Name brands vs generic brands

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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Main Question or Discussion Point

When should one buy name brands, and when are generic brands just as good?

I know from personal experience that in some cases, name brands and generic brands are literally from the same production line. However, I have also seen situations where, for example, the rejected product from a name brand company, was sold for use by a generic brand.

One if the pickiest companies that I've ever worked with is Frito Lay. For example, if the dwell time [time from cooking to bagging] for a product is longer than thirty seconds [again, as an example], it is rejected. And I could write pages about some of the optical analysis used for EVERY potato chip. In fact, while they are a real pain to work with, Frito has fantastically rigid product quality standards. There is no way that a generic brand would use the same controls. In short, there are times when you get what you pay for.

I was almost kicked out of a Frito plant because I entered a food production area with Rolaids in my pocket. No kidding! I was standing at least thirty feet from any production line when I took them out of my pocket for a moment. The floor manager, who was standing right in front of me, about had a heart attack. And touching the product will instantly get you the death penalty. No one would even dare consider such a thing in a Frito plant. But other companies think nothing of one grabbing a handful of chips from a moving line.

To their credit, Pepperidge Farms refused to allow me to take a gallon of milk in while I was working between the Milano and Fudge Brownie lines. :biggrin: [Btw, I was the one who put the smile on the Goldfish ie I programmed and started the first line, when the smile was added. My nieces and nephews love that one!]
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Ivan Seeking
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Something else that is well worth discussing, I think. I am told that there is a significant difference between the quality of the gasoline purchased from a discount vendor, as opposed to a vendor like ARCO, or Texaco. I have never verified this claim but my impression is that its accurate.
 
  • #3
encorp
There can be varying differences at just about any vendor.

For example Sunoco used proprietary pumps at their outlets in order to blend regular gas with higher octane ones so they could achieve their mid-grade gasolines.
 
  • #4
turbo
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Something else that is well worth discussing, I think. I am told that there is a significant difference between the quality of the gasoline purchased from a discount vendor, as opposed to a vendor like ARCO, or Texaco. I have never verified this claim but my impression is that its accurate.
All the brands except one in Maine get their gas from tank-farms and add additive-packs to the tanker-trailers. The only difference is their additives. The lone brand that has their own refinery and source is Irving Oil out of New Brunswick. Years back, they were the only brand in Maine to have achieved BMW's standard for fuel-injector cleanliness. I buy all my gas from their stations.
 
  • #5
Ivan Seeking
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All the brands except one in Maine get their gas from tank-farms and add additive-packs to the tanker-trailers.
That is a little hard to believe... One small company in Maine has the best gas in the country, and everyone else is the same? Really?

I don't know how much flex there is in the definition of Diesel #1, or #2, but I know the quality of diesel fuel can vary quite a bit.
 
  • #6
turbo
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That is a little hard to believe... One small company in Maine has the best gas in the country, and everyone else is the same? Really?

I don't know how much flex there is in the definition of Diesel #1, or #2, but I know the quality of diesel fuel can vary quite a bit.
It's true. There are are several large tank farms that supply gas to tanker-trucks for all brands. Irving Oil (Canadian company) trucks all their gas from New Brunswick to stations in Maine and Eastern NH. Other brands get their gas and fuel oil from tank farms in ports like Portland and Searsport.
 
  • #7
Hepth
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I've noticed most off-brand or cheap-brand cleaning products tend to be less effective and/or diluted compared to the name-brand. That's one I refuse to buy cheap anymore.
 
  • #8
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I have noticed a big quality gap in generic vs name brand tools. I used to think that it was a rip off to pay $5 for something simple like a craftsman screwdriver since the generics are available for like $0.50. However, the entire set of generic screwdrivers I have are now either rusted or slightly bent. The craftsman tools that my grandfather left me are around ~30-40 years old, yet still work like they are new.
 
  • #9
Evo
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It's hit and miss. I'll try a generic food item if it's drastically less. Usually the brand I like is better, but I found that the generic brand of Amaretto coffee creamer was better than the coffeemate version. Now the generic costs more, so I've switched back to coffeemate, but a different flavor.
 
  • #10
turbo
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There are some inexpensive generic hot dog rolls around that are much better than the regional name-brands. They are fully sliced so you don't have to separate them, and because of that they lie nice and flat on the skillet so they brown evenly. The brand is County Fair, and the home office is in Kansas City, MO.
 
  • #11
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There are some inexpensive generic hot dog rolls around that are much better than the regional name-brands. They are fully sliced so you don't have to separate them, and because of that they lie nice and flat on the skillet so they brown evenly. The brand is County Fair, and the home office is in Kansas City, MO.
That would be Interstate Brands, they own Hostess, Wonderbread, & hundreds of other brands.
 
  • #12
turbo
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OK, not so generic, then, but I have never seen them around here before. The artisan butcher shop/deli has started carrying them, along with some other products with rather obscure brands.
 
  • #13
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The only difference is their additives.
I think its the same with generic food....sometimes the additives in the generic brands r scary! I was in Wal-mart *shudders* some weeks ago and I was comparing their brand to Crystal Light........I think once I study more chemistry I'll decide whether or not I should try it.
 
  • #14
Pythagorean
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I just found out recently my grandpa was a chemist somehow associated with food preservatives. He moved his family to the coast, bought a farm, and barred his kids from buying packaged goods.
 
  • #15
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The only time I can think of, off the top of my head, where I'm perfectly fine with the generic rather than the name-brand is with meds. Especially over-the-counter stuff such as acetaminophen with codeine, or ibuprofen, or ASA, or whatever is generic for Robaxicette/Robaxisal/ et al. There's no difference in efficacy as best I can tell. The same for prescription meds. Any time the pharmacy asks if I'd prefer the generic, at substantially less cost, I go with it.

The only exception I've run into recently was prescription potassium that my doctor told me specifically to get the brand name and not the generic, because there are absorption issues with the generic brand. My doctor's good for that, though, in having enough experience to let you know when it may be an issue.

Otherwise, with packaged foods, which are few and far between in my kitchen save condiments, I stick with name brands that I know I like. I buy generic or store-brand items such as liquid hand soap but name brand soap I know works well for me for showering. I use whichever popular brand of dishwashing soap that's on sale in the store, but I don't buy the generic brands because they tend to be so watered down that the bottle doesn't last very long therefore not making it such a great deal after all.

I have always regretted purchasing generic packaged foods. Always. Same with items such as garbage bags or plastic storage bags. The generic brands are always way inferior products and, say with large green garbage bags, when I've purchased generic, I always have to double bag them because otherwise they split and break too easily. I'm therefore purchasing half as many bags, and there's really no savings. So.
 
  • #16
Be it purely psychological or not, I agree that when it comes to food brands, I tend to prefer brand-name. Anything else (i.e. that I'm not going to be putting into my mouth) I don't have a preference on, as long as a quick check of the ingredients (or similar) list checks out.

I won't lie when I say that conventional marketing schemes hold no small amount of influence over me; a professionally marketed package good is infinitely more appealing than a generic version.

That said, I find that the #1 criterion for determining whether a brand good or a generic good is better is word-of-mouth around the products. If someone who should know their stuff tells me that there's 0 difference, I'll buy generic every time. Conversely, if I'm told the generic's shoddy, I'll be a brandie every time.
 
  • #17
Office_Shredder
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I'll be a brandie every time.
I suggest AA. They can really help with problems like this
 
  • #19
Generic brands doesn't care about branding, meaning they usually only care about money instead of quality of their product. That's why named brand usually come with quality.

found this article about say no to generic brands
 
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  • #20
DaveC426913
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Generic brands doesn't care about branding, meaning they usually only care about money instead of quality of their product. That's why named brand usually come with quality.
Sorry, this is just not true. At least, not always, as your claim implies. As mentioned in the OP, some generic brands are the every same product as the name brands, just without the label.

found this article about say no to generic brands
The writing in that article is absolutely dreadful. It reads like someone who got Cs in HS English, and bailed as soon as it was no longer a mandatory subject.

Not that this means he doesn't know his stuff, but it does suggest he is not associated with any organization that cares about (or can afford to staff) a proper copy editor when publishing his papers. How did he get through business school?
 
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  • #21
Chronos
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Name brand products are usually produced by, or under license, from the organization that spent all the money to qualify the product for public use. They charge more to recover the investment in this process. Generics take advantage of the limited protections offered by the patent process, but, 20+ years should be enough time to recover investment costs. But, it is certainly true not all generics are of equal quality. It's a hit or miss proposition. The playing field is more level with pharmaceuticals. Each product must be proven chemically equivalent to whatever name brand product they are cloning.
 
  • #22
FlexGunship
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Hmm, so this was an ultra-necropost. That being said...

My grandmother swears by specific non-brand name generic drugs. For example, she is under the impression that Walgreen's acetaminophen is better than actual Tylenol and other generics. The same is true of ibuprofen, except that she prefers Equate (Wal*Mart). In fact, she has said that she wished they sold Equate ibuprofen at other stores because she doesn't like shopping at Wal*Mart.

I love my Grandma. My crazy crazy Grandma.
 
  • #23
turbo
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I have had a lot of problems recently with arthritis. A while back, my wife picked up some Aleve for me. Yesterday, she picked up some generic naproxen (over twice as many pills at less than half the price of that bottle of Aleve). I'm pretty sure the generic stuff will work just fine.
 
  • #24
FlexGunship
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I have had a lot of problems recently with arthritis. A while back, my wife picked up some Aleve for me. Yesterday, she picked up some generic naproxen (over twice as many pills at less than half the price of that bottle of Aleve). I'm pretty sure the generic stuff will work just fine.
Naproxen sodium is my drug of choice for sure. I've got a veritable bucket of the stuff in my cabinet at home.
 
  • #25
Drakkith
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My personal stance is that GENERALLY you get what you pay for. It is fairly rare that I don't get my money's worth.
 

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