Generic Brands To Avoid At The Grocery Store

Brand loyalty is what keeps many name brands around for decades. But some shoppers buy generic because it’s cheaper, or they don’t notice a difference in quality. However, many generic products rate much worse than their name-brand counterparts. Discover the worst off-brand items that aren’t worth the money saved.

No One Wants Off-Brand Oreos

The legitimate Oreo name brand is the only cookie that will have the exact taste and texture consumers want.

oreo-generic
Albertson’s
Albertson’s

There are several generic brands that are okay but will never be quite the same as original Oreos. People want a certain feel for their cookies that other generic brands can’t replicate.

There’s No Comparison For Boxed Macaroni And Cheese

When it comes to generic boxed macaroni and cheese, the quality of ingredients is not so good.

generic-mac-and-cheese
Amazon
Amazon

Name brands such as Kraft make sure to use top quality ingredients, which heavily improves the taste. Also, the price range between generic and name brand boxed macaroni and cheese isn’t that different.

Stick With Name Brand Coffee

A study was done where people tasted generic and name brand coffee and every person who was part of the study agreed that the name brand was better.

close up of Nescafe Original
Newscast/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Newscast/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

While the various name-brand coffees taste different, some of the best-tasting included Peet’s, Starbucks, Illy, Green Mountain, Maxwell House, and NescafĂ©.

Generic Cotton Swabs Don’t Have The Same Quality

One of the most reliable name brands of cotton swabs is Q-Tip. These are made to last and can be found at most grocery and convenience stores.

generic-cotton-swabs
Amazon
Amazon

Generic cotton swab brands aren’t usually made with high-quality materials, so they are more likely to bend and snap when used. Also, some generic brands don’t have as many cotton swabs in a package as the Q-Tip brand.

Generic Syrup Is Runny

One of the biggest differences between generic and name brand maple syrup is the consistency. Generic maple syrup is usually thin and runny.

target-syrup
Target
Target

However, name brand maple syrup such as Mrs. Butterworth or Log Cabin are thick and buttery. Also, name brand maple syrup usually has a richer and sweeter flavor.

You Get What You Pay For With Ice Cream

Those who’ve had generic ice cream most likely have noticed that it doesn’t quite taste the same as the other name brands.

generic-ice-cream
Walmart
Walmart

This is because generic ice cream will use lesser quality ingredients in order for them to not charge as much as the name brands. High-quality ice cream will usually have real cream and other natural ingredients.

Off-Brand Deodorant Doesn’t Last As Long

Deodorant is something people buy regularly, so it may be easier to get the cheaper generic brand. This can actually be a big problem.

Secret and Sure deodorant on display
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Generic brands tend to have a funkier odor than name brand scents and the deodorant tends to wear off a lot quicker as well. It’s important to check the ingredients in deodorant because some are known to cause cancer.

Off-Brand Sodas Don’t Have The Right Ingredients

While generic soda brands are usually more inexpensive than name brands, it may be worth it to splurge. The generic brands have an off-taste that doesn’t fully match the name brands.

off-brand-soda
Reddit
Reddit

For example, the recipe for Coca-Cola is one of the most guarded in the world with dozens of sacred ingredients.

Off-Brand Tomato Sauce Doesn’t Taste The Same

Most tomato sauce is usually reasonably priced, but there’s a stark contrast between generic and name brand. The name brand sauce usually has high-quality ingredients.

generic-tomato-sauce
Target
Target

The tomatoes and spices are fresher and have a better taste. Generic brands often have lots of added sugar to give the tomato sauce a sweeter flavor.

The Quality Matters With Cheese

It’s important to look at the label when buying cheese from the grocery store. Generic brands may be cheaper, but they probably aren’t worth it.

off-brand-cheese
Walmart
Walmart

It’s best to buy the name brand cheeses because they use high-quality milk. They often have a better taste and texture, while the generic cheeses use filler for flavor and color.

Don’t Go Cheap On Olive Oil

Olive oil is one of the most common cooking oils, but people should be particular about the brand they choose.

generic-olive-oil
Walmart
Walmart

While both generic and name brand aren’t close to freshly made, the name brands tend to be the best. It’s important to stick to the dark bottles because they prevent the oil from oxidizing.

Generic Cereal Doesn’t Taste Quite Right

Those who’ve tried generic cereals probably noticed that they don’t taste exactly like the name brands. This is because generic cereals often have a lot of artificial ingredients and added sugar for flavor.

off-brand-cereal
Kroger
Kroger

Name brands such as Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch may be a little more expensive, but they tend to have the better taste.

You’ll Be Disappointed With Generic Eggs

Most people can’t get their eggs fresh from the farm, so they turn to options available at a local supermarket.

Eggs are displayed at a supermarket
Philippe Huguen/AFP via Getty Images
Philippe Huguen/AFP via Getty Images

Brown versus white eggs aren’t really the issue. Name brand eggs tend to be the better option because they tend to have more vitamins and nutrients than generic brand eggs.

Generic Garbage Bags Will Rip

One of the most important factors when picking out garbage bags is their quality. People never want their garbage bag to rip, but that is more likely to happen with generic brands.

generic-brand-garbage-bags
Walmart
Walmart

Most name brands are good quality and some even have odor blocking technology to make sure the trash doesn’t make the house smell.

Generic Paper Towels Are Too Thin

It’s not the best idea to buy paper products such as paper towels and toilet paper when they’re generic brands.

generic-paper-towel
Family Dollar
Family Dollar

These tend to be a lot thinner and will rip and break a lot faster than name brands. Name brand paper towels such as Bounty are thicker, softer, and last longer.

Avoid Generic Brand Batteries

Generic brand batteries are usually cheaper and tend to come in larger packs, but they aren’t the better choice when compared to name brands.

batteries piled up
John Cameron/Unsplash
John Cameron/Unsplash

Name brand batteries such as Duracell and Energizer last a lot longer. Generic batteries usually don’t have enough power to make them work properly in electronics.

Generic Brand Yogurt Can Be Packed With Sugar

There isn’t too much of a difference between the prices of generic and name brand yogurt, but there are other factors to keep in mind.

strawberry yogurt with pieces of ripe banana
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Generic yogurt brands usually have low-quality ingredients and rely heavily on added sugar for flavor. It’s best to find yogurt with natural ingredients and these tend to be name brand such as Chobani and Fage.

Off-Brand Canned Beans Aren’t As Good For Cooking

It might be assumed that there isn’t too much of a difference in price or taste with generic and name brand canned beans.

generic canned beans
Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images
Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images

In actuality, there are more positives with name brand canned beans. These tend to be better with recipes such as chili or soup. Generic brands are usually a little overcooked.

Avoid Generic Peanut Butter

It’s important to skip the generic brands of peanut butter at the grocery store because they usually contain hydrogenated oils, added sugar, and other artificial ingredients.

peanut butter close up
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Your best bet is to pick a name brand because they will likely have more natural ingredients. This is because name brands will usually follow consumer taste trends.

No Question, Ketchup Needs To Be Name Brand

Condiments such as ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, and salad dressing never taste the same when they are bought generic.

generic-brand-ketchup
Walmart
Walmart

There isn’t too much of a price difference with generic versus name brand condiments, so consumers should stick to the better-tasting name brands. Name brand condiments usually have better quality ingredients as well.