5 products to always buy generic

Buying generic frozen foods, cleaning products, pain relievers and these items can save consumers up to 30 percent at the grocery store

Name brands aren’t always better quality products.

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Consumer Reports tested store brands up against brand named items and found that they are equal if not better quality than well-known labels. And buying generic can cut 30 percent off supermarket spending.

Buying generic foods can cut supermarket spending by 30 percent. 

Indeed, a survey from IRI found that 75 percent of consumers believe store brands are just as good as major national brands.

Here are some of the best product categories to buy generic:

Frozen foods and snacks

Trained taste-testers at Consumer Reports tried 57 store food brands and found that 33 of them were as good if not better than their name-brand rival. Of those, frozen shrimp and vegetables, roasted cashews, ketchup, maple syrup, mayonnaise, shredded mozzarella and vanilla ice cream made the cut. And the survey found that Trader Joe’s was the top-rated grocery store for having its private-label foods live up to the taste of brand-name alternatives.

Generic ice cream and other frozen foods were ranked as some of the best items to buy generic by Consumer Reports. 

Milk and juice

Check the label of the generic milk or juice brand to see if it’s made locally. Since most grocery stores carry regionally-made generic milk and juice brands, it’s likely that less processing went into it.

Since milk is typically made regionally, consumers could save money by purchasing the generic store brand.

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Spices and baking products

A separate survey from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that professional chefs were more likely to buy generic seasonings, spices and baking staples like salt, sugar and baking soda generic.

Over-the-counter pain relievers

Consumers looking to save a few bucks on over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol or Advil can read labels side by side to generic brands for comparison. If the active ingredient is the same, it could be a better and cheaper choice. People with allergies should be sure to look out for ingredients like gluten that may be in a generic product, PolicyGenius advises.

Boxes of Tylenol cold medication are seen in a pharmacy. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch). 

The Food and Drug Administration requires that pain relievers have the same ingredients as their name brand counterparts to keep consumers safe. The FDA says a generic medicine works in the same way and provides "the same clinical benefit as its brand-name version."

"When considering buying generic versus brand name products, generic prescription and [over-the-counter] medications provide some of the most significant savings of 30 percent or more, understanding that the FDA requires band name and generic drugs to have identical effectiveness," Regina Conway, a consumer expert with SlickDeals.net, told FOX Business.

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Water

Store brand water bottles are typically cheaper than name brands and are likely just as good, Conway said.

Grocery store generic water bottles are much less than big name brands.

"Another category where generic products offer considerable savings is with bottled or sparkling water, for example, grocery store generic sparkling water cans are about 16 cents apiece versus 34 cents each (or more) for premium brands," she said.

Cleaning products

If the ingredients in cleaning products like detergents, all-purpose sprays and floor products are the same as their name-brand counterparts, consumers could spend a fraction of the cost.

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