The most common New Years Resolution is to get in shape, but most of us are on a budget. If you’re like me and trying to make healthier choices and keep spending under control, compare the nutritional facts. I know, this might seem strange because the packaging and similar name leads us to believe that the generic and name brand are the exact same, but that is not the case.
If you think about this it makes complete sense, it is highly unlikely that the store brand got their hands on the exact same recipe as the name brand, uses the exact same factory as the name brand, and therefore uses different ingredients. Not to mention, in order to make it at a cheaper price cuts have to be made somewhere, so what sacrifices are the generic brand making? It seems very probable for the store brand to substitute higher quality ingredients for cheaper alternatives to keep the cost down.
My boyfriend drives a delivery truck for 10-plus hours a day, so he needs snacks to keep his energy up. He packs a lunch and he normally takes some fruit with him as well as some granola bars. His new obsession were the NutriGrain granola bars, our grocery store had their brand of the “exact same product” that was about $3 cheaper (he goes through about two boxes a week).
The first thing I noticed (since calorie, carbs, and sugars are displayed on the front now) was that the calories for the generic brand were higher, this caused be to turn the box around and read all of the nutritional facts. The generic brand of this particular item had higher sodium, sugars, calories, and carbohydrates, as well as less fiber than the name brand. This seemed insane to me, especially since the marketing for the generic items has lead most of us to believe that they are comparable to the name brand in every way.
I remember a conversation in my Foods class in high school where we discussed the differences between generic and name brands. My teacher said at one point she went on a tour of a factory that produces canned vegetables. Inside this factory they determined which vegetables were up to their standards for their brand, anything that didn’t meet their standards was placed in a pile and canned with a generic label slapped on top of it. So the name brand and generic brand came from the same factory, but the lower quality produce was put in generic cans.
In summary, we all love a good deal but if you’re trying to make healthier decisions be more aware of the nutritional facts. I’m not saying that this particular instance is the case for all generic items when comparing them to their name brand counter part, but do some investigating of your own the next time you go to the store!
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