How Brand Jumping Saves You Big Money at the Supermarket

Posted on Posted in Smart Supermarket Shopping Strategies

Companies spend millions of dollars each year promoting and advertising their brands. They do this with good reason.  It works!  Once were hooked on a particular brand we frequently become a customer for life.

Brand loyalty is often set at a very young age, passed along from parent to child like a family heirloom. Growing up my mother religiously cooked with Uncle Bens rice. No other white rice would do.  At a young age my brand loyalty to Uncle Bens was set in stone.

Now as an adult, when I need rice, my hand magically gravitates toward the store shelf containing that comfortable orange box of Uncle Bens rice.  But in my blind brand allegiance I frequently pass on other brands that might be on sale, often at a significant discount.

We are creatures of habit. Once were hooked on a particular brand it becomes particularly hard to change and our repetitive purchases of a particular brand week after week only serves to reinforce our brand loyalty.

Yet changing brands in what I like to call brand jumping can bring significant financial rewards. Simply put, brand jumping is the practice of purchasing whatever brand is on sale.

I have to admit, brand jumping can be hard at first. Its our natural tendency to think that our favorite brand tastes the best. But what Ive found is that the new brands I bought on sale didn’t taste any worse than my favorite brands. They frequently tasted exactly the same. Sometimes they tasted a little different no better, no worse  -just slightly different. Think Coke and Pepsi. Same quality, slightly different tastes.

Once you get used to this fact, brand jumping becomes much easier. Yes your family may have to get used to eating Jiffy peanut butter one week, Skippy the next week but your savings will be worth the effort.

We are not sacrificing quality when we chose an alternative name brand. Why then are we so brand conscious?  It all goes back to massive branding campaigns and years of buying the same exact brands week after week. We almost cant help ourselves.

But lets take a look at the potential savings that brand jumping can bring us. Lets say that every week you purchase two cartons of Minute Maid your family’s orange juice of choice.  Sometimes its on sale, sometimes not.

(For the sake of this discussion lets say that Minute Maid orange juice goes on sale at the same intervals and at the same discount as the other national brands of orange juice.

Minute Maid Tropicana Floridas Natural
Week 1 $3.99 $2.50 $3.99
Week 2 $3.99 $3.99 $3.99
Week 3 $3.99 $3.99 $3.00
Week 4 $3.00 $3.99 $3.99
Week 5 $3.99 $3.00 $3.99
Week 6 $3.99 $3.99 $3.99
Week 7 $3.99 $3.99 $2.50
Week 8 $2.50 $3.99 $3.99

At the end of eight weeks you would have spent $58.88 on orange juice for your family. You would have purchased Minute Maid at full price for six weeks and bought it on sale for two weeks.

Next lets look at the same scenario if had purchased whatever national brand of orange juice was on sale. Your total cost would have been $48.96 over the same time period a 17% savings! With the average food bill for a family of four approaching $6500 a year, a 17% savings can be quite significant.

But lets not stop there. I commonly advise people to shop at more than one supermarket chain or chain surf in order to cherry pick the sales at each grocery store.

In this case if you had shopped two supermarket chains and purchased the national brand that was on sale for the cheapest price you would have spent $42 on your orange juice purchases, saving you a whopping 29% on your orange juice bill.

Minute Maid
(Store A)
Minute Maid
(Store B)
(Store A)
(Store B)
Floridas Natural
(Store A)
Floridas Natural
(Store B)
Week 1 $3.99 $3.99 $2.50 $3.99 $3.99 $3.99
Week 2 $3.99 $2.50 $3.99 $3.99 $3.99 $3.99
Week 3 $3.99 $3.99 $3.99 $2.50 $3.00 $3.99
Week 4 $3.00 $3.99 $3.99 $3.99 $3.99 $2.50
Week 5 $3.99 $3.99 $3.00 $3.99 $3.99 $3.99
Week 6 $3.99 $3.00 $3.99 $3.99 $3.99 $3.99
Week 7 $3.99 $3.99 $3.99 $3.00 $2.50 $3.99
Week 8 $2.50 $3.99 $3.99 $3.99 $3.99 $3.00


While these examples may be slightly idealized for the sake of discussion, the point remains the same by brand jumping you increase your chances of buying a brand name product only when its on sale. Shopping at more than one supermarket chain increases your chances of finding a name brand choice when its on sale.

An Overlooked Benefit of Brand Jumping

This additional benefit is related to Catalina coupons. Catalina coupons are those printed coupons that appear on the back of your grocery store receipt. They are named after the company, Catalina Marketing, that made the coupons popular.

The Catalina coupons you receive on the back of your receipt are related to the purchases you have just made. Frequently, you’ll receive a coupon for an alternate brand to one you’ve just purchased. If you purchase one brand of ice cream, for instance, you’ll receive a Catalina coupon for a competing national brand.

By brand jumping you can take full advantage of these Catalina coupons on future visits. Since most of these Catalina coupons are considered manufacturers coupons, on a future trip, you can combine your Catalina coupon with a store sale for an additional discount!

As shoppers we are often unaware of how strong our brand loyalty is. Repeatedly we reach for the brands we are comfortable with, often ignoring cheaper alternatives. By brand jumping we cut brand loyalty and purchase only those brands that are on sale. In addition to the impressive savings we can enjoy with brand jumping, we also get additional discounts with the Catalina coupons printed on our check-out receipts.

So have you broken your brand loyalties? How did you do it?