5 On Your Side

Store brands from Walmart, Target offer good quality, value

Posted November 12, 2014

Target, Cary

Great Value and Up and Up are well-known store brands for Walmart and Target, but do the products make saving money worth it?

Consumer Reports looked into dozens of products from each store to find out which ones are worth a buy.

Testers started with LED light bulbs at Walmart.

"After 3,000 hours of testing, we found several from Walmart that are cheap and really good," Consumer Reports' Dan DiClerico said.

A 60-watt equivalent, which costs about $10, could last about 22 years when used three hours per day. Great Value floodlights are also a good bargain.

Wild Oats organic food was next on the list.

"Walmart's prices for organics were cheaper than local supermarkets for everything we looked at," often 50 percent cheaper, Consumer Reports' Tod Marks said.

Great Value ranch dressing, vanilla ice cream and mozzarella cheese also tested well.

Paper products are also a good buy.

Great Value facial tissues with lotion are ultra soft, as is the top-rated toilet paper  – White Cloud, 3-ply ultra. And the store brand paper towels are strong and absorbent.

On the flip side, testers found the Great Value natural laundry detergent didn't deliver clean clothes.

Shoppers may also want to skip the meat and produce aisles.

Although it is America's largest grocer, Walmart earned low scores in those categories in Consumer Report's supermarket survey.

At Target, the pharmacy department earned high marks. Surveys show prices are lower than chains like CVS and Walgreens, especially on store brands like Up and Up. Naproxen, the generic vision of Aleve, and Up and Up ibuprofen, the generic version of Advil, are good buys.

"Up and Up is one of Target's private labels that promises quality for less. There's also the more upscale Archer Farms brand, and there's Market Pantry, which is a bit more basic," DiClerico said.

Consumer Reports judged Market Pantry ketchup just as good as Heinz – and found Market Pantry mayonnaise rivals Hellmann's.

Archer Farms pure maple syrup also tested well.

Another good thing to stock up on at Target is snack food. Market Pantry peanut sweet and salty granola bars and Archer Farms trail mix rated well.

Anyone in the market for a coffee maker should look at the $30 Black and Decker 12-cup coffee maker. It's a Target exclusive.

Testers weren't too fond of the Market Pantry Classic Roast coffee, saying it had a bitter taste.

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