Paying less for store-brand soda doesn't always mean you need to sacrifice quality and taste.
Americans drink on average 44 gallons of soda a year, far below the 54-gallon record set in 1998, The Associated Press says. Meanwhile, the consumption of water soared by 38 percent to 58 gallons a year.
That’s a good thing not just from a health point of view but because water is cheaper, particularly when it comes from the tap. But if you’re one of the many who still drink soda every day, you can spend much less without a noticeable change in quality or taste.
Last year I switched to an imitation Dr Pepper, and I can now honestly say I’d recommend a store-brand soda, not just because of the big cost savings but because I actually love the taste.
We’ve compiled some of the highest-rated store-brand sodas below:
1. Dr. Perky
In a blind taste test of Dr Pepper, Pibb Extra and two comparable store brands — Dr Thunder and Dr. Perky — the host of YouTube show “Soda Tasting” mistook Dr. Perky, a Food Lion brand, for Dr Pepper.
2. Publix’s Mountain Splash
I’ve never been a fan of Mountain Dew, but it’s popular enough to have spawned many store-brand imitations. “Soda Tasting” did a blind taste test of Mountain Dew and five store brands. While the show’s host said he’d probably still buy Mountain Dew in the store, Publix’s Mountain Splash won the taste test.
3. Winn-Dixie’s Dr. Chek
After buying a handful of store-brand versions of Dr Pepper, I finally settled on Dr. Chek sold at Winn-Dixie. The taste is close to Dr Pepper but it has a more muted flavor and less sweetness, which I’ve found I prefer over the original recipe. I usually find 12-packs of Dr. Chek cans for $2.
4. Sam’s Choice Cola
Walmart’s Coca-Cola knockoff might not taste the same, but it’s not too shabby and it’s a big savings compared with the original. DailyFinance said about the Walmart brand:
A fine cola, although it’s not as sweet, doesn’t have as much fizz, and doesn’t go down quite as nice as Coca-Cola. The main difference comes with the aftertaste – Coca-Cola’s flavor lingers on the taste buds, but Sam’s flavor fizzles out rather quickly once swallowed.
5. Go 2 Cola
Available at Safeway and other Safeway-owned grocery chains, Go 2 Cola was the second-place winner for store brands in DailyFinance’s search for a perfect cola knockoff. The drink isn’t as sweet as Coke, and doesn’t have the same lingering aftertaste, but it hits the spot. Here’s what DailyFinance had to say:
Safeway’s Go 2 Cola tastes just like Sam’s. The only difference really is the price. Typically you save just 50 cents going with Go 2 versus Coca-Cola at a grocery, while at Walmart you save 70 cents. But again, Go 2 Cola’s not that bad, so the value score here is a respectable 7.
6. Safeway’s Refreshe Diet Cola
As far as diet drinks go, Safeway’s Refreshe Diet Cola is acceptable. The taste is similar to Diet Coke, but it isn’t as tangy or fizzy as the name brand. However, unlike most store-brand diet drinks I’ve tasted, Safeway’s option doesn’t leave an unpleasant aftertaste, which for me comes second after price. There’s nothing worse than having to immediately drink something else to get the aftertaste out.
What are your favorite store-brand sodas? Sound off on our Facebook page and tell us what we should try.