Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Brand Name vs. Generic: Part 3

Part 3 Brand vs. Generic

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Brand Name Baby Wipes
Brand: Huggies Natural Care Wipes
Price: $3.99
Size: 80 wipes
Review: Huggies Wipes are embossed with cutesy teddy bear shapes and are somewhat thicker than generic wipes. Unfortunately, they're also flimsier, and tear easily when you're taking them out of the dispenser, or when you're wiping enthusiastically.

Generic Baby Wipes
Brand: Safeway Mom to Mom
Price: $2.99 (or $5.99 for a three-pack)
Size: 80 wipes
Review: Mom to Mom wipes are textured with a simple dot pattern and, though they look flimsier than Huggies, are actually a lot sturdier; and seem to have a milder scent.
Verdict: In my side-by-side testing, I was able to use fewer Mom-to-Mom wipes to get the job done. They were easier to remove from the package and had a less pronounced scent. Since they are far cheaper and sturdier than Huggies, I'll only buy Mom-to-Mom in the future.

Brand Name Black Tea
Brand: Choice Organic Irish Breakfast Tea
Price: $3.89
Size: 16 tea bags/1.1 ounces total
Review: Choice tea is an excellent Irish Breakfast tea with a sharp but smooth flavor. The tea bags are usually good for a second steeping if you've brewed your first cup quickly.

Generic Black Tea
Brand: Trader Joe's Fair Trade Organic Black Tea
Price: $2.59
Size: 20 tea bags/1.4 ounces total
Review: Trader Joe's is very comparable to Choice brand; though it's slightly less richly flavored and, when brewed at the same time, took longer to reach desired strength.
Verdict: These teas are very close in flavor and Choice brand is significantly more expensive, but Trader Joe's tea bags are individually wrapped in plastic, meaning every box sends 20 plastic wrappers into the trash. The entire contents of the Choice brand box can be composted or recycled.

Brand Name Cranberry Cocktail
Brand: Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail
Price: $3.29
Size: 32 oz.
Review: Tastes just like the juice you've always known since you were a kid.

Generic Cranberry Juice Cocktail
Brand: Target's Market Pantry Cranberry Juice Cocktail
Price: $2.99
Size: 32 oz.
Review: A little more watered down and a little more sugary-tasting than the Ocean Spray.
Verdict: The taste wasn't that different, so for the money I saved, would actually go with the Target brand over Ocean Spray.

Brand Name Apricot Scrub
Price: $3.99
Size: 6 oz.
Review: The No. 1 Most Popular facial scrub on, and an Allure Magazine beauty pick. I have been using this stuff for years, but I think they've recently changed the forumla. It now has a very unappealing scent, like an apricot gone bad. I still like how it scrubs my face, though.

Generic Apricot Scrub
Brand: CVS Brand Apricot Scrub
Price: $2.99
Size: 6 oz.
Review: A little less grainy than the St. Ives, but it has a much more appealing scent. It cleans my face pretty well.
Verdict: I would actually lean toward the CVS brand since it smells so much better. I might use St. Ives every once in a while because it scrubs harder but CVS might be my new go-to scrub.

Brand Name Cashews
Brand: Planters Whole Cashews
Price: $10.99
Size: 21 oz.
Review: Delicious, but salty, with a satisfying al dente crunch. Many in the can were in halves, not whole.

Generic Whole Cashews
Brand: Kirkland (Costco) Whole Fancy Cashews
Price: $12.99
Size: 40 oz.
Review: Nuts are very large, meaty and satisfying. Not too salty. Seemed very fresh.
Verdict: It's a close race, but I prefer the Kirkland nuts, especially for the price. They are bigger (almost none were in halves), meatier, and have a soft-yet-firm texture that makes them seem just out of the shell. My family favored the Planters, which are saltier, crunchier and, they argued, more flavorful.

Brand Name Dishwashing Detergent
Brand: Cascade
Price: $4.39
Size: 45 oz.
Review: Cascade really does seem to provide the extra "grease-fighting power" and "shine shield" that its label promises. Detergent is thick and smooth and easy to pour.

Generic Dishwashing Detergent
Brand: Kirkland (Costco) Liquid Gel
Price: $7.99
Size: Two 125 oz. bottles (250 oz)
Review: Cleans well, but gel can separate and be watery at first, then later get clumpy and harden around the top of bottle so it doesn't close properly.
Verdict: I'll keep buying Kirkland on price alone. Cascade seems to get the dishes a bit cleaner and the liquid has a better consistency, but Kirkland does the job too and is much cheaper.

Brand Name Paper Towels
Brand: Bounty Paper Towels
Price: $0.99 per roll
Size: 69 sheets
Review: The paper towels felt thick and fluffy. After spilling a little bit of water and laying a paper towel on the spill, it picked up most of it but water remained in some spots.

Generic Paper Towels
Brand: Wegmans Paper Towels
Price: $0.89 per roll
Size: 60 sheets
Review: The paper towels were not as soft as Bounty but had the exact same results.
Verdict: Since they are equally effective and the price works out to be almost the same, your choice basically comes down to whether you want floral print or plain.

Brand Name Orange Juice
Brand: Tropicana No Pulp
Price: $2.99
Size: 1/2 gallon
Review: Tasted like it was just squeezed, had a pleasing look, perfect balance of sweetness and tartness.

Generic Orange Juice
Brand: Wegmans No Pulp
Price: $2.59
Size: 1/2 gallon
Review: Tasted great, but slightly less sweet compared to Tropicana. The color was a little lighter, too.
Verdict: They both taste almost the same (neither are from concentrate), but the Tropicana OJ is just barely sweeter than the generic brand. If extra sweetness is worth 40 cents to you, go with the Tropicana, otherwise stick with the store brand.

If you have tried a Generic Brand after reading the article, Give us your review!

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