House Brand Score Card - four cranberry sauce brandsFor most of November, Store Brand Scorecard is grading tried and true Thanksgiving staples to see if the store brand equivalents, oftentimes cheaper than the national brand, deserve a spot on the dinner table this Turkey Day. As a college kid, bringing a budget-friendly box of stuffing, cheap can of jellied cranberry sauce or a pretty affordable pumpkin pie to the feast is the least you can do to show some thanks -- provided what you're bringing actually tastes good.

Last week, Store Brand Scorecard discovered that Walmart's Great Value brand of cornbread stuffing was not only one of the cheapest stuffings you can spend on, but also the best tasting. This week, we put jellied cranberry sauce to the test, comparing Ocean Spray to store brand equivalents from Walmart, Supervalu and Aldi. Read on to see if Walmart won again, and prepare for our pumpkin pie review next week.

All products were purchased in the Chicago-area on Nov. 6. Prices are subject to change.

Brand Name: Ocean Spray
Cost: 98 cents at Walmart; sold for $1.49 at a Chicago-area grocery store (typically $1.99)
Size: 14 oz.
Nutritional Facts: (for 1/4 cup) 110 calories (0 from fat); 0 grams of total fat (0% recommended daily value); 10 milligrams of sodium (0% recommended daily value); 25 grams of total carbohydrates (8% of recommended daily value)
Taste: Far too tart for our tastes, to the point of being bitter.

The Big Box Store: Walmart
Brand Name: Great Value
Cost: 95 cents
Size: 14 oz.
Nutritional Facts: (for 1/4 cup) 110 calories (0 from fat); 0 grams of total fat (0% recommended daily value); 35 milligrams of sodium (1% recommended daily value); 25 grams of total carbohydrates (8% of recommended daily value)
Taste: Thankfully much sweeter than Ocean Spray due to a higher level of sodium.

The Grocery Store: Jewel-Osco (parent is Supervalu, owner of grocery retailers such as Shop 'n Save and Albertsons, and number 47 on the Fortune 500 list)
Brand Name: Jewel
Cost: $1.49
Size: 14 oz.
Nutritional Facts: (for 1/4 cup) 110 calories (0 from fat); 0 grams of total fat (0% recommended daily value); 35 milligrams of sodium (1% recommended daily value); 25 grams of total carbohydrates (8% of recommended daily value)
Taste: We thought this brand would taste just like Great Value, since the calorie, sodium and carbohydrate counts are identical. Au contraire, this sweet sauce is significantly stronger, enhanced by flavorful juice in the can that gives the brand an extra cranberry kick.

The Mini Market: Aldi
Brand Name: Sweet Harvest
Cost: 79 cents
Size: 14 oz.
Nutritional Facts: (for 1/4 cup) 110 calories (0 from fat); 0 grams of total fat (0% recommended daily value); 35 milligrams of sodium (1% recommended daily value); 25 grams of total carbohydrates (8% of recommended daily value)
Taste: The same calories, sodium and carbohydrates as Great Value and Jewel, but not an identical taste. This brand more closely reflects Great Value, but it's a tinge more tart.

Greatest Value: There's one clear loser here, and that's the national brand, Ocean Spray. If you don't mind making hideous sour faces at the Thanksgiving table, be my guest, but we'll never serve this sauce with the turkey. On a scale of 0 to 10, this one gets a value score of 3, simply because its price points at Walmart and Jewel were surprisingly close to the store brands.

Those stores' brands taste much sweeter though (but not too sweet), as does Aldi's. Jewel is definitely the most flavorful sauce, but it costs nearly twice as much as Aldi's, and it's not twice as good. Your family would appreciate you bringing the best for turkey day, but as far as value goes, the high price costs Jewel the crown. Value score: 7.

We slightly prefer Great Value's sauce over Aldi's, but Aldi's is 16 cents cheaper. The taste and price are so close, we're going to call a tie. Walmart's Great Value and Aldi's Sweet Harvest both win, earning value scores of 8. These brands will fit right in with all the great sides, and spare you a little extra change for Black Friday.

Piet Levy's Store Brand Scorecard tests a major label food product and three private label equivalents to see which brand offers the best value for the price. It appears every Monday on WalletPop's Money College page. Send suggestions, including items you want Levy to try, to moneycollege@walletpop.

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