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About Food Brand Items

Our Approach | Brands vs. Store Labels

A close look at ingredients in generic foods
A close look at the nutrition facts and ingedients of brand foods and generic food items reveals close similarities.

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If you already perused our food prices comparison charts, you may have wondered: where are the brand name products?

Indeed, big names of the food industry such as Kellogg’s, Heinz, Coca-Cola, Ben & Jerry’s, Tropicana, Barilla, Wonder Bread, McCormick and what have we not are only scarcely represented in our grocery price comparison.

There are various reasons for this intentional decision.

Value at Regular Prices

First of all, this website was designed to help you, the consumer, find the best deals on grocery items when sold at regular prices.

With this very specific information you won’t have to fight through coupons every week anymore or mark your calendar for those few days your favorite product happens to be on sale. Remember, coupons and sales are just a marketing ploy to get you into the grocery store. How often do you really limit your purchases to only those sale items?

Consequently, many of the items we chose for our comparison are good quality foods that are priced reasonably at all times. In most cases, these items will not be brand name products, but lesser known brands instead or store brands.

Quality of Store Brands

I’m sure you’ve seen or heard of store brands. Often, these store labels come in rather bland packaging and don’t look quite as exciting as their brand name counter parts.

However, don’t judge a book by its cover, as they say.

Store labels are generally of the same or even higher quality as their brand brothers. As a matter of fact, many brand-name producers have exclusive deals with one or even more grocery retailers to package or bottle their food products under that store’s label. Publix, Kroger or Trader Joe’s are just a few of the stores offering such store brands.

Why would a brand do such a thing, you may ask? The answer is simple: increased sales! By offering their product to consumers this way, brands can attract people like you, for example, who are price conscious and would otherwise never buy the brand.

After all, just because a brand sells their product for less through this type of venue, it does not mean they don’t make a profit. The margin just happens to be a bit slimmer, but it’s still a profit.

Since the name on the package is not the brand name, producers can protect the brand name and continue selling it at higher prices.

And even if a store brand is based on a separate formulation, the quality of store brand label recipes can most often compete with the brand name.

Below, I compiled a small, non-representative comparison to demonstrate this point.

This chart compares the nutrition facts and ingredients of three ketchups, namely Heinz, Kroger and Kyder (Aldi label).

Serving size1 Tbsp (17 g)1 Tbsp (17 g)1 Tbsp (17 g)
Nutrition facts   
Amount per serving   
Calories from fat000
Total fat0 g (0%)0 g (0%)0 g (0%)
Saturated fat0 g (0%)0 g (0%)0 g (0%)
Trans fat0 g0 g0 g
Cholesterol0 mg (0%)0 mg (0%)0 mg
Sodium190 mg (8%)190 mg (8%)170 mg (7%)
Total carbohydrate4 g (1%)4 g (1%)5 g (2%)
(Dietary) Fiber0 g (0%)0 g (0%)0 g (0%)
Sugars4 g4 g4 g
Protein0 g0 g0 g
Vitamin A2%6%0%
Vitamin C0%0%0%
 % daily values based on 2,000 calorie diet% daily values based on 2,000 calorie diet% daily values based on 2,000 calorie diet
IngredientsTomato concentrate made from red ripe tomatoesTomato concentrate (water, tomato paste)Tomato concentrate (water, tomato paste)
 Distilled vinegarVinegarVinegar
 High fructose corn syrupHigh fructose corn syrupHigh fructose corn syrup
 Corn syrupCorn syrupCorn syrup
 Onion powderOnion powderOnion powder
 Natural flavoringNatural flavorsNatural flavorings

*Data current as of April 2009

Don’t these three ketchups look awfully similar?

Here is another dollop for thought: Kroger Ketchup indicates “from concentrate” on the front label, Heinz does not. Which product would you prefer?

However, once you turn the Heinz Ketchup bottle over, it, too, says “from concentrate.” How about that! Great marketing or deceptive advertising? I let you judge for yourself.

Space Restrictions

Lastly, we like to keep the size of our database manageable. Large grocery stores such as Wal-Mart, Publix or Kroger carry upward of 10,000 items. If we were to try to list all of these products, including all 25 or so varieties of ketchup available, our website would not be the useful tool anymore which we set out to create for you.

That said, if you miss one of your favorite brands, please do give an alternative product a try. You may save substantially and not even taste a difference.

However, if this didn’t work for you, and you believe we are missing an essential item in our database, please e-mail us to suggest an item.