Consumer Reports finds private label boosting quality

by Bakingbusiness Staff
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YONKERS, N.Y. — Consumer Reports has found from taste tests that 23 of 29 store-brand foods taste as good as or better than their national brand competitors.

"Our tests should erase any lingering doubts that store-brand packaged goods aren’t at least worth a try," said Tod Marks, senior project editor for Consumer Reports Shopping. "In many cases, you’ll save money without compromising on quality."

In fact, the testers actually preferred Archer Farms Chewy Soft Baked cookies, Kirkland Signature Organic Medium Salsa, and Great Value Whipped Topping to similar products from Pepperidge Farm, Old El Paso, Betty Crocker, and Kraft Foods Inc.

The tests found 19 other store-brand foods tasted just as good but a bit different when compared with the name brand competitor.

The store brand foods that were tested cost an average of 27% less than the name brands. The price gaps have less to do with the actual product than the research, development and marketing costs that help build a household name.

"Today’s store brands are not the no-frills generics folks remember from the 70s," Mr. Marks said. "They enjoy more prominent placement on the shelves, snazzier packaging, more promotion and in general higher manufacturing standards than in years past."

In the most recent Consumer Reports National Research Center, 70% of respondents said they were highly satisfied with the quality of store brands they bought.

Six of the 29 brands tested still went in favor of the national brand. These brands included Ocean Spray Craisins, KC Masterpiece Original barbecue sauce, Oscar Mayer precooked bacon, Quaker Natural Granola Oats, Honey & Raisins cereal, and Kellogg’s Pop Tarts.

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