When brand names matter and when they don't

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gunny2
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When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by gunny2 »

Boring topic of the day :)

I've found this a curious study over the years as it all varies. Sometimes brand names matter and do you really get what you pay for. But IMO more often than not, this simply isn't true. Marketing and advertising people of course hate to hear this as they and their companies spend billions trying to convince us otherwise with fancy labels, persuasive ads, etc. Anyway, here are some random things and whether I think brand name matters or not (this does not include high-priced brands found only at "boutique" stores like Trader Joes etc, I'm talking "regular" grocery stores):

Brand/Does pricier mean better:

OTC medications like aspirin, heartburn meds, etc: No. The active ingredients are the same and really that's all that matters.
Ketchup: Yes. There's Heinz and the rest. Hunts is passable in a pinch and the rest suck.
Mustard: No. It's more about what kind you're getting vs the brand name.
BBQ sauce: No. I've tried them all including the trendy/popular ones and there's no correlation of cost to quality.
Spaghetti sauce: Yes, to a degree. I think the cheap stuff is nasty, the mid-grade good, and the pricey stuff (sometimes) a little better, but I question if they're worth the extra cost.
TP: No. nuff said. :)
Milk. No. It's milk. There are no high-dollar cows giving superior milk. There are brands which are double homogenized or whatever, but that's apples vs oranges.
Crackers: Mostly no.
Nuts: No.
Chips: Yeah. Cheap potato chips are nasty. Utz are super greasy and also nasty.
Pork tenderloin: Not really.
Frozen dinners: Yes, big time. Fortunately I don't eat these often, so if I'm getting one, it's one of the better ones.
Ice cream: Yes, to a point. IMO once you get past the nasty cheap stuff, it's all good.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by MathWizard »

gunny2 wrote: Thu Mar 21, 2024 10:22 pm Boring topic of the day :)

I've found this a curious study over the years as it all varies. Sometimes brand names matter and do you really get what you pay for. But IMO more often than not, this simply isn't true. Marketing and advertising people of course hate to hear this as they and their companies spend billions trying to convince us otherwise with fancy labels, persuasive ads, etc. Anyway, here are some random things and whether I think brand name matters or not (this does not include high-priced brands found only at "boutique" stores like Trader Joes etc, I'm talking "regular" grocery stores):

Brand/Does pricier mean better:

OTC medications like aspirin, heartburn meds, etc: No. The active ingredients are the same and really that's all that matters.
Ketchup: Yes. There's Heinz and the rest. Hunts is passable in a pinch and the rest suck.
Mustard: No. It's more about what kind you're getting vs the brand name.
BBQ sauce: No. I've tried them all including the trendy/popular ones and there's no correlation of cost to quality.
Spaghetti sauce: Yes, to a degree. I think the cheap stuff is nasty, the mid-grade good, and the pricey stuff (sometimes) a little better, but I question if they're worth the extra cost.
TP: No. nuff said. :)
Milk. No. It's milk. There are no high-dollar cows giving superior milk. There are brands which are double homogenized or whatever, but that's apples vs oranges.
Crackers: Mostly no.
Nuts: No.
Chips: Yeah. Cheap potato chips are nasty. Utz are super greasy and also nasty.
Pork tenderloin: Not really.
Frozen dinners: Yes, big time. Fortunately I don't eat these often, so if I'm getting one, it's one of the better ones.
Ice cream: Yes, to a point. IMO once you get past the nasty cheap stuff, it's all good.
Disagree on TP, crackers and nuts.

Spaghetti sauce: store bought is unpalatable to me.

We make our own spaghetti sauce, even better with our own garden tomatoes .

Agree on all the rest.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by barnaclebob »

Good cream on top milk is absolutely better than the mega dairies.

Also darigold definitely adds something to the small single serving 12oz bottles to make it taste better.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by gunny2 »

MathWizard wrote: Thu Mar 21, 2024 10:33 pm Spaghetti sauce: store bought is unpalatable to me.
I'd love to get you in on a blind taste test :wink:
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by AgentOrange »

This is a fun topic, but I must disagree with some of your findings:

TP - Kirkland is thin, uneconomical stuff. Because of this, you must use more, so it costs no less than Charmin, which I prefer. I never buy any other brand so I don't know about them.
Nuts - I have bought a few store brands of nuts, and they can taste stale, musty, or just lack flavor. I never find this is the case with Planters or Fisher nuts.
Chips - Again, the flavor is not as full as name brands, like Jay's, Lay's, etc. EXCEPT for Trader Joe's Classic (or whatever they call them). To me, they taste just like Lay's.
Pork tenderloin - Fresh from the Meat dept is always better to me. The packaged loins from Smithfield and the like are injected with a salt solution for flavor and to preserve them. This makes the meat spongy and too salty, while tasting bland at the same time. Odd.
Ice Cream- There IS no other ice cream other than Haagen Daaz to me. :happy
Milk - For plain milk, it doesn't matter too much. I recently had a taste for buttermilk though, and I bought some Kroger store buttermilk. It was the worst buttermilk I've ever tasted, had an odd bitter, metallic, goofy taste. Made me long for the days of good Dean's or Borden buttermilk.

Otherwise, I agree with your other items, and you can save money buying store brands or others there.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by jlawrence01 »

I do not really spend hours struggling to find which $2 bottle of ketchup or $1 can of tomato sauce is better. I try a brand and if i like it, I buy it. If I do not like it, I will never buy it again. In most categories, there are several acceptable alternatives.

Since I have a tight food budget and I feed several elderly neighbors. I tend to buy a lot of salvage product and neighbors tend to drop off a lot of food to me. I like salvage groceries because I can often get really top grade stuff cheap. Recently, I bought a lot of organic Muir Glen tomato products from $0.50-0.99/ can and they are quite excellent. Another neighbor dropped off some private label tomatoes produced by Red Pack that were also very good.

Working in various commercial kitchens, I have tried thousands of different products to measure their compliance with corporate standards and the like. It was not pleasant to have to crack open 8 #10 cans of fruit cocktail and measure them against the standards that were set up by some state official in an office 200 miles away.

I have many foodie friends and many chef friends. there are many people who claim to have great taste buds and lecture to me that they can tell the difference between certain products. I have dome blind taste tests with many of them just to find out that they did no better than the average Joe.
For example, I had a neighbor who swore that he could tell the difference between "farm" eggs and grocery store eggs. So I fried three eggs from the same Safeway carton and asked him which one came straight from the farm. She swore up and down that #3 was the one. They were all the same.

I think that the only brands that I will go out of my way to purchase are:

Hot sauces - the five or six brands that I use are NOT able to be switched out as they have certain characteristic.
Certain coffees - Peets, Community, SF Bat Coffee Company, Lavazza
ALDIs German made cookies
Dare cookies and crackers


Brand selection is also based on how much I will use the product. I do not mind spending $$$$ on good quality knives that I use every day but will buy a cheap hand tool that I might use once every five years.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by PottedPlant »

I am old.
I have money.
I buy the brands I like.

Spinelli’s for tomato sauce. Better than Rao’s. We don’t buy much as we make our own starting with San Marzano DOP tomatoes.

But, I can switch.
About 5 years ago, I switched to Blue Plate mayonnaise. Egg yolks.
Just recently, we switched to Tapatio ketchup. No more Heinz.
Last edited by PottedPlant on Fri Mar 22, 2024 10:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Mashed or Baked Potatoes?
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by bob60014 »

"Spaghetti sauce: store bought is unpalatable to me."

Try Raos, you can thank me later.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by augryphon »

PottedPlant wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 12:19 am I am old.
I have money.
I buy the brands I like.

But, I can switch.
About 5 years ago, I switched to Blue Plate mayonnaise.
Just recently, we switched to Tapatio ketchup. No more Heinz.
Ditto for me, except it’s Dukes Mayo. I do like to switch brands occasionally just to be a contrarian.

I grew up in a small town where the local market only carried 1 or 2 brands. 50 years later I walk in amazement when I’m in a Kroger, Publix, Fresh Market. I’m truly living “high on the hog,” as we used to say.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

It is very simple.

It is subjective. If it matters to you and you can tell the difference, then it matters. If not, it don't. I can tell the difference between coffee and teas. I cannot tell the difference between seafood. Hence, coffee and tea matters to me. Seafood does not. It tastes the same to me.

To each its own.

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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by ScubaHogg »

Ice cream matters a ton. Almost more than anything

TP: really? Are you serious

Milk: good milk is much much better than bad milk
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by mrmass »

gunny2 wrote: Thu Mar 21, 2024 10:53 pm
MathWizard wrote: Thu Mar 21, 2024 10:33 pm Spaghetti sauce: store bought is unpalatable to me.
I'd love to get you in on a blind taste test :wink:
Rao's sauce is good. Get it at Costco.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by Living Free »

bob60014 wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 7:08 am "Spaghetti sauce: store bought is unpalatable to me."

Try Raos, you can thank me later.
I totally agree about Raos, best I've tried by a big margin.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by RickBoglehead »

KlangFool wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 7:27 am OP,

It is very simple.

It is subjective. If it matters to you and you can tell the difference, then it matters. If not, it don't. I can tell the difference between coffee and teas. I cannot tell the difference between seafood. Hence, coffee and tea matters to me. Seafood does not. It tastes the same to me.

To each its own.

KlangFool
This. Totally subjective. As in everything @KlangFool lists that he can or can't tell the difference in, I think the opposite. :wink:
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by dcabler »

bob60014 wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 7:08 am "Spaghetti sauce: store bought is unpalatable to me."

Try Raos, you can thank me later.
+1 on Raos.

Cheers.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

As far as really “getting what you pay for”, does it really matter which mayonnaise or katsup you buy?

I’d want to focus on items like life insurance, automobiles and occasional higher dollar “wear and tear” items like roof shingles and tires.

I doubt there are 5 active participants here who’s financial life will be even remotely affected by the $1.50 saved by buying store brand mayonnaise every 16 weeks.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by minimalistmarc »

Tinned fish, it matters a lot. Sardines, mackerel, tuna, shellfish, all of it. The top brands give a far superior product at a cost.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by nisiprius »

Unfortunately what you get from a brand name fluctuates, and is inconsistent within a single brand. Many brands decide at some point to strip-mine their brand value, knowing that they can keep their reputation for quite a while without actually providing the quality that built their reputation.

Globalization means that many US brand names are just hollow shells, slapping a name onto a variegated bunch of products made overseas and, seemingly, not doing their own quality testing. I can tell whenever a shoe company changes the country of manufacture because the fit always changes. You'd think it would be easy enough to literally send the same lasts to the new supplier, but apparently they don't do that.

There's no consistency as to whether the house brand names of a place like Costco, or CVS, are just as good, not as good, or better. There's no certainty that the big, famous brand names are a "safe" choice. We are in a brave new world, not only of dynamic pricing, but dynamic quality.

Most of the time when I find something I like, all I want to do is buy the "same thing again." That doesn't seem like much to ask. But nowadays, it is.

There is only one real certainty that I know of, and that is that if the package says "Improved!" it ALWAYS a downgrade.

P.S. I don't agree about ice cream at all. Unfortunately, quality in ice cream is directly tied to butterfat percentage and absence of whipped-in air--it's what makes it taste cold, among other things--so quality goes directly along with calories and fat.
Last edited by nisiprius on Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by dcabler »

Wanderingwheelz wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 7:41 am As far as really “getting what you pay for”, does it really matter which mayonnaise or katsup you buy?

I’d want to focus on items like life insurance, automobiles and occasional higher dollar “wear and tear” items like roof shingles and tires.

I doubt there are 5 active participants here who’s financial life will be even remotely affected by the $1.50 saved by buying store brand mayonnaise every 16 weeks.
What is this katsup thing of which you speak? :D
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

dcabler wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 7:52 am
Wanderingwheelz wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 7:41 am As far as really “getting what you pay for”, does it really matter which mayonnaise or katsup you buy?

I’d want to focus on items like life insurance, automobiles and occasional higher dollar “wear and tear” items like roof shingles and tires.

I doubt there are 5 active participants here who’s financial life will be even remotely affected by the $1.50 saved by buying store brand mayonnaise every 16 weeks.
What is this katsup thing of which you speak? :D
I think I may have been nabbed by the spelling police. I can’t even remember the last time I reached for the k or c work I may have misspelled. Lol. Was it potatoe or tomatoe that Dan Quayle famously misspelled? (Probably* tomatoe since it would be most appropriate here.)

For the record, I do know how to spell vodka. :)
Last edited by Wanderingwheelz on Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by dcabler »

Wanderingwheelz wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 7:57 am
dcabler wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 7:52 am
Wanderingwheelz wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 7:41 am As far as really “getting what you pay for”, does it really matter which mayonnaise or katsup you buy?

I’d want to focus on items like life insurance, automobiles and occasional higher dollar “wear and tear” items like roof shingles and tires.

I doubt there are 5 active participants here who’s financial life will be even remotely affected by the $1.50 saved by buying store brand mayonnaise every 16 weeks.
What is this katsup thing of which you speak? :D
I think I may have been nabbed by the spelling police. I can’t even remember the last time I reached for the k or c work I may have misspelled. Lol. Was it potatoe or tomatoe that Dan Quayle famously misspelled? (Promptly tomatoe since it would be most appropriate here.)

For the record, I do know how to spell vodka. :)
Bwahahahaha!!!!

Cheers!
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by sport »

AgentOrange wrote: Thu Mar 21, 2024 11:21 pm
TP - Kirkland is thin, uneconomical stuff. Because of this, you must use more, so it costs no less than Charmin, which I prefer. I never buy any other brand so I don't know about them.
Just an FYI. There are two kinds of Costco Kirkland TP. I can only find the cheap one in the store. However, the other one is available at Costco.com. It is a MUCH better product. https://www.costco.com/kirkland-signatu ... 06004.html
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by nisiprius »

Wanderingwheelz wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 7:57 am I think I may have been nabbed by the spelling police. I can’t even remember the last time I reached for the k or c work I may have misspelled. Lol. Was it potatoe or tomatoe that Dan Quayle famously misspelled? (Probably* tomatoe since it would be most appropriate here.)
It was "potatoe." He didn't just misspell it himself. That might have been forgivable.

He was visiting a classroom and he corrected a student who had written it on the board as "potato."

One wag said "The reporters thought he had goofed. They were pretty sure he had goofed. But until the checked the dictionary at the back of the classroom, they didn't know he had goofed." But really I admire those reporters because quite often when you check a dictionary you find that what you thought was a misspelling is a legitimately documented variant spelling.

Random synaptic firing: there was a reasonably famous racehorse of the 1700s named "Potoooooooo." (Get it?)
Last edited by nisiprius on Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by somewhatentertained »

KlangFool wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 7:27 am OP,

It is very simple.

It is subjective. If it matters to you and you can tell the difference, then it matters. If not, it don't. I can tell the difference between coffee and teas. I cannot tell the difference between seafood. Hence, coffee and tea matters to me. Seafood does not. It tastes the same to me.

To each its own.

KlangFool
agreed. but it's so much fun to debate in an effort to make one's opinion the status quo!
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by Leesbro63 »

Lexus
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by armeliusc »

Paper Towel. As someone who does most of the clean up for the family, the cheap thin stuff just irritates me. So much so that I bring my own rolls of paper towel if we are traveling & staying at AirBNB or cabin-type places.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

nisiprius wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:10 am
Wanderingwheelz wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 7:57 am I think I may have been nabbed by the spelling police. I can’t even remember the last time I reached for the k or c work I may have misspelled. Lol. Was it potatoe or tomatoe that Dan Quayle famously misspelled? (Probably* tomatoe since it would be most appropriate here.)
It was "potatoe." He didn't just misspell it himself. He was visiting a classroom and he corrected a student who had written it on the board as "potato." One wag said "The reporters thought he had goofed. They were pretty sure he had goofed. But until one of the went to the back of the classroom and consulted a dictionary, they didn't know he had goofed." But really I admire them because quite often when you check a dictionary you find that what you thought was a misspelling is a legitimately documented variant spelling.

Random synaptic firing: there was a reasonably famous racehorse of the 1700s named "Potoooooooo." (Get it?)
I was curious so I did did up the video after I typed my message. It’s still really funny all these years later.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by lazydavid »

Definitely disagree with a few
gunny2 wrote: Thu Mar 21, 2024 10:22 pm Ketchup: Yes. There's Heinz and the rest. Hunts is passable in a pinch and the rest suck.
Heinz is indeed better than Hunt's and the random store brands, but it's still a sickly-sweet mass of HFCS. For straightforward Ketchup, the best ones I've found are Sir Kensington's (sadly discontinued after the company was sold) and Organicville. But our favorites are Trader Joe's Black Summer Truffle, Melinda's Habanero, and Acid League's Savory Saffron. At least 2 of the 3 are in our fridge at any given moment.
gunny2 wrote: Thu Mar 21, 2024 10:22 pmMustard: No. It's more about what kind you're getting vs the brand name.
Sort of. In general, I agree. I've had lots of great cheap and expensive mustards, and a fair number of not-so-good ones across the same price spectrum. I'm a mustard fanatic, and probably have 8 different ones in the fridge right now, some $1.59 for a squeeze bottle, some $10 for a glass jar, and everything in between. But for plain yellow mustard, after having had Trader Joe's Organic Yellow I can't go back to the standard French's/Plochmans/Heinz. TJs actually tastes like it has mustard in it.
gunny2 wrote: Thu Mar 21, 2024 10:22 pmMilk. No. It's milk. There are no high-dollar cows giving superior milk.
Milk from our regional diary Oberweis, tastes dramatically better than the slop that comes in plastic bottles at the grocery store. I've found the same when travelling. For example, when we're in the southwest, we get milk/cream from Strauss Creamery in Petaluma CA, which is sold at Whole Foods.
Last edited by lazydavid on Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by nisiprius »

KlangFool wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 7:27 am If it matters to you and you can tell the difference, then it matters.
I used to think I could tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi. One day the family was in the McDonald's drive-through, and we had our four drinks--to be fair, with a cap and a straw you don't have a chance to get the full "nose" of the beverage--and I thought to myself, "Hmmm, my coke tastes a little funny," but I went on drinking. Then my daughter yelled "DAAAAAD! You have my root beer!" So I figured... if I wasn't certain that a root beer isn't a coke, my taste perception probably isn't as keen as I thought.

On the other hand, my son at about age 7 once took the Pepsi Challenge at a shopping mall. The presenter said "You chose Pepsi! Can you tell us why?" And my son, solemnly said "Because the other one is warmer. And doesn't have as many bubbles."
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by nisiprius »

lazydavid wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:21 am ...Milk from our regional dairy Oberweis, tastes dramatically better than the slop that comes in plastic bottles at the grocery store...
Same thing here. There is a dairy that delivers, in glass bottles. The first time I tasted it was a real boooiiiing!-time-travel experience. It instantly reminded me of how milk tasted when I was a kid. Of how milk tastes. Absolutely positively worth it if you can meet their minimum delivery quantity.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by Leesbro63 »

armeliusc wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:15 am Paper Towel. As someone who does most of the clean up for the family, the cheap thin stuff just irritates me. So much so that I bring my own rolls of paper towel if we are traveling & staying at AirBNB or cabin-type places.
For what it's worth, I've found the Sam's Club paper towels to be 95% as good as Bounty.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by bob60014 »

nisiprius wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:24 am
lazydavid wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:21 am ...Milk from our regional dairy Oberweis, tastes dramatically better than the slop that comes in plastic bottles at the grocery store...
Same thing here. There is a dairy that delivers, in glass bottles. The first time I tasted it was a real boooiiiing!-time-travel experience. It instantly reminded me of how milk tasted when I was a kid. Of how milk tastes. Absolutely positively worth it if you can meet their minimum delivery quantity.
We're lucky, Oberweis is produced and sold locally (Chicago area) at grocery stores. No delivery worries.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by armeliusc »

Leesbro63 wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:29 am
armeliusc wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:15 am Paper Towel. As someone who does most of the clean up for the family, the cheap thin stuff just irritates me. So much so that I bring my own rolls of paper towel if we are traveling & staying at AirBNB or cabin-type places.
For what it's worth, I've found the Sam's Club paper towels to be 95% as good as Bounty.
Kirkland for me is good (enough).
PeninsulaPerson
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by PeninsulaPerson »

bob60014 wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 7:08 am
"Spaghetti sauce: store bought is unpalatable to me."

Try Raos, you can thank me later.


If they're Italian-American and making their own "gravy," no store-bought sauce will do. Rightfully.

(At a very Italian-American wedding once, I asked a fellow guest what local Italian restaurants she liked. Her response: "I would n-e-v-e-r eat Italian food outside of my home." Um, okay ... :))

For everyone else and lazier Italian-Americans (like me!), Rao's is very good!



Somewhere once I read that for things you consume, buy the best you can. For everything else, buy the most reasonably-priced. I don't do that all the time but I do a lot. I am sure brand-name Tylenol is about the same as off-brand Tylenol but sometimes it just feels better to have "the real thing."

Good topic!
barnaby444
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by barnaby444 »

gunny2 wrote: Thu Mar 21, 2024 10:22 pm Milk. No. It's milk. There are no high-dollar cows giving superior milk.
To me it seems at least plausible, leaning towards likely, that there are indeed high-dollar cows giving superior milk (cows that are fed and treated better, etc). Would you say that beef is beef, and there are no high-dollar cows giving superior beef? Japan and Argentina would beg to differ. What would be the difference with milk?
lazydavid
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by lazydavid »

bob60014 wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:42 am We're lucky, Oberweis is produced and sold locally (Chicago area) at grocery stores. No delivery worries.
It's in all our local grocery stores, but we do delivery anyway. Started with 6 months free during Covid, and kept up with it even once it became $2.
jebmke
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by jebmke »

nisiprius wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:24 am
lazydavid wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:21 am ...Milk from our regional dairy Oberweis, tastes dramatically better than the slop that comes in plastic bottles at the grocery store...
Same thing here. There is a dairy that delivers, in glass bottles. The first time I tasted it was a real boooiiiing!-time-travel experience. It instantly reminded me of how milk tasted when I was a kid. Of how milk tastes. Absolutely positively worth it if you can meet their minimum delivery quantity.
our local dairies are superior to store brands. Can tell the difference in the yogurt we make in the sous vid machine.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
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gunny2
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by gunny2 »

AgentOrange wrote: Thu Mar 21, 2024 11:21 pm This is a fun topic, but I must disagree with some of your findings:

Nuts - I have bought a few store brands of nuts, and they can taste stale, musty, or just lack flavor. I never find this is the case with Planters or Fisher nuts.
Pork tenderloin - Fresh from the Meat dept is always better to me. The packaged loins from Smithfield and the like are injected with a salt solution for flavor and to preserve them. This makes the meat spongy and too salty, while tasting bland at the same time. Odd.
Huh. I guess I'm lucky; I haven't experienced that (yet).

jlawrence01 wrote: Thu Mar 21, 2024 11:27 pm I do not really spend hours struggling to find which $2 bottle of ketchup or $1 can of tomato sauce is better. I try a brand and if i like it, I buy it. If I do not like it, I will never buy it again. In most categories, there are several acceptable alternatives.
I suspect that's how most of us do it...

ScubaHogg wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 7:31 am TP: really? Are you serious
lol very. I guess I have a less sensitive butt than some. It's there to do a job and I find they all do it just fine, so no need to pay more for something. I don't squeeze the Charmin :wink:

lazydavid wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:21 am Definitely disagree with a few

Heinz is indeed better than Hunt's and the random store brands, but it's still a sickly-sweet mass of HFCS.
Maybe so...forgot that I get the "no sugar added" variety.
gunny2 wrote: Thu Mar 21, 2024 10:22 pmMustard: No. It's more about what kind you're getting vs the brand name.
Sort of. In general, I agree. I've had lots of great cheap and expensive mustards, and a fair number of not-so-good ones across the same price spectrum. I'm a mustard fanatic
I'm not, so I'm probably easier to please. I generally have a bottle of brown mustard and use it for all of my mustard needs (which aren't many).

I'll add beef, and there are definite differences. Kroger's is poor; Publix is decent; Wegman's is good. Their sirloins are better than Kroger's ribeye. A butcher shop is best, but none are near me enough to be worth it.

Anyway, thanks to those who understood the spirit of the thread!
mptfan
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by mptfan »

armeliusc wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:15 am Paper Towel. As someone who does most of the clean up for the family, the cheap thin stuff just irritates me. So much so that I bring my own rolls of paper towel if we are traveling & staying at AirBNB or cabin-type places.
Don't leave us hanging, what is the good stuff?
jebmke
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by jebmke »

We never buy meat in a grocery store.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
bendix
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by bendix »

I dont know... Sometimes brands are a reason to buy something. More of than not brands are a reason to avoid something.
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SmileyFace
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by SmileyFace »

jebmke wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 9:49 am We never buy meat in a grocery store.
Local butcher or one of the mail order / subscription places?
lazydavid
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by lazydavid »

gunny2 wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 9:27 am
lazydavid wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:21 am Definitely disagree with a few

Heinz is indeed better than Hunt's and the random store brands, but it's still a sickly-sweet mass of HFCS.
Maybe so...forgot that I get the "no sugar added" variety.
That's still every bit as unnaturally and overpoweringly sweet as the standard issue, just a slightly different kind of overly sweet because of the sucralose. Most mainstream brands of ketchup (including Heinz) are around 4g of sugar per tablespoon, or about 25%, and those with artificial sweeteners use an equivalent amount to achieve a similar level of sweetness. The ones we tend to prefer use about half as much (2g per tablespoon), more in line with something like a burger sauce.

That said, I'll acknowledge that our tastes are not the standard, as Heinz outsells everything.
jebmke
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by jebmke »

SmileyFace wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 10:07 am
jebmke wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 9:49 am We never buy meat in a grocery store.
Local butcher or one of the mail order / subscription places?
Local. First, we don't eat a lot of meat period. A 3-oz piece of steak is a normal portion for me. We get most meat from our local Amish market which brings it down from local farms in Southern PA. Sometimes I get some Angus from a local farm when someone else I know is making a purchase (I'd feel a bit guilty asking for only a 6 ounce piece for the two of us). I try not to freeze meat - it just doesn't seem as good to me.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
Walkure
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by Walkure »

Ketchup: Heinz is the default, but I've also had good luck with the store brand 25% less sugar version (you just have to make sure it is real sugar and not HFCS.)
Mayonnaise: The private-label Whole Foods' is my favorite. Can really taste the herbs and lemon juice. Interestingly, the only difference between regular and organic is the canola oil, everything else is organic in both. Hellman's is permissible in a pinch; tried Duke's once and said never again.
Spaghetti sauce: Look for stuff without added sugar. I find Classico "good enough" as an all-purpose pantry staple. Otherwise, I'll get the San Marzano tomatoes and make from scratch. Can't justify paying 400% more for a different prepared sauce.
TP: Angel Soft. Charmin is cloyingly thick to the point of being unwieldy.
Milk. We buy a different brand of "milk" for each person in the house. Organic, Fairlife, Nut-based, to each his own.
Nuts: It mostly comes down to how quickly you eat them after opening the container.
Chips: Only Kettle style, but fairly brand agnostic.
Ice cream: You have to read the packaging very closely. In addition to rampant shrinkflation, many brands have shifted over their novelty flavors from being true ice cream to "frozen dairy dessert" which has a lower milkfat content. They make up for it with disgusting fillers and artificial emulsifiers. My standard bulk brand is now Tillamook.
notBobToo
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by notBobToo »

Mustard? Can’t tell the difference between a French whole grain mustard such as Maille and the yellow (or even brown) stuff? Wow. Only on Bogleheads.
harrychan
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by harrychan »

For me, clothes and bags. I have jackets and joggers from Nike which I bought and wore regularly from 10 years ago and it hasn't even frayed or discolored. Same with bags. No name bags will start falling apart or zippers will no longer function.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
CuriousGeorgeTx
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by CuriousGeorgeTx »

I had an internship with a company that makes most of the world's baking soda. They filled the Kroger, AP, Safeway, etc. boxes with the exact same product they filled their own, well known brand with. I always smile when I see on the grocery store shelf that the generic, which in this case is exactly the same, is priced about 50% less.

DW will tell me when she sends me to the store when it is not OK to buy the store brand of any particular product, because otherwise I would default to it.
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by lazydavid »

notBobToo wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 10:29 am Mustard? Can’t tell the difference between a French whole grain mustard such as Maille and the yellow (or even brown) stuff? Wow. Only on Bogleheads.
I don't see anyone having said that. Even the OPs statement was "It's more about what kind you're getting vs the brand name."

I read that as the variety of mustard is the biggest factor in the taste, which I would agree with wholeheartedly. I think you'd agree the converse is certainly NOT true, as if you stick with Maille, their whole grain tastes nothing like their original Dijon.

I've had several good whole grain mustards (including Maille), and several good stone ground ones, which are kind of a halfway point between whole-grain and a smoother brown. A bottle of Koop's stone ground is one of the 8 mustards currently in my fridge.
bradinsky
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Re: When brand names matter and when they don't

Post by bradinsky »

armeliusc wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:44 am
Leesbro63 wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:29 am
armeliusc wrote: Fri Mar 22, 2024 8:15 am Paper Towel. As someone who does most of the clean up for the family, the cheap thin stuff just irritates me. So much so that I bring my own rolls of paper towel if we are traveling & staying at AirBNB or cabin-type places.
For what it's worth, I've found the Sam's Club paper towels to be 95% as good as Bounty.
Kirkland for me is good (enough).
Kirtland paper towels are much better than Bounty. They are just as absorbent & tear where they should. Bounty paper towels tear at the serration most of the way down & then tear off a corner. Very annoying.
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