Consumer Reports Once Again Finds Private Brand Quality Wins

Consumer ReportsOnce again Consumer Reports has found that buying Private Brand foods can save Americans money at the supermarket, and more often than not they’ll get products that are at least of the same quality as the national brand. Consumer Report‘s expert taste-testers judged 33 of 57 Private Brand foods to be as good as or better than the manufacturer brands product.

In categories such as ice cream, trail mix, mozzarella, mixed vegetables, and more, Consumer Reports found at least one store brand from the national grocers Costco, Kmart, Sam’s Club, Target, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and Whole Foods that was equal in quality to the national brand. For example, CR’s expert testers found that Market Pantry (Target) ketchup was just as good as popular name-brand Heinz.

“We found that not only are store-brand foods often much cheaper, but in nearly 60% of the comparisons we did our experts found them to be at least as good as the national brand,” said Tod Marks, senior project editor, Consumer Reports. “We recommend that consumers take advantage of the lower prices. After all, if they’re not satisfied with the store brand, most supermarket chains will refund their money.”

The full report can be found online at and in the October issue of Consumer Reports magazine, which hits newsstand this Thursday August 29.

Private Brands account for about one of every four products in a supermarket – and they’re branching into niches that lack national brand competition, Consumer Reports notes. Their growing popularity might well be economic. Some of the store brands tested by CR were more than 30 percent cheaper.

Consumer Reports also found that Costco, Sam’s Club, Target or Walmart were among the low-price winners in every category. However, store brands aren’t always a bargain. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods usually contended for the most-expensive store brand. In fact, five of the 10 tested Whole Foods products actually cost more than the national brand.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.