Food & Drink

Study finds smart people buy generic, dummies buy name brands

Most people would tell you to buy DiGiorno over the X-Press Mart pizza, but those people are stupid... according to science. A study by Dutch economist Bart Bronnenberg and three researchers at the University of Chicago reveals that the "more informed" consumers go generic, while ignorant shoppers buy national brands.

The team analyzed the shopping habits of several groups before they laid down that conclusion. When looking at headache meds, the researchers found that pharmacists hardly ever bought brand names, opting for them only 9% of the time. But the average consumer goes national 26%, because they don't know ibuprofen from acetaminophen. Similarly, professional chefs were way less likely to purchase name brand salt, sugar, and other "pantry staples", even as their amateur counterparts hoarded the Morton's.

Being a blind sheep adds up. Bronnenberg and co. estimated that consumers could save a collective $44 billion if they bought generic whenever they could. And with those kinds of savings, the entire DiGiorno empire could be yours... and you'd have all the way-better-than-Brand X pizza you wanted.

Kristin Hunt is a food/drink staff writer for Thrillist, and is now suspicious of her "retired nurse" Mom who always buys Motrin. Follow her at @kristin_hunt.