Generic vs. name-brand items: App helps you find the lowest cost

Brandefy was created in Richmond

Generic vs. name-brand items: App helps you find the lowest cost

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - You know you’ve stood in an aisle of the grocery store torn between a store brand and a name brand. You wonder if saving money means sacrificing quality.

Well, there’s now an app for that and it was created in Richmond. It’s called Brandefy.

“Brandefy is a mobile app that allows shoppers to compare generics to name brands,” said Meg Pryde, the app’s creator. “Consumers should know before they buy whether or not it’s going to be a great generic or it’s going to disappoint them.”

“Everyone has that one product that they always end up debating between the two," said James Graham, Brandefy’s chief technology officer. “For me that’s garbage bags. I’ll look at the name brand and the store brand and I’ll be wondering will the store brand really hold up.”

- CLICK HERE for more information and to download the app

With Brandefy, you simply type in the name of the product or search by category and you’ll receive a calculated ingredient comparison. You’ll also learn whether there’s a generic brand that’s just as good, and you can get customer reviews to help you make your decision.

“If it tastes the same, if it smells the same, if it feels the same,” said Graham of the reviews.

“You don’t want to get home with a bad generic and then think do I need to just finish this bad product or should I go back to the store and get the product that I like,” said Carolyn Koshard.

Meg, James and Carolyn met at the University of Virginia. They moved to Richmond to launch the start-up and work out of Lighthouse Labs in Shockoe Bottom, a nationally ranked accelerator program that helps small companies like Brandefy get on their feet.

Their work space is filled with products like paper towels, sunscreen, energy drinks and wipes to test and review.

“I tried the Aldi version of Diet Coke and I thought no way is this going to be as good because I love Diet Coke. I could not tell them apart in a blind taste test,” said Koshard.

However, the reviews on copycat cookie dough protein bars were not as high or similar to the name brand.

“It’s really hard to break and the texture is pretty different,” said Koshard.

The goal of the app is to give you the information you need to comparison shop. So far, they’ve found about 30 percent of generic products are almost identical to the name brand.

“There’s 30 percent on the other side of the spectrum that have something terribly, offensively wrong with them,” said Pryde.

Brandefy is still in the early stages, but its more than doubled the number of product reviews since it launched over the summer.

Graham says if you look for a high quality generic produce every time you shop, you’ll save a $1,000 every year.

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