On Your Side: The Great Taste Test

By: Jeff Anderson Email
By: Jeff Anderson Email

News 12 at 6, May 5, 2008

NORTH AUGUSTA--The price of just about everything is going through the roof these days and everyone seems to be looking for ways to save a few extra dollars.

Switching over to store brand foods is one idea, but would your family tolerate them? Doctor Pepper or Doctor Thunder? Kraft or Big K? Fruit Loops or Fruit Wheels? They look similar, but what about the taste?

Lunch time at Our Lady of Peace School is like a walking commercial for big brand names.

Capri Sun, Hi-C , Lunchables and there's no shortage of Doritos. Big name brands and little else. They're what kids are familiar and comfortable with. But outside of the packaging, would they really know if they had something else??

We put a third grade class there to the test.

When asked what their favorite brands were, the answers flew in quickly and confidently.
"Powerade", "Coke", "Doritos", "Fruit Roll Ups", among others. Those are the brands they know. But is it the food or the marketing??

We brought along a laundry list of foods. Both brand names and store names. Things like Cheerios and Toasted Oats, and Wheat Crackers and Wheat Thins. In a blind taste test, we put them out side by side with no labels in sight to see which ones the kids liked best.

"You try one then try the one that looks like and tell me what you liked." they are instructed.

It's a battle of the brands. They went down the line, trying each thing and reporting what was good and what wasn't.
They simply tried both and reported in with which tasted better. There was a lot of chewing, crunching, gulping, thinking and savoring.

One-by-one, the results were tallied. In no time, they were done.

"If you guys had the choice would you get these or these??" I ask them while pointing to a bag of Doritos and a bag of Medallion brand nacho chips.

Most of the class responded with Doritos as the answers.

Gasps erupted when I told them "half of you guys picked these" when I pointed to the less expensive Medallion chips.

That's right, half of the group liked the store brand better than the brand name when it comes to chips.

And that was the name of the game for many of the products they tried. In almost all of the taste tests, the group was nearly split in half. The main exceptions, they did like Coca Cola better than the store brand. But for fruit chews, the store brand won out by a mile.

"Were you surprised that you liked more of the store brands??" I asked one of the students.

"Very surprised." she responded.

I asked several others "Could you tell a difference?" No, was the common answer on that one.

So even for those who picked the brand name, most said they couldn't tell a big difference.

In the end, many of these kids have a message for mom that might almost bring a tear to her eye.

"She could get the cheaper stuff." admitted one surprised third grader.

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