Setting the record straight: Store brands or name brands or…?

Setting the record straight: Store brands or name brands, which is cheaper?

Before I give you the answers, let me just say that has databases that go back as far as 10 years. These databases track sales at over 200 supermarkets’ marketing divisions, with over 10,000 items in each of those divisions. The numbers are both fascinating and revealing. All that to say, I know what I’m talking about. Numbers don’t lie.

In a survey released today by SymphonyIRI, on consumers’ beliefs and trends on all things “back to school”, I see that consumers don’t really know what the best deals are or where to find them. But there is something that consumers are right about and finally learning in this economy:
“58 and 57 percent of all respondents, respectively, are stocking up on items because they are on sale and buying what’s on sale versus their favorite brands” – That’s a good thing. Glad to hear it. That’s what Gamers call “investing”, the only way to make sure you never have to pay full price for groceries.

But are they getting their groceries at the lowest possible price. Are they going to the right place to shop? The survey further reveals: “… among households earning more than $100,000… 46 percent are visiting supercenters, such as Walmart Supercenter and SuperTarget, more often.” That’s more often than before this rough economy. Sigh… Walmart is not the best place for savings. Grocery Game databases reveal that the best savings on groceries are at the hi-lo supermarkets, which are major supermarket chains. Their sale prices typically dip lower than their EDLP (every day low price) counterparts. And no, Walmart doesn’t match all the sales at your local supermarkets. I’ve blogged about that ad infinitum. So I’ll step down off of that soap box for now.

Now on to the store brand vs. name brand question… The survey reveals that “half of … survey respondents note store brand lunch box components… provide better value versus national brands.” Sigh… Here’s the facts…
Nationwide in 50 states, we see the following levels of savings. Most of the time, it goes like this, starting with highest prices to lowest prices when it comes to nearly everything in the supermarket:
1. Name brand at regular price (not on sale)
2. Name brand on sale or Store brand at regular price (about equal)
3. Store brand on sale
4. Name brand on sale with a coupon

Here’s what this means, going through the above list from most expensive to least expensive:
#1 – Name brand products at their regular price will kill your budget! That’s what you get if you are brand loyal and shop only for what you need each week. This is the worst thing you can do. Fortunately, most people know that.

#2 – When name brands go on sale, they are usually about the same price as the store brand at regular price. Better than #1, but not good enough…

#3 –When store brands go on sale, they will usually beat name brands on sale. Getting better. But it gets better still…

#4 – Here’s where you want to live! Shop name brands and use a coupon to go with it. According to our databases, this will give you the lowest final prices on your groceries most all the time.

Grocery Gamers save an average of $512 a month for a family of four, have top quality food and household products, and don’t have to keep a coupon file. By playing the game, they invest in the 4th scenario, and only venture into the 3rd  or 2nd level up when they “need” something they haven’t invested in. They rarely pay full price, as in the first scenario.

Listen and learn… There will be a test. I would like to see the statistics improving on the next survey.

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