Grocery Shopping
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Over 35 Store-Brand Foods That Deliver Quality and Savings

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Grocery Shopping
Hispanolistic/istockphoto

Higher on the Food Chain

It's common knowledge that buying store brands can add up to big savings at the grocery, but as inflation pushes our food budgets to the limit and supply-chain issues keep familiar products off the shelves, some formerly resistant shoppers are taking a second look at these cheaper alternatives. CNN reports Kroger officials are finding that today's high inflation has consumers leaning on store brands while also buying fewer items. Fortunately, many store-brand foods have actually beaten name-brand competitors in blind taste tests or amassed significant customer testimonials. Savvy shoppers will find tasty picks no matter where they shop, but this list of more than 30 store-brand products is especially full of items from Walmart, Target, Costco, Kroger, and Trader Joe's.


Related: Record Inflation Continues to Bust Consumers' Budgets

Kirkland Plain Bagels
Instacart

Kirkland Signature Plain Bagels (Costco)

Costco's Kirkland Signature brand earns praise consistently for taste and value. The bagels are no exception: Consumer Reports says they're equal in quality to fresh bagels from Dunkin' Donuts and cost less per serving. 


Related: Costco Foods With Cult Followings

Great Value Original Mac and Cheese
Cheapism

Great Value Original Mac and Cheese (Walmart)

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is so beloved that it's hard to imagine a store brand coming close to its iconic, kid-friendly taste. But Walmart has a winner on its hands, Cheapism's taste testers have found. The sauce was buttery and the flavor processed — in the best possible way, of course. Looking for a slightly higher-brow option? We also loved Trader Joe's Organic Shells and White Cheddar.


Related: 24 Walmart Brand Products That Shoppers Love


Safeway Five Cheese Pizza
Safeway
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Gianteagle

Giant Eagle Chicken Broth

Giant Eagle's chicken broth bests name-brand Swanson in taste and price, according to Consumer Reports. The store brand was cheaper by 14 cents a serving at the time of testing and earned praise for a pleasant, mild taste that contrasted with the processed taste of Swanson.


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365 Mild Cheddar Cheese
Amazon

365 Everyday Value Shredded Cheese (Whole Foods)

Testers at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute picked the mild cheddar from this Whole Foods store brand over nine name brands, including Kraft, Sargento, Crystal Farms, and Organic Valley. Judges praised the cheese for spot-on texture and flavor.



Great Value Shredded Mozzarella
Walmart

Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (Walmart, Sam's Club)

Shredded mozzarella cheeses from Walmart's Great Value and Sam's Club store brands are as fresh and tasty as Sargento, according to Consumer Reports taste testers. Judges said the main difference was texture: Sam's Club was firmer, while Great Value was a bit more crumbly. 


Related: I Tried Walmart's Grocery Pickup and This Is What Happened

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Trader Joe's

TJ's Bold & Smoky Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce (Trader Joe's)

Trader Joe's barbecue sauce tied Bull's Eye in a Serious Eats taste test of 16 widely available brands. Judges said the TJ's sauce was a "touch less sweet" than Bull's Eye, but well-balanced and smooth. They don't recommend Trader Joe's All-Natural Barbecue Sauce, however.


Related: The 29 Best Things to Buy at Trader Joe's

Great Value Vanilla Ice Cream
Walmart

Vanilla Ice Cream (Walmart, Trader Joe's)

Walmart's Great Value brand is the cheapest among a few store-brand vanilla ice creams that Cheapism testers considered nearly as good as Breyer's. Trader Joe's French Vanilla Ice Cream has been a standout in other blind taste tests, besting the likes of Ben & Jerry's and Häagen-Dazs. 


Related: The Swankiest Foods You Can Get at Walmart and Target

Great Value Vanilla Flavored Ice Cream Sandwiches
Walmart

Great Value Vanilla-Flavored Ice Cream Sandwiches (Walmart)

If you want a cheap ice cream treat without compromising on taste, head to Walmart. Cheapism taste testers say the store-brand ice cream sandwiches have a pleasantly chocolatey cookie shell that manages to hold its shape. Judges rated the brand better than competitors from Aldi and Blue Bell. 

Safeway Signature Salsa
Safeway
Target Market Pantry Ketchup
Target

Market Pantry Ketchup (Target)

Target's Market Pantry Ketchup is "remarkably similar" to Heinz for about half the price, according to Consumer Reports. Testers also liked Sam's Club ketchup, which they note is a bit less spicy.

2. Walmart Great Value Classic Chippers Chocolate Chip Cookies
Walmart

Great Value Classic Chippers (Walmart)

It's all about texture when it comes to store-bought cookies, and Cheapism testers say Walmart's Classic Chippers nailed it. Crispy, crumbly, and buttery without being greasy, these were a far better treat than Chips Ahoy and Keebler. 

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Olga Popova/shutterstock

Trader Joe's Cottage Cheese

All four judges in a Tampa Bay Times taste test said they would buy Trader Joe's Cottage Cheese, which they praise for ideal texture and well-balanced flavor. It bested pricier options including Horizon Organic, Daisy, and Breakstone in an evaluation of 10 brands.

Publix Chocolate Chips
Publix

Publix Chocolate Chips

The baking aisle is a great place to save with store brands, and chocolate chips are no exception. Testers with the Tampa Bay Times preferred Publix and Trader Joe's chocolate chips to much more expensive ones from Ghirardelli. The store brands were also judged far superior to Nestlé Toll House and Hershey's chocolate chips.

Related: 36 Common Substitutes for Cooking and Baking Ingredients

365 Mayo
Amazon

Mayonnaise (Whole Foods, Walmart, Costco and Target)

More than one brand fared just as well as Hellmann's in a Consumer Reports taste test. Experts say the mayo from 365 Everyday Value (Whole Foods), Great Value (Walmart), and Market Pantry (Target) would be hard to tell apart from Hellmann's on a sandwich.

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Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's Apple Cider

Trader Joe's Apple Cider was a runaway winner over Musselman's, Zeigler's, Murray's, and Martinelli's in a Tampa Bay Times taste test. Judges loved the extra spices and strong apple taste. It's worth noting that second-place Musselman's was just a dollar more for a bottle double the size of the Trader Joe's cider.

Kirkland Frozen Shrimp
Instacart

Kirkland Signature Frozen Shrimp (Costco)

Costco's Kirkland Signature Frozen Shrimp are firmer and less watery than Tastee Choice name-brand shrimp, Consumer Reports testers say. They also liked the Trader Joe's and Whole Foods versions but concluded that the Kirkland shrimp represent the best value among the store brands. 


Related: Costco's Best Buys for Packing Your Freezer

Simple Truth Organic Kona Blend Cold Brew Coffee
Kroger
365 Trail Mix
Amazon

Trail Mix (Whole Foods, Costco, Sam's Club)

Consumer Reports testers say 365 Everyday Value Chocolate Cherry Carnival Trail Mix from Whole Foods is even better than Planters Nut & Chocolate trail mix, but it's still pricey. They also recommend Kirkland Signature trail mix from Costco, as well as the trail mix from Sam's Club for consumers seeking a better value.

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Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips

Cheapism taste testers have praised these Trader Joe's tortilla chips for a crisp texture, spot-on flavor, and organic ingredients. They are a bright spot among Trader Joe's other chips, which testers found underwhelming.


Related: The Best Snacks at Trader Joe's

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Walmart

Great Value Flour (Walmart)

Experts agree that there's little reason to buy name-brand pantry staples such as flour. A large panel of taste testers organized by The Krazy Coupon Lady reinforces that advice, picking cookies baked with Walmart's Great Value Flour over the Gold Medal brand.

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Target

Market Pantry Orange Juice (Target)

The Krazy Coupon Lady recommends store-brand refrigerated beverages, because regional production means they are often fresher than name brands. Accordingly, testers gave a slight edge to Target's Market Pantry Orange Juice over name-brand Simply Orange.

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Walmart

Great Value Baking Soda (Walmart)

Only the most discerning palates will be able to determine any difference among baking sodas. The Krazy Coupon Lady recommends Walmart's cheaper Great Value baking soda over Arm & Hammer, unless you just must have that orange box.

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Target

Market Pantry Graham Crackers (Target)

Honey Maid is a staple in the cracker aisle, but it might not be worth the price premium. The Krazy Coupon Lady's testers picked Target's Market Pantry honey graham crackers over Honey Maid crackers by a wide margin.

Kroger Cocoa Puffed Cereal
Kroger

Cocoa Puffed and Crisp Berry Crunch Cereal (Kroger)

Taste testers with Thrillist pitted six name-brand cereals against their Kroger store-brand counterparts. In two cases, the Kroger cereals come out on top: Kroger's Cocoa Puffed Cereal "tastes exactly the same" as General Mills' Cocoa Puffs, testers said, and the Crisp Berry Crunch was deemed a good alternative to Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Berries from Quaker Oats.


Related: 30 Things You Didn't Know About Your Favorite Childhood Cereals

Malt-o-Meal Mini Spooners
Amazon

Malt-O-Meal Mini Spooners (Walmart)

Fans of Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats might want to pick up some Malt-o-Meal Mini Spooners for a lower price the next time they're shopping at Walmart. Several reviewers say they taste identical to Kellogg's, and they appreciate the much lower price tag.

365 Cashews
Amazon

Cashews (Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Sam's, Walmart, Costco, Kmart, Target)

Which store brands are better for cashews? According to Consumer Reports, just about all of them — Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Sam's Club, Walmart, Costco, Kmart, and Target — are superior to Emerald Whole Cashews, which weren't as fresh in a taste test. 


Related: 40 Low-Carb Snacks from Trader Joe's You'll Actually Enjoy

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Walmart

Great Value Hard Taco Shells (Walmart)

Walmart's Great Value taco shells edged pricier name-brand offerings from Taco Bell, Old El Paso, Ortega, and other brands in a Tampa Bay Times taste test. Judges praised the shells' texture and well-balanced flavor compared with competing name brands.

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Walmart

Great Value Strawberry Gelatin (Walmart)

Gelatin isn't expensive to begin with, but buyers can save even more with a store brand. Walmart's Great Value brand beat Jell-O, Kool-Aid, and other gelatins in a Tampa Bay Times taste test, earning praise for a fruity, well-balanced flavor. 


Related: 22 Things You Didn't Know About Jell-O

Publix New England Clam Chowder
Publix

Publix New England Style Clam Chowder

Judges with the Tampa Bay Times call this store-brand soup "a good clam chowder for beginners," because it has a more subtle clam flavor than other choices. The soup, while on the thin side, beat out name-brand competitors including Progresso, Campbell's, and Wolfgang Puck in a blind taste test.

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Amazon

Trader Joe's Creamy Salted Almond Butter

For true almond lovers, the nutty flavor shines through in this Trader Joe's almond butter, according to taste testers with The Kitchn. It also earned praise for being creamy and easy to spread. Jif, meanwhile, lacked the same intense almond flavor.

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Walgreens

Nice Refreshing Cola (Walgreens)

A panel of Thrillist tasters preferred this Walgreens soda over several other brands, including venerable Coca-Cola. Although Pepsi still took top honors, testers gave this store brand the runner-up spot, because they liked the slight vanilla taste.

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Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's Pork Gyoza Potstickers

These Trader Joe's frozen pork dumplings stood out in a taste test conducted by Serious Eats, nabbing one of the top three spots out of nine brands tested. Judges liked the firm skin and well-balanced filling, although some cautioned that these are slightly sweet for pork dumplings.

Good & Gather 50% Less Fat Kettle Cooked Potato Chips | Best Low-Fat Chip
Cheapism

Good & Gather 50% Less Fat Kettle-Cooked Potato Chips (Target)

Save on money and fat? Score. These Target chips were crunchy, salty, and flavorful, especially for a "healthier" option, beating out Lay's and Ruffles, Cheapism's taste testers found.

Great Value Original Cinnamon Rolls with Icing
Cheapism

Great Value Original Cinnamon Rolls with Icing (Walmart)

Back away from the Pillsbury and opt for this sweet treat from Walmart instead. Cheapism's taste testers say the sugar and vanilla are on point, creating a flavor reminiscent of a glazed doughnut. 



Market Pantry Tomato, Basil, and Garlic Pasta Sauce (Target)
Cheapism

Market Pantry Tomato, Basil, and Garlic Pasta Sauce (Target)

If you're looking to spend less on pasta sauce, this store-brand variety from Target is among the best, Cheapism's taste testers have found. Calling it "closest to the kind we remember from childhood family spaghetti dinners," testers praise it for its balance of sweetness and herbs.



Kroger Pizza Snack Rolls
Kroger
California Roots Chardonnay
Cheapism

Wine (Target and Walmart)

If you choose wisely, it's perfectly possible to get a good bottle of store-brand wine. Cheapism's wine expert sampled several of the offerings from Walmart and Target, and some were surprisingly good. The best of the bunch included Target's California Roots Chardonnay and Moscato, as well as Walmart's Winemaker Italian Red Blend, Chianti Classico, and Sparkling Rose. 


Related: 15 Best House Wines From Costco, Aldi, and Trader Joe's 


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