Store Brands Vs Premium From a Veggie Point of View

An unbiased analysis of store brands vs. premium on common vegan and vegetarian foods.

My mother is a brand snob. She wants the glass plus to clean her kitchen table. She wants planters nuts and Nabisco's Oreo cookies. In some cases the 'real' brand actually is superior. In others, not so much.

Almonds. I've had blue diamond almonds. Raw, roasted, sea salted, almond milk. I've had a and p's America's choice almonds. I've had CVS pharmacy smoked almonds. The blue diamond do have a slightly fresher flavor. The sea salt dry roasted are really great. The CVS smoked are almost as good. The flavor is great. They are very crunchy. The smoke flavor is quite evident and tasty in my opinion. I just wish they came in lightly salted. And was a little annoyed that most of their almond flavors show milk as an ingredient. Even though I still eat milk, it's saddening when something as simple as an almond is perverted with unnecessary animal sourced ingredients. Blue diamond almonds have no trace of milk and a fresh, pure flavor. But they are very expensive. If you go for the CVS brand, which is significantly cheaper, you won't sacrifice flavor. Just be sure to stick with the smoked flavor as others have been inexplicably doused in extraneous dairy products.

Animal Crackers. Is there any more wonderful childhood memory than that little cardboard box with the white string carry handle? It was so much fun discerning which animal the cracker was representing that one often forgot to eat the cookie. I'm not sure how long animal crackers by Nabisco have been vegan, but they are now. I've tried store brand animal crackers and it's just not the same. Not even close. That special flavor they derive from the combination of white and corn flour is likely something forbidden from reproduction. A wise decision on their part. Because eating anything other than the real deal is just a disappointment.

Panko breadcrumbs. When I was shopping for panko it just so happened that 4C brand and the store brand were the exact same price. Both canisters were just one little dollar. The big different was hidden on the back of the container in the ingredient list. 4C had managed to sneak milk, soy flour and hydrogenated oils into their panko. The American fare panko from a and p had a simple and pristine ingredient list of basically just flour and salt. I don't understand why so many big brands stick milk in where it does not belong, but they need to stop it.

Cereal. We all know about the malt of meal bagged cereals that cost so much less than the premium brands. I've eaten all kinds of cereal in my time. And while I don't advocate paying full price for brand cereals I can't recommend bargain cereal either. Best just to wait til the good stuff goes on sale.

Beans. They're cheap no matter whose you buy. Dried are cheaper yet. While some argue dried beans taste superior to canned, I respectfully disagree. Beans are pretty much a blank slate however you prepare them. They have great texture and nutrition, but not a lot of flavor. I've tried rienzi, vittario and Goya beans. At only a few cents different between brands the savings are negligible. For my 99 cents (often 66 cents per can on sale) Goya beans are better. In Goya I almost never get an icky beans in the can. While with others I've had many. If there are store brand beans I've never encountered them. Beans are so cheap in premium form, in most cases, they don't even exist in a store brand format.

Soda. Probably shouldn't be drinking soda at all, but I like it. So I don't drink it often, but occasionally permit myself the luxury. I hate coke. Bleck. I love Pepsi. Yes, I can tell the difference. Blindfolded and with my hands tied behind my back. I've tried store brand soda. Diet and regular. While the taste is refreshing and quite acceptable I'd rather just wait for pepsi to go on sale.

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