The nation’s leading consumer advocacy group continues to be beat the drum for retailers’ private brands, even though results of its recent research are less than favorable. As the economy declined in recent years, Consumer Reports increased its support of the store brand industry with regular features documenting the savings shoppers could realize by switching to store brands. The most recent example can be found in the October issue where the publication notes, “In our latest taste-off, store brand foods were often at least as good.” To arrive at that lukewarm conclusion of occasional comparability, the magazine used trained tasters to evaluate 21 pairs of staple food items. National brands won seven times, private brands won three times and in 11 other instances it was a tie.
Target scored a tie and a loss. Market Pantry Ketchup was among those items that tied with market leader Heinz, although the evaluation makes it clear that the two have very different tastes. “Heinz is spicier, with distinct Worcestershire notes. Market Pantry has mostly tomato flavor.”
Market Pantry tuna was compared with Bumble Bee, which was declared the clear and flavorful winner.
“Two of the lots of the Market Pantry had barely any identifiable tuna flavor and suffered from off-tastes that were tinny or reminiscent of diesel fuel and that even mayonnaise couldn’t totally mask,” according to Consumer Reports.
Other notable non-food Target brands revisited in a sidebar to the main story that Consumer Reports rated as excellent in prior reviews included Up & Up freezer bags and sunscreen and Archer Farms Belgian chocolate.