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Making This Grocery Swap Can Save You Money, New Study Finds

These low-cost items are becoming more readily available.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan

With the prices of groceries skyrocketing during the COVID-19 pandemic, it's hard to leave the store without spending a pretty penny. From snack foods to produce, it seems like everything costs a little extra these days. 

But the good news is that low-cost items are becoming more readily available.

According to a recent study by shopper intelligence firm Catalina, the number of products introduced by off-brands has outpaced those from national consumer brands during the pandemic. That would include, for instance, Walmart's Great Value brand pasta instead of a name brand like Barilla. Shopping off-brand can bring major savings in the long run.

Related: 6 Things You'll See at Costco This Year

Researchers found that during much of the pandemic, off-brand products were becoming more attractive to shoppers amid an overall increase in food prices. This means that shoppers were more likely to opt for off-brands in order to save on their grocery bills. 

Woman in a disposable face mask is checking a shopping list on a smartphone in a supermarket
iStock

"Overall, retailers are seeking to engage shoppers who may once again be turning to private brands as they did during the early days of the pandemic when name brand shortages prompted trial," Phyllis Johnson, senior director of private brand development at Catalina, said in a press release. "I predict this could be a second chance for those retailers to effectively demonstrate the value of private brands and convert shoppers to loyal private brand buyers."

According to the study, some of the off-brand categories that saw the greatest growth since the pandemic began include frozen potatoes, pre-packaged breakfast sausages, disinfectant cleaners, baking ingredients, contraceptives, and home health testing (which includes COVID-19 test kits and masks). 

Last year, the Food Industry Association said that off-brands were seeing continued investments, with 91% of surveyed retailers planning to ramp up their private label efforts within the next two years. 

For more on slashing your grocery bill, check out 30 Shopping Hacks to Save Money at the Grocery Store.

Kristen Warfield
Kristen Warfield is the weekend editor for Eat This, Not That! and is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz’s journalism program in the Hudson Valley region of New York. Read more