Buying store or corporate brands - Kroger Part 1

By: Jill Maxwell
By: Jill Maxwell


I’ve never been a big buyer of store brands at the grocery store but recently, I’ve started paying attention to these items. Store brands can save you a lot of money and if you shop around, you don’t have to sacrifice quality.   Since they were the first to respond to my request, we’ll start with Kroger. It’ll probably take me a couple days to do all the research, so I’ll update you daily.  Next week, we'll address another store, then another, until we address them all.
Kroger has three levels of what they call “corporate brands”. First is the Private Selection brand which they consider their premium tier. This includes ice cream, gourmet meat and cheese and frozen desserts such as tiramisu. 
Next is the Kroger brand. These are the mid-range items and include a lot of the staples we use every day such as cereal, bread, peanut butter and cleaners. Milk is included in this category as well and we use Kroger brand milk all the time. The milk has saved over $2.00 a gallon at times! 
The third tier is their Value line and is for those people who are looking to really save a lot of money. While it is their “lowest” tier, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it. Their chicken (boneless and other cuts) is well received by shoppers. I just bought the Value coffee to try it – I’ll let you know how it is. 
I contacted Kroger to find out how the sales of the corporate brands have done. A recent report, released June 30, 2009, from their corporate offices indicated that corporate brands represented 26% of sales dollars. The report also stated that Kroger’s own brands “typically carry retail prices significantly lower than the national brand equivalent”. As much as 50% lower in some instances – which can’t be beat even using coupons.
So, my next task will be to make a trip to Kroger and compare items head-on. I’m planning on using the basics such as bread, milk, cereal along with some higher priced items like household cleaners. I’m planning on going tomorrow at lunch, so if you know of anything you want me to check the price on, email me at  
As for taste and quality, that will take a little longer to investigate – I can’t taste everything in one night! As I mentioned earlier, the milk tastes like milk. I’ve also tried other items before like peanut butter, frozen vegetables, sour cream, cream cheese – all items I’ve used in another recipe. When used to create something else, I’ve never had any issues. 
If you’re making something like vegetable soup from scratch – the broth is the key ingredient. If you have a good, rich broth – you can use the generic vegetables and it’ll taste great!
Probably the only item I haven’t gotten good reviews on is their shredded cheese. A friend used it on pizza and… it never melted. So, I’d be wary of that one!
Stay tuned to Maxing Your Money and I’ll update you on what I find during my outing!
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