Are you throwing money away? Don't fall for these 5 misconceptions about store brands


Our consumer research says that most people are familiar with store brands, but many misconceptions about them exist. We'll shed some light on some of the most common myths about store brand products that we've heard.

1. The retailer makes the store brand product themselves

Many people at the drugstore see the “CVS Health Sunscreen” on the shelf and they assume it was made by CVS. In the case of store brand food products and personal care products, this is almost never the case. The manufacturing of these products is contracted out to third parties, and in many cases it is the exact same manufacturer who makes the name brand.

2. Store brands are always worse than the name brand

This is the most common misconception we hear from consumers, and it couldn’t be further from the truth.  Private label manufacturers are experts in reverse engineering the name brands, and can come up with formulations that are nearly identical and of comparable (or even better) quality. And, in some cases, when the same manufacturer makes both the brand name and the store brand, it might be literally the exact same stuff in the bottle. But it’s important to check each product, as there are many cases when the store brand is a poor substitute for the name brand.

3. At any given retailer, the quality of store brands is the same

While the private label manufacturers do a great job of copying the name brand products in general, if you’ve read our reviews then you know that quality can differ greatly from retailer to retailer and product to product. That’s why it’s important to check on an individual product basis.

4. When a product says “compare to” it has to be the same

Store brands use the “compare to” label to indicate what name brand product they are attempting to copycat. However, this doesn’t mean that the product has to be exactly the same. Check out some of the reviews on our beauty blog, and you will see that these dupes can range from indistinguishable from the name brand to a cheap knockoff. To reiterate a theme of this post, there are a lot of awesome private label products that you should buy and reap the $$$ savings, but you can also get burned so it’s important to stay informed.

5. Quality of a store brand item will always stay the same

Many people will find a high-quality copy cat product that they love, and continue to buy it forever. However, because the retailers are not manufacturing their store brand products themselves, the product under the label can actually change.  For example, a retailer may switch suppliers because they are offered a better price, and the product inside the bottle will be different. Similarly, a retailer may switch manufacturers if they’ve been getting a poor quality knockoff that isn't selling well, presenting an opportunity for the informed consumer to find another bargain. We will continually update our database to reflect when a product has changed in quality.


Let us know if you'd like us to review a store brand for you.

Nic StockdaleComment