Do you like to go grocery shopping with your parents? Do they let you push the cart? Which aisle is your favorite? We bet the cereal aisle is high on your list of places to visit when you go to the store!

The cereal aisle in most grocery stores is filled with an amazing number of choices. Some of the cereal comes in boxes. Others come in bags. Some cereals have brand names, while others might have only a description or the store's name on the bag.

For example, if you're looking for basic flakes of corn with frosting on them, you might have several different boxes or bags to choose from. Which should you choose? Is there a difference between them?

Most likely, some of the products have popular brand names, while others — called generic products — are sold under the name of the store where you're shopping or a “value" brand that you might have never heard of because it doesn't advertise like the popular brands.

Instead of focusing on a brand name, generic products are defined by the products themselves. If you're shopping for a generic product, you're looking for something specific, such as flakes of corn cereal, rather than a particular brand.

Generic products can be made by smaller companies, or they might be made by the same companies that make branded products. As a rule, though, they're usually sold for cheaper prices than brand-name products. Many people specifically shop for generic products in order to save money.

When generic products were first introduced years ago, they often came in plain white packaging with black lettering and a simple bar code. Today, though, generic products often feature colorful packaging that imitates the packaging of brand-name products.

Generic products imitate brand-name products. Depending upon the specific type of product, there may be no difference whatsoever between brand-name and generic products. In some cases, though, such as foods and drinks, there may be differences in taste that will make you prefer one product over another.

Prescription and over-the-counter drugs also come in generic forms. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the production of generic drugs. The FDA requires that generic medicines have the same active ingredients and work the same as their brand-name counterparts. This makes generic drugs a good way to save money.

So, the next time you go shopping with your parents, help them become smart shoppers. When you're looking for a particular kind of product, check to see if there are generic alternatives. If there are, you can save a lot of money. Generic products often have the same quality as brand-name counterparts at a much lower price, so give them a try!

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