Saving on private labels

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Matthews based Family Dollar has put a new emphasis on the company's private label, Family Gourmet.

I've always been a fan of store brands versus the national brands.  The savings can be anywhere fro 30-40% and over the course of year, that adds up to hundreds of dollars!

So I asked Family Dollar if I could come to one of the company's stores and do a blind test with customers.  To put their brand up against the comparable national version of the same type snacks.

Lonnie David and Jamale stopped by my table first. "We 're looking to get some more snacks today that's why we're in here," Lonnie told me.

Ten year old Jamale was a fan of the Family Gourmet cheese crackers.  In fact across the board more people liked the Family Gourmet cheese crackers above the national brand, Cheez It crackers.

I met Elizabeth Bell from southeast Charlotte.  She's only recently become a family dollar shopper.  She said she came to the South Boulevard location when it first opened this summer, and is now a convert.

She tried the Oreo cookies against Family Gourmet's version of the cookie.  She thought there was no real difference between the two.  When I told her she choose the toaster pastry by Family Gourmet over the national brand, Pop Tart, she wasn't at all surprised.

"This one has more taste," she said of the Family Gourmet brand.

When I told her which one she'd picked, "Again, you've picked the Family Dollar private brand!" I said.  "I understand, well that's great!" Ms. Bell said.

Mary Rachide is the Division Vice President for Private Brands for Family Dollar, I asked her to explain the company's 100% satisfaction guarantee.  "If you're not satisfied, 100% with your private label purchase, you can bring it back with the receipt in thirty days and get a full refund."

In many of the stories I read in preparation for this story I found hints that private brand labels are actually made in the same factories that the national brands are produced in.

But Rachide, like most in the private label industry refuses to give up secrets, "It is possible that some private brand products come from the same or similar manufacturers but we can't tell you who," Rachide said.

For our mommy, Lonnie David, who was there to buy snacks, she said our taste test came at just the right time, "I'm going to save money with this, I've been buying all the wrong expensive items, now I can save- Mamma needs a new pair of shoes," David said with a chuckle.

Copyright 2011 WBTV. All rights reserved.