OPINION: Store brands vs. name brands


Each time I go to Target, I am consumed by the limitlessness of products. Each section contains a variety of aisles, which contain a variety of products that all vary in cost. With each step I take, my mind is pushed farther into the rabbit hole of deciding between store brand and name-brand products. The influence of society’s dependence on the latter makes my chances of making it out with money left in my wallet slim to none.

This dependence has been the result of good marketing for name-brand products. In reality, the prices for name-brand products are higher because the marketing reaches more consumers than store-brand products’ marketing. The more people willing to buy a product, the higher you can make the prices. It’s simple economics.

Oftentimes, consumers mistake the higher prices for better quality, but that just isn’t the case, according to Jim Wang’s CBS News article “Generic vs. brand name: Is there really a difference?”

A common misconception is that generic medicines will not work as well as the name-brand drugs, but how the Food and Drug Administration regulates the making and selling of generic and brand-name medicine are virtually identical, according to the “Facts about Generic Drugs” page of the FDA’s website.

“When a generic drug is approved, it has met rigorous standards established by the FDA with respect to identity, strength, quality, purity and potency,” according to the FDA’s website. “Generic drugs are required to have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage form and route of administration as the brand-name product. Generic drugs do not need to contain the same inactive ingredients as the brand-name products.”

The same is true for some food products, like flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar or milk.

“Staple food products like flour, sugar, corn starch, pepper and others are regulated,” Wang said. “In many cases, the same manufacturers produce the generic products and the brand name.”

While I believe saving money is always a good idea, there will only be one true Oreo and my childhood love for Mrs. Butterworth maple syrup will always be the strongest.

Childhood favorites aside, buying generic products will sometimes give you the same product as the name brand will — the only difference is in the packaging.

When a generic and name-brand milk were put up against each other to test quality, it was found that the only difference between the two was the packaging, despite the name-brand milk being $2.45 compared to the generic price of $1.67, according to The Krazy Coupon Lady article “25 name brand vs generic face-offs: Best and worst revealed.”

The difference between the quality of generic and name-brand products is a lie our society has created to make the industry more competitive. In my opinion, the only difference between generic and name-brand products is how well-known they are, and this is a direct product of marketing. The rabbit hole of deciding between generic or name-brand products that our society is stuck in is self-made and unnecessary. After all, doesn’t everyone like saving a little extra money without having to give up quality?