Name Brand Vs Store Brand (What Is The Better Value?)

One of the great things about couponing, is the ability to try new items or brands at a reduced cost. But what do you do if no coupons for name brand items are available?

Name Brand vs Store Brand

Is it worth it to buy the store brand? Are they really that different? I decided to look at a list of 8 common grocery items and compare them to their store brand counterparts.

  1. Peanut Butter
  2. Jam
  3. Mustard
  4. Crackers
  5. Pasta Noodles
  6. Oatmeal
  7. Greek Yogurt
  8. Ice Cream

The 5 stores closest to me to look for these items are:

  1. Real Canadian Superstore
  2. Safeway
  3. Shoppers Drug Mart
  4. Sobeys
  5. Wal Mart

Note: The prices I am using are from July 19-25, 2013.

Real Canadian Superstore

No Name Peanut Butter

  • Kraft Creamy Peanut Butter, 1kg @ $5.97
  • No Name Creamy Peanut Butter, 1kg @ $4.99 (on sale @ $3.48)

Even at regular price, the No Name brand is cheaper. Kraft peanut butter coupons have been seen before, but are not a frequent occurrence – so even with a coupon and a sale, the store brand will likely be the best value.

When it comes to ingredients, these two peanut butters are not the same. Both have hydrogenated oil and salt, but the No Name brand also has corn syrup which is an ingredient to avoid.
The verdict: Name brand (when it’s on sale).

PC Jam

  • Smucker’s Strawberry Jam, 500mL @ $4.99 (on sale @ $3.99)
  • President’s Choice Strawberry Jam, 500mL @ $3.49

Ingredient wise, both jams are identical. Looking at price, the store brand (President’s Choice) is still cheaper than the sale price of the name brand. However, Smucker’s coupons are fairly common, so with a coupon and a sale price, the name brand is a better value.

The verdict: Either one, which ever happens to be cheaper when you need to purchase it.

PC Mustard

  • French’s Mustard, 400mL @ $1.99
  • President’s Choice Mustard, 400mL @ $1.89

Looking at the ingredients, the store brand only lists “spices” while the name brand lists “turmeric, paprika and garlic”. The nutritional information is pretty much identical.

As for price, the store brand is cheaper, but French’s mustard coupons are frequently available, so combined with a sale, the name brand will be the better value.

The verdict: Either one, which ever happens to be cheaper when you need it.

No Name Crackers

  • Premium Plus Crackers, 450g @ $3.17
  • No Name Salted Top Soda Crackers, 454g @ $1.88

The store brand is a slightly larger box which makes it an even better value especially considering the ingredients are almost exactly the same.

Premium Plus does not usually have coupons available, and even with a sale price, it’s not likely that the name brand will be cheaper.

The verdict: Store brand.

No Name Pasta

  • Barilla Penne Pasta, 454g @ $1.99 (on sale @ $1.24) *Price per 100g: $0.44/100g
  • No Name Penne Pasta, 500g @ $1.38 *Price per 100g: $0.28/100g

At regular price, the store brand is a much better value, but with the sale price, their unit prices are almost identical. Barilla coupons are often available, so matching a coupon with a sale makes the name brand a super deal.

This is another item where ingredients are identical.

The verdict: Either one, which ever happens to be cheaper when you need it (likely the name brand).

PC Oatmeal

  • Quaker Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal, 10pk @ $3.37
  • President’s Choice Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal, 10pk @ $2.49

At regular price, the store brand is a better value, however, the difference in ingredients is that President’s Choice contains “caramel colour”. This is an ingredient to avoid, so waiting for a sale on the name brand is the way to go (since Quaker oatmeal coupons are not found very often).

The verdict: Name brand when it’s on sale.

PC Greek Yogurt

  • Liberte Plain Greek Yogurt, 500g @ $5.09 (on sale @ $3.98)
  • President’s Choice Plain Greek Yogurt, 500g @ $4.09

Looking at the ingredients, Liberte has two: skim milk and bacterial cultures. President’s Choice also has “milk” and “cream” listed, in addition to the other two – so because of that, I would say that the name brand is a better choice (the less ingredients, the better).

Even though at regular price, the store brand is cheaper, Liberte coupons are usually available, so combining a coupon with the sale price is a great deal.

The verdict: Name brand when it’s on sale.

PC Ice Cream

  • Chapman’s Chocolate Caramel Ice Cream, 2L @ $5.99 *Price per litre: $2.99
  • President’s Choice Chocolatey Caramel Ice Cream, 1.89L @ $6.99 (on sale @ $4.88) *Price per litre: $3.70

Both ice creams have similar ingredients, and when the store brand is on sale, their unit prices are almost identical. However, Chapman’s coupons are available from contacting the company, so waiting for a sale could get you a free item.

The verdict: Name brand when it’s on sale and combined with a coupon.

Safeway

Safeway Peanut Butter

  • Kraft Creamy Peanut Butter, 1kg @ $6.69
  • Open Nature Creamy Peanut Butter, 1kg @ $6.24

At regular price, the store brand is cheaper, but with a sale, the name brand will likely be cheaper.

However, the store brand only has one ingredient – peanuts, versus hydrogenated oil and salt in the name brand.

The verdict: Store brand, but wait to see if it will go on sale.

Safeway Jam

  • Smucker’s Strawberry Jam, 500mL @ $5.98 (on sale @ $4)
  • Safeway Select Strawberry Jam, 500mL @ $4.67

The ingredients are identical in both jams. When Smucker’s coupons are available, and combined with a sale, the name brand is a better value.

The verdict: Either one, which ever happens to be cheaper when you need it.

Safeway Mustard

  • French’s Mustard, 550mL @ $3.69 *Price per 100g: $0.67/100g
  • Safeway Mustard, 500mL @ $2.75 *Price per 100g: $0.55/100g

The nutritional information and ingredients are pretty much identical. As for price, the store brand is cheaper, but French’s mustard coupons are frequently available, so combined with a sale, the name brand will be the better value.

The verdict: Either one, which ever happens to be cheaper when you need it.

Safeway Crackers

  • Premium Plus Crackers, 450g @ $3.67 (on sale @ $3)
  • Safeway Salted Top Crackers, 450g @ $3.12

The ingredients are almost exactly the same, so without a sale, store brand is the way to go.

The verdict: Either one, which ever happens to be cheaper when you need it.

Safeway Pasta

  • Barilla Penne Pasta, 454g @ $2.39 *Price per 100g: $0.53/100g
  • Safeway Penne Pasta, 900g @ $2.31 *Price per 100g: $0.26/100g

The store brand is a much better value, even without converting to a unit price. Barilla coupons are available often, so using a coupon and waiting for a sale would likely make the name brand cheaper.

This is another item where ingredients are identical.

The verdict: Either one, which ever happens to be cheaper when you need it (likely the name brand).

Safeway Oatmeal

  • Quaker Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal, 10pk @ $4.72
  • Safeway Kitchen’s Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal, 10pk @ $4.61

At regular price, the store brand is a better value – however, the difference in ingredients is that, again, the store brand contains “caramel colour”. This is an ingredient to avoid, so waiting for a sale on the name brand is the way to go.

The verdict: Name brand when it’s on sale.

Lucerne Greek Yogurt

  • Liberte Plain Greek Yogurt, 500g @ $5.08
  • Lucerne Plain Greek Yogurt, 500g @ $3.30

The store brand has more ingredients than the name brand, including “cornstarch and milk protein”, which makes the name brand better contents wise.

Even though at regular price, the store brand is cheaper, Liberte coupons are available often, so combining a coupon with a sale price is a great deal.

The verdict: Name brand when it’s on sale.

Lucerne Ice Cream

  • Chapman’s Cookies and Cream Ice Cream, 2L @ $6.59 *Price per litre: $3.30
  • Lucerne Cookies and Cream Ice Cream, 1.89L @ $5.62 *Price per litre: $2.97

Both ice cream brands have similar ingredients; however, the store brand also has “palm oil and tapioca starch” which makes me more inclined to choose the name brand.

Chapman’s coupons are readily available, so waiting for a sale and using a coupon will be the best value.

The verdict: Name brand when it’s on sale and combined with a coupon.

Shoppers Drug Mart

Natvia Peanut Butter

  • Kraft Creamy Peanut Butter, 1kg @ $6.99 (on sale @ $4.49)
  • Nativa Organic Creamy Peanut Butter, 1kg @ $4.79

This store brand is only available as organic, but still has similar ingredients to the name brand. The name brand is only slightly cheaper when it is on sale, but if Kraft coupons become available again, then the coupon + sale would be a good deal.

The verdict: Store brand, just because I like that it’s also organic.

Simply Food Jam

  • Smucker’s Strawberry Jam, 500mL @ $5.99 (on sale @ $3.99)
  • Simply Food Strawberry Jam, 500mL @ $4.67

The ingredients are, again, pretty much identical in both jams. Even without a Smucker’s coupon, the name brand is a better value when it goes on sale.

The verdict: Name brand when it’s on sale.

Simply Food Mustard

  • French’s Mustard, 400mL @ $3.49 (on sale @ $1.99)
  • Simply Food Mustard, 400mL @ $2.79 (on sale @ $1.79)

The nutritional information and ingredients are pretty much identical, and the price is also nearly identical when on sale. However, since French’s mustard coupons are frequently available, combined with a sale, the name brand will be the better value.

The verdict: Name brand when it’s on sale and combined with a coupon.

Simply Food Crackers

  • Ritz Crackers, 200g @ $3.49 (on sale @ $2.99) *Price per 100g: $1.75/100g
  • Simply Food Snack Crackers, 225g @ $2.79 *Price per 100g: $1.24/100g

My goal was to compare the same name brand at each store, but I was unable to find Premium Plus at Shoppers Drug Mart – so I went with a snack cracker for this one.

The store brand is cheaper, even when the name brand is on sale (and it’s a slightly larger box). Ritz/Christie does not often have coupons available, so the name brand will likely not be cheaper than the store brand.

The verdict: Store brand, but wait to see if it goes on sale.

Everyday Market Pasta

  • Catelli Penne Pasta, 500g @ $2.79 (on sale @ $2) *Price per 100g: $0.56/100g
  • Everyday Market Penne Pasta, 450g @ $1.79 *Price per 100g: $0.40/100g

This is another item where I was unable to find the same name brand, so I went with another popular brand instead.

The store brand is a better value when you convert it to a unit price. Catelli coupons are available quite often, so the name brand will likely always be cheaper. This is another item where ingredients are identical.

The verdict: Name brand when it’s on sale and combined with a coupon.

Simply Food Oatmeal

  • Quaker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal, 10pk @ $4.99 *Price per package: $0.50
  • Simply Food Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal 8pk @ $3.99 *Price per package: $0.50

When you break it down to price per package, the cost is exactly the same. Waiting for a sale on either would be best, since there are not often coupons for Quaker oatmeal.

Again, the name brand ingredients are pretty similar to the store brand – listing more vitamins, but the nutritional information is identical.

The verdict: Either one, which ever happens to be cheaper when you need it.

No Image Available

  • Liberte Plain Greek Yogurt, 500g @ $4.99
  • No Store Brand to compare

This is an easy one, since no store brand is available.

The verdict: Name brand when it’s on sale (and preferably with a coupon).

No Image Available

  • Breyer’s Vanilla Ice Cream, 1.66L @ $5.99 (on sale @ $3.99)
  • No Store Brand to compare

Again, I was unable to keep comparing the same name brand because Chapman’s was not available. This is another easy one, though, since no store brand is available.

The verdict: Name brand when it’s on sale.

Sobeys

Compliments Peanut Butter

  • Kraft Creamy Peanut Butter, 1kg @ $6.99
  • Compliments Creamy Peanut Butter, 1kg @ $4.99

There is quite a difference in price for this item, but also in ingredients. The store brand is full of soybean oil, molasses and icing sugar – all of which you won’t find in the name brand (thankfully).

The verdict: Name brand, but wait for it to go on sale (it often does).

Compliments Jam

  • Smuckers Strawberry Jam, 500mL @ $5.97
  • Compliments Strawberry Jam, 500mL @ $3.99 (on sale @ $3.50)

The ingredients are identical in both jams. When Smucker’s coupons are available, combined with a sale price, the name brand might be a better value (but not necessarily).

The verdict: Which ever happens to be cheaper – likely the store brand.

Compliments Mustard

  • French’s Mustard, 550mL @ $3.49 (on sale @ $3) *Price per 100g: $0.63/100g
  • Compliments Mustard, 500mL @ $1.99 *Price per 100g: $0.40/100g

The nutritional information and ingredients are identical. As for price, the store brand is cheaper – but French’s mustard coupons are frequently available. However, even with a coupon and a sale price, the name brand is not likely to be cheaper.

The verdict: Which ever happens to be cheaper, likely the store brand.

Compliments Crackers

  • Premium Plus Crackers, 450g @ $3.19
  • Compliments Salted Top Soda Crackers, 450g @ $2.99 (on sale @ $1.99)

The ingredients are almost exactly the same, so without a sale, store brand is the way to go. Premium Plus does not typically have coupons available, so the store brand will be cheaper when it’s on sale.

The verdict: Store brand.

Compliments Pasta

  • Barilla Rigatoni Pasta, 454g @ $2.29 (on sale @ $1.25) *Price per 100g: $0.50/100g
  • Compliments Rogatoni Pasta, 900g @ $2.49 (on sale @ $1.99) *Price per 100g: $0.28/100g

The store brand is a much better value, even without converting to a unit price. Barilla coupons are usually available, so using a coupon and waiting for a sale makes the name brand a super deal.

This is another item where ingredients are identical.

The verdict: Name brand.

Compliments Oatmeal

  • Quaker Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal, 10pk @ $4.49
  • Compliment’s Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal, 10pk @ $3.59 (on sale @ B1G1 FREE)

At regular price, the store brand is a better value and the sale price makes it an especially good deal. The ingredients are quite similar, with the store brand listing more vitamins as the only difference.

The verdict: Which ever is cheaper when you need it, likely the store brand.

No Image Available

  • Liberte Plain Greek Yogurt, 500g @ $4.99 (on sale @ $3.99)
  • No Store Brand to compare

This is an easy one since no store brand is available.

The verdict: Name brand when it’s on sale (and preferably with a coupon).

Compliments Ice Cream

  • Chapman’s Mint Chocolate Ice Cream, 2L @ $5.99 *Price per litre: $3
  • Compliments Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, 1.5L @ $3.99 (on sale @ $3.50) *Price per litre: $2.66

Both ice creams have similar ingredients, but quite a difference in price. Because Chapman’s coupons are readily available, waiting for a sale and using a coupon will be the best value.

The verdict: Name brand when it’s on sale and combined with a coupon.

Wal Mart

Great Value Peanut Butter

  • Kraft Creamy Peanut Butter, 1kg @ $5.97
  • Great Value Creamy Peanut Butter, 1kg @ $3.97

At regular price, the store brand is cheaper, but with a sale the name brand will be pretty comparable.

However, the store brand has another one of those undesirable ingredients; corn syrup. Yuck.

The verdict: Name brand, but wait for it to go on sale.

Great Value Jam

  • Smuckers Strawberry Jam, 500mL @ $4.24
  • Great Value Strawberry Jam, 500mL @ $3.17

The ingredients are not identical this time around. Corn syrup is once again found in the store brand. Also, when Smucker’s coupons are available and you combine them with a sale price, the name brand is likely to be cheaper.

The verdict: Name brand when it’s on sale and combined with a coupon.

Great Value Mustard

  • French’s Mustard, 400mL @ $2.27
  • Great Value Mustard, 400mL @ $1

The nutritional information and ingredients are pretty much identical. As for price, the store brand is much cheaper – but French’s mustard coupons are frequently available, so combined with a sale, the name brand could end up being cheaper.

The verdict: Either one, which ever happens to be cheaper when you need it.

Great Value Crackers

  • Premium Plus Crackers, 450g @ $2.54
  • Great Value Salted Top Crackers, 450g @ $2

The ingredients are almost exactly the same, so without a sale, store brand is the way to go. Premium Plus does not typically have coupons available, so the name brand will likely not be cheaper unless it’s on sale.

The verdict: Either one, which ever happens to be cheaper when you need it.

Great Value Pasta

  • Barilla Penne Pasta, 454g @ $1.79 (on sale @ $1)
  • Great Value Penne Pasta, 454g @ $1.57

Even without the Barilla coupons that have been available quite often lately, waiting for a sale makes the name brand cheaper.

This is another item where ingredients are identical.

The verdict: Which ever happens to be cheaper, likely the name brand on sale and with a coupon.

Great Value Oatmeal

  • Quaker Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal, 10pk @ $3.37
  • Great Value Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal, 10pk @ $1.97

The store brand is a much better price, however the difference in ingredients is that, again, the store brand contains “caramel colour”. This is an ingredient to avoid, so waiting for a sale on the name brand is the way to go.

The verdict: Name brand when it’s on sale.

Our Finest Greek Yogurt

  • Liberte Plain Greek Yogurt, 500g @ $4.97
  • Our Finest Plain Greek Yogurt, 500g @ $3.97

Both brands have identical ingredients. Even though at regular price the store brand is cheaper, Liberte coupons are available often, so combining a coupon with a sale price is a great deal.

The verdict: Which ever happens to be cheaper, likely name brand on sale and with a coupon.

Great Value Ice Cream

  • Chapman’s Chocolate Ice Cream, 2L @ $6.77 *Price per Litre: $3.39
  • Great Value Chocolate Ice Cream, 1.5L @ $4.47 *Price per Litre: $2.98

Both ice creams have similar ingredients and the store brand is also listed as peanut free. Since Chapman’s coupons are readily available, waiting for a sale and using a coupon will be the best value.

The verdict: Whichever is cheaper, likely the name brand when it’s on sale and combined with a coupon.

Please remember that prices and product availability will vary by region. Overall, many items are practically the same,whether they are a name brand or store brand. However, there are certain items where the brand really does make a difference.

Of course, if you have specific dietary requirements, always make sure you are reading food labels.

What do you buy more of store brand or name brand items?

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Comments
  1. Amanda says:

    I loved this article! I’m just wondering though, I never knew that you should avoid corn syrup. Is there a specific article or something you read where you got these “list of ingredients to avoid” or have you just learned about it? Thanks!

  2. Heather R says:

    This is a great article. Where I live there is no Safeway so I’ve not tried their products but when it comes to ice cream, I will not buy any that has artifical flavours or colours. I love the President’s Choice ice cream because it doesn’t contain either, but its expensive so I’ll only buy it when its on sale but I’m happy you showed Walmart’s Great Value ice cream. That’s something I haven’t tried and I see that it is free of artifical flavours and colours as well so I must try that sometime.

  3. Leah says:

    Love this article! Thanks for checking out the ingredients and including the quality of the products in your comparison!

  4. Brooke says:

    I bought the no name salted tops crackers and found them so overly salted that we threw them out. The no name unsalted crackers are good but I find that there are alot of broken crackers as compared to premium plus.

  5. Carrie says:

    ALWAYS avoid processed corn products, and only buy organic corn as it is the most heavily genetically modified crop. Watch “King Corn” and check out the millions against Monsanto and the many countries who are banning GMO crops.
    It is not worth saving a few cents when it comes to your health. You can purchase organic peanut butter that is ONLY peanuts and for a decent price. There is absolutely NO need for added sugar and oil in peanut butter. SDM Points Redemption is a good time to get it for free as well. Peanut butter also contains aflatoxin, a carcinogen worth researching. Try almond butter, apple butter, and sunflower seed butter on sandwiches =)

  6. SC says:

    One thing I would point out is that not all of the items compared are the same thing which can lead to some unfairness in the commentary on ingredients.

    For instance, some of the store brand yogurts you have selected are low/no-fat, while others are full fat. When you are comparing the PC Greek yogurt to the Liberte one, of course the PC one will have more than skim milk and bacterial culture in it; you just won’t get a full-fat 9% yogurt out of skim milk only. I have some of the 0% PC greek yogurt here, and on that, the ingredients are only skim milk and bacterial culture.

    • Nicole Homeniuk says:

      I did the comparison based on what was available so yes their is a slight difference in the items and their will be based on what is available in your stores. The point is to read labels and check prices so that you are getting the overall best value for your dollar.

  7. jo says:

    interesting post. I always go with store brand if the difference in price is negligible. if the store brand is cheaper but the kids won’t eat it than it just gets thrown out. there are times I will go with store brand with e.g. flour, sour cream.

  8. Rachelle says:

    Due to dietary restrictions (lactose intolerant, and VERY sensitive to MSG) I always read the labels… sometime the name brand is better then store brand for ingredients. Shockingly though, I find store brands (or store brand organic)are usually better for no lactose or MSG. That is my main consideration when picking store vs name brand.

    Also, when reading the ingredients I will usually buy the one that has the most ingredients I can understand, I want to know what I’m eating (and feeding my family)!!! Sometimes less is more…

  9. teachermum says:

    I too find that store brands will often have less/simpler ingredients.

    Regarding the peanut butter and corn syrup, I’m not sure what Kraft peanut butter you have, but the standard green jar that I figured you were comparing to has soybean oil, corn dextrin and hydrogenated vegetable oil-none of which are healthful. (we won’t talk about why I am reading the ingredients off of a jar from my pantry!) There are many that contain only peanuts and would be a better choice.

    I’ve also never seen the Shoppers Organics peanut butter in a 1kg jar, I thought it only came in 500ml, which makes the price comparison far different. I have, however, purchased it on sale at a very good price in the past, on a 20x day, of course!

    My first thought was over $6 for peanut butter? I’m still using my jars that were $1.99/kg from before the peanut shortage LOL! We’d go without before I’d pay $6!!!

  10. teresa says:

    this was an awesome ad I really wondered if noname were worth the money so this was very usefull for me thank you so much

  11. Olivia says:

    Excellent article. Thanks for all the hard work that went into it.
    As far as taste, remember that is very subjective, appealing to people differently. Opinions vary dramatically.

  12. Kris says:

    I was going to say the same thing, because out of the items you chose to compare, I would never buy store brand instant oatmeal…it just does not taste right!
    I avoid store brand peanut butter, not just because of the corn syrup but overall, it has more sugar…looking at different name brands, I believe most generics try to replicate Skippy (which has a lot more sugar than Kraft).
    As far as taste goes, waiting for sales/using coupons often makes sense.

  13. We’ll be working on that (taste) next, Sandra!

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