did a supermarket test comparing 21 name brands to store brands. National brands won seven of the tests, store brands three, and the rest were considered equal. Still consumers insist on wasting money on brand names.
Brad Keim does most of the household shopping at his home, and sticks to the brand names he loves.
He admits that he is set in his ways. If he's stocking up on tuna, he says, "We generally will buy Starkist Tuna," If he's running low on tomato soup, he tends to buy Campbell's Soup.
Keim adds, "I don't mind spending a little extra to have the kinds of things that we like."
It turns out that Keim is like most shoppers. A new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows Americans are choosing brand names over generic and wasting an estimated $44 billion a year in doing so.
In fact Consumer Reports says shoppers can save 15 to 50 percent or more by switching from brand names to stores brands. So why are they grabbing the brand names? The report suggests that it's because ads are more likely to mislead the least informed buyers.
Marketing professor Bob Robicheaux believes it has everything to do with strong brand recognition and loyalty. Many consumers like the brands that they like, and are just not that sensitive to price.
It's a reality that stuns retailers. They were expecting that tough economic times would boost store brand sales. However, that really hasn't happened.
The report goes on to show that the most well informed shoppers were more likely to buy store brands over the brand name options. For example, chefs who were surveyed were more likely to buy store brand food items for their homes. Pharmacists showed the same results.
Pharmacist Steve Trimble says, "I would find the lowest cost alternative for what I need to treat."
He adds, "Store brand and brand name drug products are very similar, for example aspirin is aspirin."
On the other hand, Robicheaux points out, "In some instances the brand names are actually superior. They are made of better quality."
But think about this: almost any store brand product is worth a try because there's little risk. Most grocers offer a money-back guarantee if their products don't meet your expectations.
National brands often give unsatisfied buyers coupons even though the process might take a while.
Click here for a list of ten store brand products that are the same as name brands.