Imaeyen Ibanga

TODAY   |  November 09, 2013

Mom secretly tests generic brands on her family

Making a few changes to the shopping list can help save a bundle, and a family saved 33 percent just by swapping out name brands for store brands. TODAY’s consumer correspondent Janice Lieberman reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> this morning in "today's" "consumer" saving money at the grocery store . maybe you have your favorite brands but if you went to the low generic would you notice a difference? nice to see you this morning.

>> the choice you make could save you huge money. so we asked a mom of four girls to try it out.

>> i've been buying the generic brand of wax beans?

>> i rip off the labels. i can hardly tell the difference.

>> reporter: a good deal is nothing to joke about.

>> store brands also known as private labor products is a multibillion dollar industry.

>> reporter: in fact, store brands in supermarkets alone account for 1 out of every 4 products sold and from trader's joe to whole foods and target and even walmart there are more ways than ever to save a buck. do you guy generic brand merchandise?

>> never.

>> reporter: why not?

>> just what i'm used to.

>> reporter: she is a mom of four young girls who spends hundreds of dollars on groceries every week. we are going to do an experiment and transfer the generic into your name brand packages and see if anybody notices and give awe week. before we started this experiment we decided to see how much we could save. look at this. it's $2 less.

>> cheap.

>> only $2.99. you guys are big coffee drinkers. $6 versus $16! today you're buying this brand.

>> the total from this trip? 152.87. a 33% saverings when these exact products were matched against their name bran competitors.

>> the reason store brands can sell in the supermarket for 30% or more is because they don't have the costs associated with building an iconic name. j here goes the expensive ones. our next step? to switch out.

>> i don't know if she will notice it.

>> the mustard. let's see if your husband notices the coffee. what do you think?

>> maybe. i may put the cereal away like i just bought it. i think they might notice the k cereal. i think they will definitely notice the toilet paper.

>> what are you eating? is it good?

>> yes.

>> very, very good.

>> reporter: and on day seven, the moment of truth . we played a big trick on you with your mom. she switched out all of the name brand stuff and put in shop right brands instead.

>> is that true?

>> yes.

>> i noticed the coffee wasn't nearly as good as it usually is.

>> the chocolate brand is delicious.

>> reporter: we figured out it's a 33% savings of your total bill which would be thousands of dollars a year.

>> with that savings, everything tastes the same.

>> reporter: another reason why saving money doesn't make you cheap. it makes you smart! that's one happy dad! experts say if you check the ingredients on the back, you'll often see the exact same listed on both. one tip? start slowly. see what works for your family but 33% savings.

>> that is huge as he said with that savings, it's all right. i buy a lot of generics and they more natural i've noticed.

>> you're smiling.

>> a little investigation. jen that,