In the same way doctors and pharmacists are more likely to buy generic medicine; professional chefs are more likely to buy generic foods. According to this, chefs buy more generic baking goods (flours, sugar, baking powder etc.), tea and spreads than your average shopper. However, when it comes to ice cream, cereal and yogurt only name brands will do.
Most stores carry their own name brand products which are cheaper than the brand names. Their collection of no-name products has gotten larger and in many ways the quality better. Sometimes buying generic makes sense, other times it’s better to spend more for a branded product. That choice is personal and comes down to taste, ingredients and the source.
Below are the items I’m picky about and those that I feel any brand will do. Share your opinion on what you should and should not buy generic in the comments!
5 Foods You Should Never Buy Generic
The texture of pasta is the biggest difference between the brand and generic version. The one and only time I tried a generic pasta, it resulted in a clump of mooshy pasta. Another reason to use branded is if you’re looking for pasta made from different grains like spelt, whole-wheat etc.
No two tomato sauces are made the same. They differ in taste and liquid consistency. You know which brand you prefer (All Gold all the way), so stick with that, any other brand will just disappoint.
Generic peanut butters (as well as many branded ones) tend to be filled with unnecessary sugars and oils. Peanuts should be the first and main ingredient and if you find a jar that lists just peanuts and salt, you have a winner. Not only is the taste better when it comes to a branded jar, it’s better for you. The same goes for all nut butters – always check ingredients
Generic mustards are often thinner and don’t taste as good as a branded product. You’re also not going to find the variety and there are different mustards best for different dishes.
Dairy and Meat
It’s not only about the taste and texture but when it comes to Dairy and Meat it’s where it’s coming from that’s important. Know where your meat and dairy comes from and what’s in it. A brand you know and trust is best here.
5 Foods You Should Buy Generic
With the exception of spice mixes, taste wise there’s no difference between a generic spice and name brands. Stick to generic when it comes to common spices and splurge on the branded items for those speciality and hard to find spices.
When choosing oats, choose as raw as possible. Skip quick processed oats and flavoured oats (they’re filled with sugar!). If a recipe calls for oat flour – make your own by grinding oats until they resemble flour.
If you’re picky about where the Tuna is sourced from choose based on that. But, canned Tuna generally tastes the same no matter what brand you get.
Chickpeas together with most canned beans and legumes are the same no matter the brand. When it comes to chickpeas in particular, the biggest difference is between plain brine and flavoured brine. Choose the plain brine, especially if you’re using the chickpeas for hummus.
Choose locally grown veggies. Taste and quality wise there’s little difference between brands.
Zissy is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to make things, do things and wear things.