18 Foods You Can Scrimp On At The Grocery Store
It's OK to Buy Generic
If you’re trying to win brownie points in taste and texture by purchasing name brand items only, you’re really just losing money and not helping the flavor of your dishes. If you’ve stuck to name brand items only in the past, break away today and start buying generic brands so you can save your grocery budget for specialty items and organic produce.
Follow along as we debunk these pantry staples to start shopping smarter today.
Store brand is just fine.
2. Whole and Ground Spices
Store brands deliver plenty of aroma and flavor.
3. Block Cheese
If you’re not buying artisanal cheese, go for the cheapest option.
4. Precut produce
Buy whole fruits and veggies and slice them yourself to avoid the nearly 40% markup.
Buy in bulk, and store extras in the freezer for up to 9 months.
6. Tomato Paste
Because most recipes use little more than a tablespoon or two, it’s practically impossible to tell the difference between premium paste and less expensive options in finished dishes.
7. Fresh Herbs
Buy combo packages, sometimes labeled “poultry mix,” that give you smaller amounts of several herbs to avoid waste.
Now that most supermarket store brands have eliminated growth hormone (check labels to be sure), there’s no need to splurge on organic or name brand.
9. Canned Beans
Any difference you might notice is lost in the rinsing and draining.
Brown Rice and Other Whole Grains
No quality drop-off in cheaper bulk offerings.
11. Bagged Lettuces
Store brands are just as good and often on sale.
12. Popcorn Kernels
Cheaper brands pop and taste about the same as premium kernels. They keep for as long as a year, so buy in bulk and store in airtight containers.
13. Table Salt
No real difference in taste or size of grain among brands.
You’ll get the crisp crumbs regardless of brand.
15. Neutral Cooking Oils
Canola, vegetable, and safflower—they’re flavorless. Buy cheap.
16. Cooking Spray
All that matters is that it lubricates the pan, which they all do.
17. White Vinegar
The most fundamental of vinegars, what matters here is its 5% acidity level. While taste does indeed vary among brands of other vinegars, such as white and red wine, balsamic, and sherry, white vinegars are consistent.
18. Dried Beans and Lentils
Just as with rice and whole grains, you’re fine to go with cheap bags here.