U.S. consumers could save $4 billion annually if they purchased generic products whenever possible, a national economic study shows.
For some people, the word “generic’’ has a negative connotation. For others, it’s the way to go to save some dough.
But you will be surprised to learn that the word “generic’’ is not blasphemous among chefs, pharmacists or doctors who are buying their own foodstuffs or medications.
Researchers from the National Bureau of Economic Research asked chefs, pharmacists and doctors questions about specific products and whether they would use generic items and the answer, more often than not, was yes.
For instance, in a survey of chefs, head cooks or food preparers who are responsible for determining the goods that are purchased for cooking, their purchases were compared to the general public and it was found the pros prefer generics for dozens of items, many of them having to do with baking. Baking mixes, teas, baking soda, all kinds of sugar, spreads and dips were more often purchased as generic by the professionals. Even items like pickles, olives, jams and jellies and condiments and sauces were more often chosen as generics rather than brand names by chefs and head cooks.
The single item where brand name was most preferred by the pros was ice cream, followed by dried vegetables and grains, cereal, yogurt and fruit drinks.
Likewise, the study of pharmacists and doctors compared their purchases to general public purchases, and found the professionals more often bought generic when they needed pain relievers, including Ibuprofen (the active ingredient in Advil) and Naproxen sodium (the active ingredient in Aleve). Sleeping pills, antacids, laxatives and nasal decongestants were more often chosen as generics by the pros.
Where brand names mattered more to physicians and doctors were with alkalizing effervescents (Alka-Seltzer), migraine tablets, fabric bandages, eye drops and contact lens solution.
“We estimate that consumers spend $196 billion annually in consumer packaged goods categories in which a store-brand (generic) alternative to the national brand exists, and that they would spend approximately $4 billion less (at current prices) if they switched to the store brand whenever possible,’’ the report concluded.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.