Sunday, October 16, 2011

Generic groceries battle name brands

A recent KXAS article,  "Generic groceries battle name brands," discussed the "battle" going on between store brands and national brands for your attention and dollars.

Comparing a store's peanut butter prices:
"In the war of prices, we know who typically wins. Kroger peanut butter sells at $2.18, Jiff at $2.68."

But who really "wins" here - the customer or the store? 

What this article fails to mention is that store brands infrequently go on sale and never have coupons. Jiff often goes on sale for $2 or less and coupons are frequently available ranging from 50¢ to $1 off. Even at retail price, a 50¢ Jiff coupon brings the price to equal the store brand and a $1 coupon makes it 50¢ less! Buy the Jiff when it's on sale for $2, use a coupon and you pay 68¢ to $1.18 less than the store brand!

The trick is to buy the Jiff at the lowest price and buy enough to stock up until another sale/coupon deal comes up - usually in 3-4 months. 

Another point missed is that store brands sometimes trick you into thinking you are getting a better deal when you are not. 

A few weeks ago I noticed that Roundy's 10 pack oatmeal packets sell at $2.59, Quaker brand was $3.09. The Roundy's was obviously a better deal, right? Actually, the Quaker was a better deal and here is why:

Each Quaker packet is 15.1 ounces (151 ounces per box=2.04¢ per ounce) vs. Roundy's with 10.9 ounces each (only 109 ounces per box=2.37¢ per ounce.) That makes the Quaker cost .33¢ less per ounce. Now, if you can only afford one box for $2.59, you desperately need oatmeal today, you don't have any Quaker coupons, the Quaker isn't on sale and you don't mind the smaller packets and fewer options, the Roundy's brand is the better deal for you today.

However, on the day in question, the Quaker actually had a special bundle deal that week: Buy 8 boxes for $24.72 and get $10 back instantly at the register. That made each box only $1.84 PLUS you got a register catalina coupons for FREE milk ($3.50 value) and FREE eggs ($1.50 value.) That's like getting the Quaker for another $5 off (because you have to buy the brand name to get the milk and eggs free,) so it's like the Quaker was only $1.21 a box vs. the Roundy's smaller packets for $2.59 and that is without even using any coupons! You would basically get 8 boxes of Quaker oatmeal for less than $10 - which would only get you 3 boxes of the Roundy's brand. You also wouldn't need to buy oatmeal for a while, so that is one less item on next week's shopping list.

This system works for a LOT of brand name products - cereal, frozen foods, dairy, canned soups and vegetablescleaning supplies, health and beauty supplies - you name it! Let the store brands and name brands keep battling it out, because you can strategize, ignore the hype, buy smart and win the war!

(NOTE: We're getting into "oatmeal season" - so start watching for those coupons/sales!)

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