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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013

Save 30% on groceries with no couponing

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


You can save money at the grocery checkout by making a minor change to what's in your shopping cart.

Generic brand groceries are very popular overseas. But we spend far less of our grocery dollar on store brands here in the United States than in the rest of the developed world.

The latest issue of Consumer Reports tested a huge number of store brands vs. name brands. What did they find about private label? More than two-thirds of the time, the store brands were as good or better than the brand name in quality -- for 30% less in price!

Whatever inroads private labels have made in America can be attributed to a couple of retailers. Both Trader Joe's and Aldi, which have common ownership, have built business models of out opening supermarkets stocked almost 100% with private labels. I go to Aldi every 6 weeks to stock up, and to Trader Joe's more frequently.

Like me, others are learning that store brands are not a sacrifice, they're simply a savings.

In the Northeast, Stop & Shop has made it a goal to steer shoppers to their own private label. About 40% of their sales are private label, while a typical supermarket has only 20% of its sales comprised of private label. The way they push their private label is by setting up "market research" stands on Fridays and asking people to sample store brands and give their feedback. More often than not, those people go ahead and buy the product they're sampling!

If you're not a store brand person, I have a simple request: Try it just once the next time you're at the supermarket. If you like it, you save money that time and every time going forward when you buy it again. If you don't like it, go back to the national brand. Just about every store will give you a refund or exchange the store brand for the manufacturer's brand.



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