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Special Report - A Generic Deal
07/02/09 - 09:00 AM
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Jessi Chapin - bio
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Panama City, Fla:

Hosting a barbecue, picinic, or celebration can be pricey, especially when everyone’s pinching pennies. 

“I look for generic or the least expensive,” said Bay County shopper Donna Lytel.

“I prefer name-brand stuff,” said another shopper, Leo Wentz, “It’s a little more expensive but you get what you pay for.”

Generic items advertise a lower cost, but just how much is the difference?  News13 compares two plates of popular Fourth of July food to find out:

Name Brand:    Generic:
  • Soda- $1.50        
  • Chips- $3.99     
  • Hot dogs- $3.09
  • Buns- $2.00
  Total: $10.58
  • Soda- $0.83
  • Chips- $2.34
  • Hot dogs- $1.49
  • Buns- $1.23
  Total: $5.89

click for larger image At nearly a 50 percent difference, it may be something to keep in mind when planning your plate.

Comparing Cost and Quality:

It makes a difference to the wallet, but what about taste?  News13 put those products to the test with the help of a panel of judges including Chef John Ashburn of Gulf Coast Community College, Panama City Mayor Scott Clemons, and two child judges.

The two plates were labeled A and B.  Plate “A” was name-brand, “B” was generic.

“I liked hot dog A, hot dog B to me tasted not like an all-beef,” said Ashburn, “It tasted more like a generic hot dog.”

“I like A, it seemed to have a more distinctive taste,” said Clemons.

click for larger image “I would have to say B, I don’t know why it just tasted better,” said 9-year-old Alyson James.

While the hot dogs were easy to tell for some, the chips were more difficult to decide.

“Almost indistinguishable but I like ‘B’ a little bit more,” said Ashburn, “A was a little more salty.”

“I like the chips on plate B,” said Clemons, “Those were better, I think those would be the name brand.”

“They taste mostly the same,” said 9 year-old Loralee Gause.

For some, the difference in soda was also hard to taste.

click for larger image “To me there was a more distinctive taste between the hot dogs but not the drinks,” said Mayor Clemons.

“A over B.  A was the name-brand B was generic,” said Ashburn.

While the panel of judges guessed the soda and hot dogs correctly, the chips and the buns were harder to tell.  Judges say differences in all of the foods were fairly subtle.

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