There was once a time when buying off-branded food was as desirable as walking around with an imitation handbag. However, today, private label groceries aren’t necessarily any less nutritious or less tasty than the products we have come to know and love thanks to advertising.
As stores have begun to roll out their own labels, including organic and gourmet options, shoppers have started to take notice. In fact, according to a recent report, 81% of people are now making private label purchases on every single supermarket trip, and sales of store brands rose eight times as much as national ones in the same year. However, are they always a bargain? Below are eight foods that you should never buy generic.
There are so many branded yogurts on the market that choosing one can be quite difficult. As a result, shoppers will usually gravitate toward whatever yogurt has the texture and flavor that they prefer the most. Generic brands tend to sneak in extra sugar or other additives, so it’s best to check the label.
2. Canned Beans
While you won’t find much taste variation among canned beans or chickpeas, there is a good reason to stick with a known brand – they hold up better in recipes.
Very often, cheaper or generic cheeses tend to have more additives and fillers than necessary. Furthermore, they tend to score lower than branded cheese on taste tests.
A carton of eggs might look like any other, but all eggs are not created equal. It all depends on what the chickens that laid them have been fed. For example, Eggland’s Best eggs have six times more vitamin D than other brands and less saturated fat.
Packaged coffee is one of the top seven most commonly adulterated foods. It’s often imported, and producers may bulk up the ground beans with cheaper fillers such as corn, soybeans, or even twigs. Furthermore, coffee drinkers often report that name-brand coffee tastes better. If you do decide to buy a store brand, go for whole beans to reduce the chances that it has been compromised.
Products that contain fair trade and organic cocoa and sugar have one of the highest rates of mislabelling and product tampering in the entire food and beverage industry. Furthermore, since dark chocolate’s health benefits are dependent upon its cacao percentage, it’s important to read the ingredients label carefully. In taste tests, brands such as Ghiradelli came out on top.
For the most part, generic brands are lower in cost and equally nutritious, but certain products can vary widely in their specific ingredients, which is why it’s vital to read nutrition labels very carefully. For example, some generic peanut butters have unhealthy additives such as added sugars or extra fat from non-sustainable resources such as palm oil.
8. Tomato Sauce
Products such as pasta sauce, marinara sauce, or plain tomato sauce that use high-quality tomatoes and spices with good olive oil tend to taste much better and require less additional sodium and sugar. Store-brand versions might be better for recipes that call for smaller amounts of tomato sauce, such as soups and stews.