Name Brand vs. Store Brand: Putting them to the Test
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Name Brand vs. Store Brand: Putting them to the Test

  • Name Brand vs. Store Brand: Greek Yogurt

    I thought it would be good to compare 'apples to apples'..or in this case, 'strawberries to strawberries', so I got the strawberry version of each of the Greek yogurts, rather than plain. The seven brands I tried in this test were Dannon Oikos, Fage, Yoplait, Kroger, Voskos, Brown Cow, and Chobani.

    I tried so many different kinds, and each had a little different taste. Overall, I liked the Dannon Oikos the best. My least favorite was Brown Cow. Here was the ranking, based on taste. I took a picture, and listed them. And...just so you know, this little guy liked all of them the same. He ate the equivalent of 3 yogurts for this taste test.


    1. Dannon Oikos (The best! Great consistency, and the best combo of flavor and sweetness)
    2. Fage (good consistency, good flavor, but a little more expensive than the others)
    3. Yoplait (very sweet, didn't have enough strawberry flavor)
    4. Tie: Voskos, Chobani, Store Brand (all tasted about the same in terms of sweetness and flavor! Not very sweet, and didn't have enough flavor.)
    5. Brown Cow (Tasted bitter, and had no flavor)

    Cost wise, they are all about the same, except for the Kroger brand. It is about 20-30% cheaper per ounce: Unfortunately, I lost the receipt that says the exact numbers. But, the Kroger brand is is about 0.80 cents, and the others range from $1.00 to $1.50. Sometimes, you can get certain brands on sale, but I've never seen them go lower than 88 cents. In general, I think greek yogurt is a little too expensive for regular consumption in our house. 

    One thing I did this time, which I wish I would have done sooner, is look at the nutritional content. Fage is the only one with any fat (still, only 2.5 grams though). All of them pretty much had the same amount of sugar, between 10 and 19 grams. I was surprised that the bitter-tasting brown cow had 19 grams of sugar. I thought it would have a lot less than that. And, in terms of calories, Fage and Chobani both had the most at 140 calories. The least was Yoplait, which was 100 calories.So, health wise, they were all comparable. But, Fage is a little worse for you than the others. Yoplait and Dannon were pretty much the best.

    Overall, I'd say buy Dannon! I thought the taste difference was enough to warrant an extra 20 cents. If you do buy a lot of Greek yogurt, however, it might be better to go with the store brand- it will save you quite a bit of money in the long run. 

    Or, try making your own! If you just make homemade yogurt and strain it using   some cheesecloth, you can get yogurt that is the right consistency. I haven't done a cost analysis, but it should be quite a bit cheaper than buying Greek yogurt! And, if you add some strawberry jam, it should taste just as good as the store-bought brands.




  • Name Brand vs. Store Brand: Sauerkraut



    You might be wondering why we chose to do a Sauerkraut taste test...read on. For most people, a jar will probably last an entire summer, or year. I know it's probably not on a lot of people's favorite food lists. However, our family is a little obsessed with sauerkraut. Ever since I was pregnant with my son, I cannot get enough sauerkraut, on Costco pizza, hot dogs, and Reuben sandwiches...and sometimes I even eat it plain or even just open the jar to smell it. Multiply that by two for my sauerkraut loving spouse, and the sauerkraut pictured above will probably not last until the end of the month. (Sidenote, we also bought pastrami and swiss cheese in anticipation of this taste test, and we made sure we timed the taste tests correctly so we'd be able to eat it on all 50 hot dogs, too.)

    There are quite a few brands, but thought I'd try to use brands that are more universally available...so I picked Great Value and Vlasic.


    WINNER: Great Value: $0.62 or $.044 per ounce

    LOSER: Vlassic: $1.62 or $0.05 per ounce...which is still pretty cheap.


    WINNER: Great Value. Had a much better flavor!

    LOSER: Vlasic. Still good, but not as flavorful.

    Overall Winner

    Great Value, hands down! The price and the flavor were better.   

    Are there other brands of sauerkraut that you swear by? This test was definitely conclusive, but I'm always open to trying a new sauerkraut, especially if it has been recommended by someone.

    I've never tried making homemade sauerkraut. Have you? I'm sure it would taste pretty good, too. But, it sounds like it is a pretty lengthy process.

  • Name Brand vs. Store Brand: Hot Dogs


    We compared four brands, pictured above. The winners were:

    Price: Kroger

    • Kroger (8): $2.19 
    • Bar S (8): $2.78
    • Oscar Meyer (10): $2.98
    • Ballpark (8): $2.98

    Taste: Oscar Meyer

    Kroger and Bar S tasted the same, and Ballpark were a little better, and the BEST were the Oscar Meyer. 

    OVERALL WINNER: Oscar Meyer. There was enough of a taste difference to warrant spending the extra 80 cents...and for that price, you even get two extra hot dogs. Name brand DOES make a difference with hot dogs!

  • Name Brand vs. Store Brand - Pickles


    I tried to pick brands that would be available almost anywhere, and that were what I considered to be affordable. As you can see in the picture, the three brands compared were Great Value, Claussen, and Vlasic. I've broken down the results into three categories:


    • MOST EXPENSIVE: Claussen: $2.98 at ($ 0.149 per oz) 
    • SECOND MOST EXPENSIVE: Vlasic at $2.56 or ($0.107 per oz) 
    • LEAST EXPENSIVE: Great Value at $2.24 or ($0.093 per oz) 


    • BEST: Claussen
    • SECOND BEST: Tie between Vlasic and Great Value


    • BEST: Claussen
    • SECOND BEST: Vlasic
    • WORST: Great Value (there WAS a difference- these tasted mushier than the others, but it wasn't gross, just a little less crunch!)

    OVERALL WINNER: Tie between Claussen and Great Value-- keep reading to see why.


    We really liked how crunchy, garlic-y, and flavorful the Claussen pickles were. They also looked a little more natural, unlike the Great Value and Vlasic that had that weird neon greenish look to them. The only problem? The cost.

    Great Value

    There was a difference in the crunchiness between the Vlasic and Great Value, but when compared to the cost difference and the fact that they tasted the same, I think Great Value is the better option. And, unlike Claussen, these are actually affordable.

    Now, I should note that Claussen pickles are 'fresh', meaning they must be refrigerated all the time, and are never cooked. That is why they are crispier. We definitely liked the Claussen pickles the best. But, judging from the other article I read (see beginning of post), they rated Claussen last, quite a bit lower than Vlasic! Make your own conclusions...but they must have liked the 'standard' Vlasic flavor better. And, I think their classification scheme may have been a little more sophisticated than mine.

    In doing this test, I've opened my own can of worms...or in this case 'jar of pickles'...my husband ate the entire jar of Claussens in less than a few days, and asked for more. I don't know if my budget will be able to keep up with his newfound pickle appetite!

  • Do You Clean Your House Before You Go On Vacation?

     A lot of husbands don't understand why their wives clean the home before a vacation.  I personally like to come home to a clean home.  How about you?  Do you clean your home before you leave on vacation?

  • Tracking Every Penny You Spend

     Do you know where your money is going?  Do you keep a record of what you spend?  

  • How Long Could You Last Without Going To The Store?

     I have been going through my kitchen cupboards, freezer, etc. to make sure things are in order and think that we could last at least 3 months with a balanced diet.  How long could you last?  What are the most important things you keep on hand?  How much food do you think is good to keep on hand?

  • What Do You Stock Up In Your Pantry?

     Now is a great time to focus on stocking up your pantry.  What kinds of things do you stock up in your pantry? 

  • $5 Frugal Easter Feast: Think Outside the Box

    We are mostly just using what we have for Easter this year.  I will buy potatoes for 99 cents for a bag and broccoli for 79 cents per pound.  Other than that, we are just going to use what we have on hand.  If you don't have a lot to spend this year, just think outside the box.  No one said that you have to have ham for Easter.  Think of other things like an Easter brunch with omelettes and hashbrowns and fruit, an inexpensive cut of chicken with rice from the bulk section of the store, or have spaghetti with a veggie and some inexpensive fruit.  Think of having friends over and have a potluck.  Don't let the tight budget make you feel like you can't have a nice meal for the holiday.  The most important thing is to celebrate the real reason we have Easter and to spend the time with family and friends.  Think outside the box and be creative.  Remember, no one said you have to have ham!


    Do you have some ideas for a very frugal Easter?

  • Where are the good sales for Easter?

    Usually there are great sales around Easter each year:  eggs for 39 cents a dozen, and lots of other lost leaders that you could stock up on.  There were a couple of good prices today, like potatoes at one store for 99 cents.  But, there is hardly anything that I saw that was a really good deal.  Have any of you noticed that there just isn't a lot out there this year?



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