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Money-Saving Secrets: These Store Brand Items Are Actually Made By Name Brands

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Walmart Groceries

We all know that sometimes store brands may not compare to name brands…BUT did you know that many store brands are actually manufactured under a “private label” by big brand companies specifically for that retailer and sold at a fraction of the cost? Instead of paying more for the same or a similar product, check out a few store brand items that I found to be just as good as its competition. 👍

– COSTCO –

If you have a Costco membership, you may be interested to know that many of their Kirkland Signature branded items are actually made by big brands and sold at deep discount.

Here are a few…

1.) Kirkland Signature Batteries

According to the CEO of Costco, in an interview he did with a reporter, the Kirkland Signature Batteries are actually made by Duracell. You can pick up a 72-pack of Kirkland Signature AA Batteries for under $19 (that’s 26¢ per battery) whereas a 40-pack of Duracell AA Batteries sell for $15 ( = 37¢ each).

2.) Kirkland Signature Liquor

Buy liquor? A salesperson at my local Costco told me that many of the Kirkland Signature liquors are made in the same warehouse/region as the name-brand product. For example, a 1.75L bottle of Kirkland Signature French Vodka sells for just $19.99 and is actually made in the same warehouse as Grey Goose Vodka that sells for $47.99/1.75L bottle at Costco and even more elsewhere!

Note that not all Costco stores or their Liquor Departments have a liquor license to sell Kirkland Signature branded alcohol, so consider calling your local Costco store before making a special trip.

3.) Kirkland Signature Coffee

Did you know that select varieties of Kirkland Signature Coffee are actually roasted by Starbucks Coffee Company? You can pick up a 2lb bag of Kirkland Signature House Coffee for around $9.99 (31¢/oz) whereas a 20oz bag of Starbucks Coffee sells for $11.99 at Target (60¢/oz). BIG savings!

4.) Kirkland Signature Tuna

If you’re a fan of tuna, the Kirkland Signature White Albacore Tuna is supplied by Bumble Bee Foods and sells for roughly 25¢ per ounce whereas the 5oz cans of Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore Canned Tuna sell for $1.59 per can (= 32¢ per ounce) at your local Target and $2.29 at Safeway stores.

5.) Kirkland Signature Pet Food

Also, all of the Kirkland Signature Super Premium and Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Pet Foods are made by Diamond Pet Foods in four company-owned manufacturing facilities in the United States.

A 35-pound bag of Kirkland Signature Nature’s Domain Grain-Free Dog Food sells for $26.49 at Costco (= 76¢/lb) whereas a 28lb bag of Diamond Naturals Grain-Free Dog Food sells for around $39.99 at Specialty Pet Stores (= $1.43/lb). It’s no wonder Costco’s Dog Food is one of their best-selling items!


– TRADER JOE’S –

Trader Joe’s doesn’t have a factory where it makes its own products but instead sources them from well-known brands and sells them under the Trader Joe’s private label at a deep discount, like these…

6.) Trader Joe’s Pita Chips

Have you ever eaten Trader Joe’s Pita Chips with Sea Salt? These chips are so yummy and taste essentially the same as the Simply Naked flavor of Stacy’s Pita Chips in different packaging with a lower price. A 6oz bag of Trader Joe’s Pita Chips sells for $1.99 whereas a 7.33oz bag of Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips sell for $2.99 or more at stores like Sprouts Farmer’s Market and other stores.

7.) Trader Joe’s Organic Vegetarian Chili

Trader Joe’s Organic Vegetarian Chili which sells for $2.29 per can is identical in taste, ingredients, and appearance to Amy’s Organic Medium Chili which sells for $3.49 at Safeway stores.

8.) Trader Joe’s Organic Shells and White Cheddar

If you’re a fan of Annie’s Organic Shells & White Cheddar Macaroni which sells for around $3.49 per box at Safeway stores, be sure to give Trader Joe’s Organic Shells and White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese a try as they taste essentially the same and you can grab a box for just $1.29 at Trader Joe’s!


– WALMART –

As a store brand, the Great Value line doesn’t consist of goods produced by Walmart, but is a labeling system for items manufactured and packaged by agricultural and food corporations, such as ConAgra and Sara Lee which, in addition to releasing products under its own brands and exclusively for Walmart, also manufactures and brands foods for a variety of other chain stores. Here are a couple…

9.) Great Value Peanut Butter

Why pay for Peter Pan Peanut Butter which sells for $3.88 per 20oz jar at Walmart (that equals 13.9¢ per ounce) when you can opt for Walmart’s Great Value brand priced at $3.32 for the same size jar (that’s just 11.9¢ per ounce), as both items are manufactured by ConAgra Foods.

10.) Great Value Bread

The 20-24oz loaves of Great Value White Bread sell for just $1.48 at Walmart and are actually made in the same bakery that makes Sara Lee Bread (as well as Nature’s Harvest, Bimbo Bread, and other brands), which sells their loaves of classic white sandwich bread for $2.28 each at Walmart.

Note that the companies I contacted were not willing to disclose this information to me, so some of the data in this post is based off online research and my “detective work”. 😃 I suggest grabbing a few store-brand & name-brand items and doing a taste test to see if YOU can tell the difference!

Although personal taste and preference will vary by person, here are a few store brand items that I love buying at a fraction of the cost and think they are the same or better as competing name-brands! If you are looking to save without the hassle of coupons, buying store brands is an easy way to do that!

Normally-Expensive Hair Care

If you’re looking to save on hair care products, consider grabbing these large bottles of Kirkland Signature Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner at Costco – a 33.8 fl oz bottle of shampoo sells for around $9.99 and the matching conditioner sells for just $7.49. This product smells amazing, is sulfate free, paraben free, color safe… and rumor has it that this product is actually made by Pureology.

As a price comparison, a single 33.8oz bottle of Pureology Hydrate Shampoo alone sells for over $65 at Ulta Beauty stores. That means you can grab serious savings by purchasing at Costco!


Sugar

As you can see, a 4lb bag of Great Value Pure Cane Sugar at Walmart sells for just $1.98 whereas a bag of Imperial Sugar sells for $2.44… and they are virtually the same exact item in different packaging.


Over-the-Counter Medicines

Store-brand medications must be FDA-approved and must carry the same active ingredients as name-brand drug manufacturers, so consider buying store brand whenever you’re feeling sick.

For instance, a twin pack of Equate 220mg Naproxen Sodium 150ct Caplets sells for only $5.98 at Walmart (that’s just 4¢ per caplet) which compares to Aleve’s Caplets 220mg with the same active ingredients that is priced at $12.67 at Walmart (a whopping 8¢ per caplet). Need I say more?


Gasoline

Despite the myth that generic, off-brand gasoline is weaker, it is actually just as effective as stations like Shell, Chevron or ExxonMobil as ALL fuel (including unbranded fuel!) must meet certain regulatory guidelines for for RVP, ethanol percentage, octane and more.

Although gas prices will vary greatly by region, I often find that Sam’s Club and Costco have great prices on gasoline. Also, you can often earn points by filling up at stores like Kroger or Safeway. Be sure to check out GasBuddy.com for local pump prices in your area.


Paper Towels

One of the products I love to grab while shopping at Costco are their Kirkland Signature Create-a-Size 2-ply Paper Towels with 160 sheets per roll. The Kirkland brand regularly sells for around $1.53 per 100 square feet whereas the Bounty Advanced Paper Towels sell for $2.63 per 100 square feet.

Although you may be able to find cheaper prices on paper towels at other stores during a sale and/or with coupons, the Kirkland Signature Create-a-Size 2-ply Paper Towels are a nice price and work well.


Baby Wipes

Did you know that Target offers a 1-year satisfaction or money-back guarantee on ALL of their exclusive-brand, private label items? If you are not satisfied for ANY reason, just bring back your receipt to a Target store to receive a full refund within one year of the item’s purchase date. LOVE!

Not to mention that many of the Target store brand items work amazing or even better than name-branded items as they are always working to improve their brands. For instance, a 72ct package of Up & Up Baby Wipes sells for $1.59 (that’s 2¢ per wipe) at Target whereas the same size package of Huggies Simply Clean Wipes retail for $1.99 each (that’s 3¢ per wipe).


Canned Veggies

Although some name-brands may have more enticing and colorful labels when compared to store brands, keep in mind that their canned vegetables are essentially the same exact thing.

For instance, a can of Sweet Peas at Walmart regularly sells for just 68¢ each whereas a can of Del Monte Sweet Peas with the exact same ingredients (aside of using sea salt instead of salt) sells for 98¢.


Interesting Facts from the Private Label Manufacturers Association:
  • About $150 billion worth of store brands were sold in 2016
  • Shoppers can save $44 billion per year by choosing private label products over national brands
  • Store brands are not cheaper – they are just less expensive to market than national brands
  • Retailers use manufacturers to supply their products, including large national brand manufacturers that utilize their expertise and excess plant capacity to supply store brands

Written by Mary for Hip2Save. Mary is a proud mom to 3 kids in Austin, TX, who thrives off running long distance, bargain shopping, warm weather, a yummy latte…and a little Candy Crush from time to time. She loves quality time with family & friends and sharing great deals with others.

Join The Discussion

Comments 174

  1. mamato2

    Do not put Costco gas in your vehicle. My husband has been a mechanic for thirty years and Oregon is an unregulated state for fuel. He is in contact with factory engineers weekly with car lines. When concerns of fuel economy and vehicle performance arise, all manufactures recommended chevron. He has worked on ford, Jeep/Chrysler, Acura, Volkswagen and Hyundai. We only put chevron in our vehicles. I understand gas is expensive but it will save you from costly repairs on your vehicle and give it longevity.

    • Shopper

      Thanks for your advice. Sorry to see people disrespect others on this sight. That just tells you the class of person they are. Mamato2 thanks for taking the time to tell us about the quality of gas.

      • Kathleen

        I have bought Costco gas for all of my cars and have never had a problem with it. I have a brother-in-law that sells pipes to the gas industry and he said it’s all mixed together. So the name brands selling at a higher price is the same as the cheaper gas.

    • Jess

      Ok, but not every state is unregulated and I know many mechanics who happily put Costco and other gas in their tanks. We don’t even have Chevron in my area.

      • Kelly A.

        All gas is the same. We are in the business. The only difference is the additives the brands choose to put in, which are additives you can buy yourself if you wish.

    • Skipp Kole

      This is nonsense! Costco gas is a Top Tier gasoline (see toptiergas.com).
      TOP TIER™ Detergent Gasoline is the premier standard for gasoline performance. Nine of the world’s top automakers, BMW, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Audi recognize that the current EPA minimum detergent requirements do not go far enough to ensure optimal engine performance.

    • Dealzgurl

      I know that other posters are saying all gas is the same, etc. and maybe it is but it doesn’t seem like it to me either. I’ve had some bad experiences with a couple of different gas stations so I avoid them like the plague. So, thank you, for posting your husband’s thoughts. Since your state is not regulated for fuel, it could be that the gas sent there is different from the gas sent elsewhere. Everybody’s experience is different.

    • Kay

      When I used to live in Texas, for several years I worked at the corporate office for a convenience food store chain and I was in charge of ordering the gasoline for all the stores. Some of our stores touted a sign with a name brand gas, such as Mobil or Texaco and charged a higher price for the gas than our other stores sold their gas at a lower price and were just “generic” gas stations, however I ordered all the gasoline from the same fuel distributor and all the gasoline that went to the generic and name brand gasoline stores was the same gasoline.

    • Kristen

      We only put Chevron gas in our vehicles as well. 😃👍❤️

  2. Tina L.

    One thing to note is that Costco is a Top Tier gas provider, you can check the website for the Top Tier brands, so well worth the money. http://Www.toptiergas.com

    • mamato2

      I really love this sight because you can post your thoughts and opions and it is up to you to decide for yourself. I was just trying to help others. My husband and I have put Costco premium in our cars and they didn’t get very good gas mileage. Another thing is when ever my husband put Costco gas in his truck it would mess with his gas gauge and not run as good as when he put chevron in. I don’t feel I’m disrespecting others at all. I’m trying to let you know for readers who live in Oregon that our gas is unregulated and would not recommend using Costco gas. I wasn’t referring to every state and I have good intentions.

      • Ashley

        I operate underground pipelines for an oil company- all gas runs together in those pipelines- there is no differentiation by brand. All pipelines for different refiners interconnect. Seeing how Costco doesn’t have their own refinery, they are just buying gas from one of the major refiners in America and rebranding in their own name. Your husbands distaste for Costco is merely his opinion and has no basis in fact

  3. sue

    Lets face it. Many times you get the quality that you pay for……….and sometimes you get lucky. That is why we like this site! Happy Near Year everyone.

  4. Lissa C

    Love the whole article! Great info! I would love to see more like this!

  5. Jan

    Many years ago I had a manager from H-E-B in Central Texas come speak to my class. I taught Family and Consumer Sciences. He told the students they had a recall on Salmon and he asked which brands. They said take all off. When we were canning the Salmon we put over 70 different labels and they ranged in price from 79 cents a can to 5.98 a can. It was the exact same Salmon.

  6. Cass

    I am a truck driver by profession and everything in this article is true. I know because I pick up and haul this stuff and the store brand and generics are put on my trailer from the exact same plants all the time. They might use a slightly different recipe on cereals etc but virtually you are getting the same quality of food.

  7. Faye

    I used to work in both the food and pet food industries. Both made different store brand items as well as their own name brands. BUT the recipes were different and in some cases the quality standards were different. I’m not saying they were worse but I doubt any name brand is putting their exact recipe on another label. It is a matter of preference and if you feel the cost is worth it.

  8. rel8ted

    The Blue Bunny rep told me that they make Schwan’s ice cream.
    Tony’s , Freschetta, DoGiorno, and Red Baron all get stockedin retail stores from the Schwan’s deopt – same products.
    Mrs. Smith’s, Edwards, Pagoda and Larry’s are all owned by Schwan’s.
    There are many more. Everything that they sell is available under a retail label in a grocery store somewhere without the delivery prices.

    • Desie

      DiGiorno I know is not by Schwan’s, my father is their delivery rep where we live. DiGiorno, California Pizza Kitchen, and Tombstone are all pizzas by Kraft Foods (now owned by Nestle).

  9. kat

    I’ve been told that the brand of sugar you purchase matters (especially if you’re a baker). The brand named grains are actually measured so that all are equal in size and weight. Crazy, right? Makes a huge difference when working with large recipes and melting consistency. I was also told that factories outside the USA are not regulated and working conditions can be filthy.

  10. Amy

    Reading the comments on this post and seeing all the disagreements cracks me up! We are all adults here (I think) and we all know what we like and don’t like. Some store brands taste better and some don’t. After being alive for 36 years, I know what brands I like and don’t like. But I don’t feel the need to argue with anyone over it lol

  11. Mary

    I toured an ice cream plant which also produced milk, it was a name brand ice cream plant. We watched as they filled cartons of milk and put the same milk in different labeled milk companies cartons.

  12. Allison

    Its easy to check the differences in the medication in-active binding ingredients. Take a name-brand pill and drop it in a glass of water. Take a generic pill and drop it in a different glass of water. Sometimes it turns out ok. Sometimes the generic never dissolves, not even after 48 hours and then I decided to wash the glass and get it off my countertop. Personal experience is that generic benedryl at SamsClub and generic motrin at Costco turn out ok. HOWEVER, I’ve never had success with the Equate brand at Walmart.

  13. LC

    good info to know!

  14. Mabos

    I once took a tour of the famous Anderson Pretzel factory. Imagine my surprise when the stopped the machines and changed the bags for the pretzels to Great Value bags, then continue on! So, you can pay $5 for Anderson pretzels in an Anderson Pretzel bag, or you can pay $2 for Anderson Pretzels in a Great Value bag!

  15. Hanna

    I’ve heard Costco diapers are made by Huggies and their formula is made by Similac. I have always been a generic brand person, but in some cases I love the store brand better anyway.

    • Sarah

      I have heard this too! Kirkland diaper and formula are great!

    • Rochelle

      I don’t know where my pediatrician got his information, but he told me to buy Kirkland formula because it was just Similac repackaged and actually thought it was the best formula on the market.

  16. Lel

    I think that the Kirkland Tuna is much better quality than the other brands found in supermarkets. As has been said on Hip2Save several times before, Aldi and Great Value cookies are just as good as the name brand ones. Sometimes better. I have hit or miss experience with generic shampoos/conditioners. I don’t like generic flour. Aldi donuts are also good but I have bought other generic products from Aldi that were not nearly as good as name brand. What I am getting from all these comments is that generic is often just as good but not always. You have to try them. Places like Aldi and Costco have great return policies so there is little risk.

  17. Casey

    I will say a lot of generic products are made with the same ingredients. Just look at the back no difference.

  18. Lel

    I like Aldi potato chips. They are just as good for 1.09 to 1.49 per bag

    • marie

      Agree 100%!!

  19. Sarah

    I totally agree about store brands being just as good as name brands because they are made by the name brands! Winco’s brand of potato chips and kettle chips are really really good as well!

  20. Lisa

    Not everything tastes the same. Walmart peanut butter is not the same as name brand. There’s some things I just can’t go cheap on like mayo,coffee,creamer,and peanut butter,and laundry detergent.

  21. Sarah

    Applesauce is like that, a plant in our town makes Musselmans, White House, and Great Value. The same recipe, they just change the packaging. The only time they change the recipe for a brand is if they do a specialty one like “all Granny Smith” or something. Toured the factory in high school and have bought great value ever since.

  22. Pat Goff

    I have always used Kroger gas in my car. It is a 2005 Hyundai and it is still going strong. It has been all over the US on trips and still runs great. No issues yet other than battery, starter, and altanator which have nothing to do with gas. LOL

  23. Pat Bogard

    A couple of years ago, Consumer Reports did testing on laundry detergent and Costco Kirkland brand was rated higher than Tide. I believe they are the same manufacturer.

    • HolaLolaCola

      Nope!
      Proctor & Gamble doesn’t supply private labels, so this isn’t true.
      And I’m glad. I just can’t patronize P&G when there are far better, safer, more quality and still affordable products available than the super toxic and ever changing products contantly being cranked out by Proctor and Gamble.
      However, Henkel manufactures a ton of private label detergent products and it appears that they manufacture the conventional Kirkland laundry detergent products while the environmentally responsible detergent is made by a separate company that manufactures several other green laundry/cleaning products.

  24. Colleen

    Yes Kirkland diapers are made by Kimberly Clark who makes huggies diapers. They are just the older style huggies and Kirkland laundry detergent isn’t made by proctor and gamble but they did a test and the Kirkland brand got the stains out better than tide. Also luves baby diapers are made by the same company that makes pampers they are just the older style pampers so if you like pampers buy luves if you like huggies buy Kirkland

  25. George

    Thank-you for the help .

  26. Danielle

    I researched the Grey Goose, Kirkland Vodka theory a couple months ago. Rumor had it that the Kirkland Vodka was Grey Goose just bottled in Kirkland Labels. Kirkland is bottled at the Grey Goose MFG, but they use a different recipe for the Kirkland label. I have read that in some blind taste testing some people preferred it over Grey Goose. I have not tried it myself, but I have bought it. I live in Oregon, so our Costcos don’t sell alcohol, but I brought some back from California. For $20.00 for a big bottle can’t go wrong.

  27. Rae

    Our Costco carries Annies Mac&Cheese 12pk for 12.99. The best deal around… except for when our HyVee has a sale on it plus the Health Market discount then it’s about .75 per box. Only the Gluten Free Annies is over $3 at HyVee.

    I remember learning about this in economics class, how some manufactures will sell private label and it is either the same product or possible a slightly different product.

    A comment above said P&G doesn’t sell private label but Duracell is a P&G brand so if that were true then the post is wrong and the kirkland batteries are not made by P&G/Duracell.

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