Just because you save money buying store-brand foods doesn't mean you have to sacrifice flavor. In Good Housekeeping Research Institute taste tests, some generic products performed as well — if not better — than their name-brand counterparts.
Here are eight generic-brand foods that deserve a home in your kitchen.
Shredded Cheese – 365 Everyday Value
The mild shredded cheese by 365 at Whole Foods won the tasters’ and editors’ pick, beating out nine name brand shredded cheeses. The cheese was praised for its “creamy” texture and “bold” flavor. With a price of $4.50 for 12 ounces, you can’t go wrong.
Multigrain Crackers – Trader Joe’s
For a buttery, budget-friendly cracker, try Trader Joe’s multigrain crackers. These snacks, which cost just $1.69 for a 10-ounce box, have a crispy, flaky texture with a hint of onion.
(See more: Asian hot sauce taste test: Beyond Sriracha)
Balsamic Vinegar – Archer Farms
Archer Farms balsamic vinegar from Target was noted for having "a good mix of tangy and sweet" flavor. With "hints of cherry" and "smoke", it's the perfect complement for salads, marinades, and even desserts.
The price of $7.99 for 16.9 ounces is hard to pass up.
Whole Wheat Pasta – 365 Everyday Value
While some whole wheat pastas have a gritty, unappealing texture, 365’s whole wheat pasta from Whole Foods stood out.
The pasta, with its mildly sweet and nutty flavor, was firm, yet chewy, when cooked. At $1.79 for 16 ounces, we bet you’ll be coming back for more.
Instant Oatmeal – Walmart Great Value
It may be the most important meal of the day, but that doesn’t mean you have to splurge on breakfast. Walmart’s Great Value brand instant oatmeal offers the same hearty breakfast at a fraction of the brand-name cost.
While Great Value’s oatmeal is missing the added sweetness, it lets you flavor your food as you like. You can buy 12 days’ worth of instant oatmeal for only $1.90!
Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns – Trader Joe’s
Grilling aficionados should try Trader Joe’s whole wheat hamburger buns. With their light texture and generous amount of sesame seeds, these buns could quickly become your healthier version of the classic. And the price is right, too: $1.90 for an 8-pack.
Frozen French Fries – Market Pantry
With an ultra-crispy outside and a "creamy" yet fluffy inside, it's hard to believe Market Pantry Thin-Cut Fries from Target were sold in the freezer section.
Enjoy 26 ounces of "potato-y" shoestring flavor for only $2.
Applesauce – 365 Everyday Value
Whole Foods’ 365 organic applesauce is the perfect combination of sweet and tart. Its consistency stays true to traditional applesauce without losing that apple flavor.
At $2.69 for 24 ounces, it’s a snack time staple that’s easy on the wallet.
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