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How Do Generics Measure Up?

based on 8 ratings
Author: Melissa Bautista

Grade Level: 5th - 8th; Type: Physical Science/Social Science

Objective

In this experiment subjects will be given a blind test to determine the quality of a given product. We will determine how generic products compare to name brand products and the reasons consumers buy one or the other.

Research Questions

  • How do the generic products perform compared to the brand name product?
  • How does marketing influence consumers?

The grocery store shelves are filled with many varieties, sizes, and brands of the same item. There are numerous kinds of cereals, both large and small, produced by different manufacturers. Some people choose products based on need, some base their decisions on price, and some base their decision on quality or brand loyalty. With all of these options it can be difficult to choose. You may want to save money but at what cost? In this experiment we will determine if generics are equivalent alternatives or if we really get what we pay for.

Materials

You may choose any product(s) to test. For this example we will use microwave popcorn.

  • A name brand product
  • At least two generic alternatives
  • Store brands such as Target or other generic brands.
  • Plain paper/plastic cups for taste testing
  • Microwave - specifically for this example.

Terms and Concepts for Research

  •  Generic
  • Cost
  • Packaging
  • Advertising
  • Marketing

Experimental Procedure

  1. Purchase a brand name product of your choice.
  2. Find two generic alternatives to the brand name product.
  3. List the similarities and differences between the two products including ingredients (Figure 1).
Microwave Popcorn
 
 
 
 
Brand Name
Alternative A
Alternative B
 
Orville Redenbacher
Grocery Brand A
Grocery Brand B
Price
$3.29
$1.50
$2.00
# of Packages
3
5
5
Serving Size
1/2 bag
1 bag
1 bag
Calories
150
200
100
Price/Serving
$0 .55
$0.30
$0.40
Ingredients

Popping Corn, Fractionated Palm Oil, Salt, Natural and Artificial Butter Flavour, Colour, Milk.

Popping Corn, Fractionated Palm Oil, Salt, Artificial Butter Flavor, Color, Milk.

Popping Corn, Fractionated Palm Oil, Salt, Artificial Butter Flavor, Milk, Nuts.

Figure 1. Comparison chart of microwavable popcorn.

  1. Compare the products.
    1. Blind Taste Test: The product will be put into a plain plastic/paper container. Label each container with a code so you know which product is which. Give the subject the samples. Have them rate each product by choosing which one is better, or if they are the same.
    2. Product Testing: If the product is used for a specific purpose test both name brands and generics. See which one performs better, or if they perform the same.
    3. Questionnaire: Develop a questionnaire for the subjects to determine their buying habits.
  • Are you aware of generics or do you come across them when you look for brand name products?
  • Do you think name brand products are superior to generic products?
  • Do you purchase brand name products or generic products?
  • Are there products in which you will only buy name brand?
  • Are there products in which you will only buy generic brands?
  • What factors would make you choose a generic brand over the name brand?
  • Why do you choose one over the other?

Microwavable popcorn example:

  1. Microwave the popcorn.
  2. Pour the popcorn into two identical bowls.
  3. Weigh the amount of popped popcorn and the amount of remaining un-popped kernels. Which one pops the most kernels?
  4. Perform a blind taste test.
    1. Place a sample of each popcorn brand into a plain container. Label the container with a secret code for identification purposes.
    2. Present the subject with the samples.
    3. Have the subject rate which one tastes better, or if they are the same.
    4. Compile the data from each subject and determine which popcorn is preferred by the taste testers (Figure 2).

Microwave Popcorn: Taste Tester Ratings.

 
 
 
Brand Name
Alternative A
Alternative B
 
Orville Redenbacher
Grocery Brand A
Grocery Brand B
1
5
4
4
2
3
4
2
3
5
2
5
4
2
4
4
5
4
2
5
6
4
3
3
7
3
1
3
8
5
3
5
9
5
2
3
10
4
3
2

Figure 2. Data chart of taste tester ratings. Scale: 1 (extremely dislike), 2 (dislike), 3 (ok), 4 (like), 5 (extremely like).

Bibliography

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