Going Generic

Brand names are drilled into our heads from the time we're born. They're in commercials … on billboards … on t-shirts.

Lacey Rose, forbes.com: "Advertisers want to hook people young because they want that brand loyalty that comes with a young consumer. They want to find someone today that's still going to love their product tomorrow."

A consumer reports survey reveals that strategy appears to be working pretty well.

Lisa Lee Freeman, Consumer Reports: "For women who often buy the same brand of groceries, 48 percent say it's the same brand they grew up with."

But is a new day dawning? Twenty-nine percent of women surveyed said they're buying more generic brands these days and they're saving money because of it. We went shopping at this Target store in Clovis to see just how much.

Down the medicine aisle: the Target brand of Ibuprofen is .97 cents versus Advil at $3.49. The allergy medicine Claritin is $19.89. The generic is nearly $8.00 cheaper, $11.99.

Kleenex is $1.69 a box. The target brand $1.19. Head and Shoulders Dandruff Shampoo is $6.64. The Target brand half that, $3.19. Tilex Shower Cleaner is $2.69. The generic is $1.99. Even with food, a box of Rice a Roni is $1.02. The no-name 74-cents. A can of Del Monte corn is 99-cents versus 69-cents.

On this shopping trip alone, we saved a total of $15.35 buying six generic items over brand names.

"We test a lot of store brands and over the years we've found that they can be almost as good or even better in some cases than brand-name products. And they can save you a lot of money."

For instance, great value laundry detergent from Wal-Mart did a bit better in consumer reports' tests than this Tide with a touch of Downy. And these store-brand dishwasher detergents from Wal-Mart and Target did as well cleaning dishes as brand-name detergents, but they cost a lot less. However, consumer reports says there's one area where women are particularly reluctant to switch from well-known brands.

"Surprisingly, 71-percent said they wouldn't buy anything other than their favorite brand of pet food."

Perhaps those women really believe you can't teach an old dog new tricks.


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