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6 store brands as good as name brands

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In the supermarket, you'll find more store brands than ever. In fact one in four products on the shelf these days is a store brand.

So our partners at Consumer Reports Magazine just taste-tested a wide variety to see how they stack up against big-name national brands.

Saving money at the supermarket is no easy feat, but buying store brands can help.

"Buying store brands can save you a small fortune. Anywhere from 15 to 30 percent on average, depending on the category," said Tod Marks of Consumer Reports.

Blind Taste Test

Consumer Reports just taste-tested 57 store-brand foods from five major retailers: Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, Kmart, and Target, plus Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.

They did not test any regional chains, however, like Kroger or Meijer.

It turns out 33 of the 57 store brands proved as high quality as the national brands, though they're not necessarily identical.

"When we evaluate a store brand and say it's as good as a national brand, that doesn't mean it's a dead ringer in terms of the flavor. The fact is products can be equally high in quality but maybe the store brand has different seasonings or spices," said Marks.

Good Choices

Target's Market Pantry Ketchup tasted similar to Heinz.

The mayo from Whole Foods, Target, Costco, and Walmart, while different from Hellmann's, was just as good quality.

And listen up all you die-hard Breyers ice cream fans.

"Walmart's Great Value Vanilla ice cream came pretty close to Breyers," said Marks. "And not only that: it costs a third less."

And when it comes to nuts, store brands are the way to go. Consumer Reports' taste tests of cashews showed all seven of the store brands were actually better than the national brand - Emerald.

Considering many stores will refund your money if you don't like a store brand, Consumer Reports says they are worth trying.

One Caution

Store brands have gone up in price in recent years, and are not always a bargain. Consumer Reports found five out of the ten store brands from Whole Foods actually cost more than the national brand.

As always, don't waste your money.

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