50% less, they look and taste just as good.


Household cleaning products

Unless a truly innovative product hits the market, you are better off with off-brand bleaches/detergents, oven/floor/glass cleaners, dust repellents, and all-purpose sprays. The only difference is usually in their scents. Experts advise to check for active ingredients and select mid-tier labels since they are the best; brands names are costly and low-tier products inefficient.


Cosmetics and personal care

Unless the technology is patented (e.g. the case of anti-aging creams), there are no rules against producing copies of an original bestseller. So when you pay a premium for this category of products, you will be paying for the name. Retail stores offer the best alternatives for high-end personal care products. This summer, make sure your generic sunscreen contains an SPF of 15+ and Broad-Spectrum Coverage.


Over-the-counter medications

Unless the brand names work better for your organism and/or condition, you are better off with generic allergy/antacid meds, cold/cough meds, and pain relievers. As you save up to 50-80%, you will be buying meds that have the same active ingredient dosage as well as safety/quality standards as the brand-name meds they are replacing. Nevertheless, consider informing your physician about the desired change first.


The Brand Name Winners


Dairy products

When it comes to perishable dairy items like cheese, milk, sour cream, cream cheese, and ricotta cheese, some choose store-name brands because they are produced regionally and are less prone to traveling long distances, while others choose brand-name goods because of their reliable pasteurizing process. However, what buyers should be more selective with are trickier products like eggs and yogurt.


Paper products

Because they contain less fibers, generic paper products like paper towels, toilet paper, and paper plates have the tendency to absorb less and shred and fall apart very quickly. To clean up a mess, you will have no other choice but to redo the task at hand, which leads to wasting time and creating more waste. By not skimping on your paper products, you will be lowering the cost-per-use and saving more money.


Garbage bags

Because generic brands are thinner and less stretchy or durable than their name-brand counterparts, going for the expensive version may not save you heaps of money, but it will certainly save you the trouble of a ripped trash bag. Some customers reported such disasters even after they stopped filling their generics about two-thirds of the way full. Nevertheless, it is ok to use the cheaper option for certain minor usage.



Except for common batteries and wires/cables, it is best to stay away from generics (produced in plants overseas). Investing in heavy-duty and sophisticated electronic supplies requires that the brand provider insures the best quality equipment and the best customer service support. In addition, when it comes to tablet and smart phone batteries, the difference between brand name and generic is more pronounced.


Infant care products

Except for FDA approved baby formulas, it is best to buy branded baby wipes and diapers. According to a users’ poll, generic baby wipes are often dry right out of the package and tear in mid-use. According to comparative research, the findings proved that generic diapers lack the needed quality and durability. Purchasing branded diapers in big boxes from bulk-purchase stores is a smart way to reduce overall cost.


Introducing generics to your everyday shopping and doing it smartly reduces your cost of living while not compromising your quality of living. This article’s guidelines serve as a great stepping stone; however, it is very possible to acquire deeper knowledge by going through a personal experience of trial and error. 

Getting Personal with Mirva Kadi