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Generic brand foods cost more these days

Thursday - 2/9/2012, 5:37am  ET

grocery shopping (AP)
Generic brand prices are rising. (AP)

Michelle Basch, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - During the economic downturn, a lot of consumers made a switch at the supermarket to save money.

Many left products from big national brands on the shelf and bought cheaper store brand items instead.

But now, some of those things shoppers counted on to cost less are getting more expensive.

Overall, store brands are 29 percent cheaper on average than big name brands, but that appears to be changing.

MSN Money reports stores boosted prices of private-label products in the last year by an average of more than 5 percent.

Also, prices of perishable store brand products jumped 12 percent.

Some store brand products from stores such as Safeway and Wal-Mart are better quality than they used to be, some shoppers have noticed, and the packaging is more appealing. That may be part of the reason for the price hikes.

Some store brand products, such as Archer Farms roasted almonds at Target and Sam's Club disposable diapers, are actually more expensive than their bigger brand equivalents.

Other studies show shoppers turning to store brands not because they're cheaper, but because they've had a positive experience with them, and they're loyal to them.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)