The Pros and Cons of Generic Label Products

Written by on August 22, 2012 in Health - No comments | Print this page


Everyone has seen them when shopping. The “store brand” food items with boxes that look almost, but not quite like the name brands. Logos designed to evoke similar memories, names that describe the product as similarly as they can to the name brand and other tactics are all employed for the sake of selling a generic instead of the name brand product. So what benefits do they offer, if any? Why should you consider buying a name brand over a generic?

Generics do have a number of benefits over the traditional name brand. For one thing, they’re almost always cheaper. This is especially visible in the pharmacy department, where generic brand medicines use identical ingredients but have a significantly lower price. Generic brand foods are also generally cheaper, though not as much.

Name brands do have one advantage. Most of the time they use slightly superior ingredients. While in a medicine the active ingredients are the same, the filler material may be different. This is especially true in foods, where lower quality ingredients can alter the taste and texture of the item. Nowhere is this more clear than in sugar-coated cereals, which simply don’t taste quite right.

Of course, occasionally the opposite may be true. Because of the general cost savings of generics versus name brands, generic brand organic products can be the same price as non-organic name brands. This makes the generic brand no longer a cheaper option, but a healthier one.

No matter what the product, the difference between name brand and generic brand will change depending on which store brand is on offer. A supermarket brand will use different ingredients and be set at a different price than another more upscale supermarket does.

In the case of non-consumable items, such as furniture and household objects, the difference doesn’t lie in the ingredients. In some cases, generic brands will use inferior construction materials in order to set a lower price and make more on sales. On the other hand, small chains with smaller up-keeps may be able to afford better quality materials in order to set a lower price and provide a better product.

In the end, which choice is better comes down to personal preference. There is generally nothing wrong with generic products except for the occasional lower quality. In some cases, a social stigma may accompany such generic products, but that has little bearing on the product itself. In many cases, paying for a name brand product is paying for exactly that — the name brand itself. In the most upscale of cases, that name can carry prestige, despite whether or not the ingredients or materials have any higher or lower quality level. It’s personal choice.

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