Consumer Reports: Store vs. Name brands taste test

September 18, 2012

Using trained taste testers - Consumer Reports checked out whole-grain spaghettis. All contain at least five grams of fiber per serving. Regular pasta only contains about two.

Some of the pastas had a cardboard flavor.

But two rated very good. 365 Everyday Value Organic from Whole Foods and Trader Joe's Organic.

Consumer Reports also tested 5 regular pastas with added ingredients like protein, calcium, and Vitamin D, as well as more fiber. One of the best was Ronzoni Smart Taste Thin Spaghetti.

Now we're pitting store brands against name brands. Buying store brands can lead to big savings: an average of 25% off your grocery bill. But do store brands taste as good? Consumer Reports put its taste testers to work to answer that question, too.

Consumer Reports did blind tests of 19 pairs of products. Target's Market Pantry Ranch salad dressing went up against Hidden Valley's.

"It was a tie," according to Adam Kaplan of Consumer Reports. "Quality-wise they're right about the same, but they had different flavors."

Walmart's Great Value battled Nature Valley's granola bar.

"Another tie," Kaplan said. "Both were chewy, and they were pretty much the same quality."

When Clover Valley's crackers from Dollar General went up against Sunshine's Cheez-Its... Another tie!

"The bottom line: Store brands are worth a try, and they usually cost a lot less."

Consumer Reports says that the savings and quality aren't limited to store-brand foods. For example, both Target's Up & Up paper towels and Walmart's White Cloud toilet paper have rated excellent in Consumer Reports' tests.

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