Store brands vs. big name brands. Can you tell the difference?

Generic brand peanut butter at Nichol's Supermarket in Liverpool / Jessica Cain

If you grocery shop regularly, you've probably noticed more and more stores are providing products with their own brand name on them. Is there a difference?

Retail experts say in some cases, the big name products are made of virtually the same ingredients as store brand, or private label, products.

At Nichols Market in Liverpool, the store has its own brand name called ShurFine. We compared ShurFine Cornflakes with Kellogg's Cornflakes and found they had the same major ingredients.

Owner Mike Hennigan says it's about providing customers with choices, and every shopper has his or her own preferences.

"I think if you had a taste test with ten people, and didn't tell folks what they were tasting, for some folks, they would taste the difference whether it's Skippy or Peter Pan (peanut butter) or private label," says Hennigan. "It comes down to personal choice."

Industry expert Bill Bradshaw works for Buxton, a leading industry grocery research company based in Fort Worth, TX. He says shoppers may even notice some bigger companies getting into the private label business.

"There are a few out there like Con Agra foods, who is a very well known private brand manufacturer," says Bradshaw.

They manufacture well-known products from Orville Redenbacher to Healthy Choice.

Experts say the store brands also provide savings for shoppers. In one peanut butter comparison, Jiff was selling for $2.68, but a generic brand was selling for $2.18. Private label whole wheat bread was $1.79, compared to Nature's Own bread at $2.99.

Many shoppers say price matters a lot.

"In these economic times, it's very important that I get the best for my money and the best quality," says shopper Darryl Myers, who lives in East Syracuse.

A lot of grocery store chains are looking at Europe's model where private label brands have about 40% penetration compared to about 20% here in the United States.

Do you look at brand names when you shop? Do you think there's a difference between big name brands and store brands? Post your comments below.

Information from NBC News was included in this report.