Last week, a shopper at the VG’s Grocery in Fenton could buy a dozen fresh “jumbo” eggs for $1.29. The eggs were sold under the private “Our Family” label. The same size eggs under another label could cost over $3 a dozen.

 Are the “Our Family” eggs inferior in some way? Experts say store brand products are just as good as their national brand counterparts.

 A private brand is a product that is manufactured for and sold under the name of a specific retailer, competing with brand-name products. Also referred to as “private label” or “store brand,” prices for private brands tend to be less than those of nationally recognized name brand goods. Private brand items can provide retailers, such as supermarkets, with a better margin than the brand-name goods they also carry.

 Branding products are more expensive for many reasons, ranging from marketing and advertising to investors demanding a high return-on-investment. Also, national brand products can carry prestige, which justify a higher price. There have been studies that suggest store brands are, in most cases, every bit as good as their name brand equivalents. Consumer Reports recently ran some blind taste tests and found 33 of 57 store-brand foods to be as good as or better than the big name brand.

 According to Consumer Reports, “We found that not only are store-brand foods often much cheaper, but in nearly 60 percent of the comparisons we did our experts found them to be at least as good as the national brand. We recommend that consumers take advantage of the lower prices. After all, if they’re not satisfied with the store brand, most supermarket chains will refund their money.”

 There may be some name brand food items that should remain in your shopping cart. For example, you might be fond of a particular brand of frozen pizza. If the store brand is made by the same manufacturer, that could be an option. On the other hand, if not it could be a disappointment. The only way to know is to give it a try.

 The overall objective is to save money without sacrificing quality, so the savvy grocery shopper should go where the savings are. Sometimes that might be the advertised brand. Shoppers should be on the lookout for sales and coupons that might make the advertised brand cheaper than either a store brand or generic.

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