Getting the Most Bang for Your Food Buck

Generic brands proven to save all consumers money.

One of the highlights of all of the work that Arizona Farm Bureau does in the agriculture industry is the quarterly market basket report, which tracks the price trend of 16 basic grocery items ─ items based on basic food items that American families typically purchase. From this research, the “Stretch Your Dollar” menu was born and families across the state use it to save money while still enjoying delicious and nutritious meals.

In many cases, creating meals centered on these 16 market basket items (along with similar items within the various food groups) can provide consumers with the most value for their money spent at the grocery store. Those items include:

  • Red Delicious Apples
  • Russet Potatoes
  • American Salad, 1 lb.
  • Orange Juice, ½ gal.
  • Ground Chuck, 1 lb.
  • Sirloin Tip Roast, 1 lb.
  • Center Cut Pork Chops, 1 lb.
  • Bacon, 1 lb.
  • Sliced Deli Ham (Lunch Meat), 1 lb.
  • Boneless Chicken Breast, 1 lb.
  • Whole Fryers, 1 lb.
  • Whole Milk, 1 gal.
  • Mild Cheddar Cheese Block, 1 lb.
  • Eggs, One Dozen, Large, Grade A
  • All-purpose Flour, 5 lbs.
  • Mazola Corn Oil, 32 oz.
  • Crisco Vegetable Oil, 32 oz.
  • Kraft Mayonnaise, 32 oz.
  • Cheerios (toasted oats), 8.9-oz. box
  • White Bread, 20-oz. loaf

In addition to sticking to the basics when grocery shopping, Arizona consumers can save big by looking for store brands. Recent findings from a study done by Arizona State University’s  W. P. Carey School of Business suggest that the presence of the store brand, commonly called the “generic” brand, can save everyone money, including those who don’t even buy it.

When stores offer these competitively priced “generic” products, brand-name companies are forced to lower the wholesale prices they charge the grocery stores. Those savings are passed along to the customer in the form of a lower price tag on the brand name items.

The study also finds that consumers are most likely to buy a “generic” brand, which now accounts for one quarter of all spending on food, beverages and personal care items, when it looks similar to the brand-name and is located next to it on the shelf.  An exceptional “generic” brand could very likely be what keeps a customer shopping at a particular store.

In tough economic times, everyone is pinching pennies. By sticking to the basics when making the grocery list and taking advantage of the value options available on the shelf, consumers can really save. Arizona Farm Bureau will continue to produce “Stretch Your Dollar” menus. Watch for the next one in coming soon!

For more information about the market basket surveys and to access the “Stretch Your Dollar” menu, please visit

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