Ryan Charles of the product-rating site, Consmr.com, lists the most loved and hated supermarket brands. Where do your favorites rank?
Arthur Bovino, TheDailyMeal.com
Do you want Cheesy Poofs (they’re real now) or Cheez Doodles? I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! or Land O’Lakes? (Neither, Par-KAYY!) Or maybe you only eat brands that are truly organic? It’s a very personal thing, the process behind how you decide which products to put in your grocery cart. Advertising, nostalgia, taste, scent, jingles, packaging — there are lots of factors determining how you implement purchasing power at the register. But where do some of your favorite products rank with fellow consumers? How do they feel about your favorite Hormel Chili with Beans? Do they prefer Sriracha to Tabasco just like you?
The online grocery product ranking site, Consmr.com, aims to illustrate how your most favorite (and hated) brands fare with consumers. Consmr, a user review website that calls itself “the people’s champion for everyday products,” lists more than 50,000 grocery items including national brands and products from stores like Trader Joe’s and Safeway. Its mission since being co-founded by Ryan Charles and Noah Zitsman this past June, is to create a universal resource for packaged goods brands.
Anyone can sign up to review products (“We’ve been called ‘Yelp for the supermarket’ because of our democratic approach,” the site notes) with one to five stars. Top picks are then based on user contributions. “The idea for Consmr came out of the recession,” it’s co-founder, Ryan Charles explained. “I realized that many of my purchases at supermarkets like Trader Joe’s and ShopRite were trial and error. It wasn’t cost effective to buy a product I might have to throw out and replace.”
Seeing a need in the market for a user review platform a la Yelp and Rotten Tomatoes, but for consumer packaged goods, they decided to start Consmr to create an independent resource where anyone could share ratings of everyday products. Sounds like a good idea.
From Progresso to Nabisco, Trader Joe’s to MorningStar Farms, the familiar heros and villains of the grocery aisle are listed on Consmr in at least 12 categories. There are even fun, offbeat rankings. For instance, who are the top five food mascots? Who wins the battle between Chiquita Banana and Toucan Sam? (Or does the Kool-Aid Man trump all?) Where does Soylent Green rank on a list of fictional food products? Top five favorite discontinued products? Consmr has them ranked.
In the categories below, “top rated” products are those with the highest overall rating in the category, while the “most popular” items are the products that have received the most total ratings. Generally, as Ryan explained, these are different products. For instance, Coke Zero might be the most popular soda because more people have an opinion about Coke, but that doesn’t mean it’s the soda with the highest rating.
Check out this overview of the aisle. And if you disagree, well, vote!
Canned and Packaged Goods
“Considering the heatwave around the country this summer, it’s interesting to see a winter food come out on top,” Ryan noted. “It’s also one of the most popular canned goods on Consmr.”
Top Rated: Progresso Chicken Noodle, 99% Fat Free Soup (4.2/5)
Best Healthy Pick: Trader Joe’s Edamame (4.2/5)
Most Popular: Bush’s Best Homestyle Baked Beans (3.5/5)
Lowest Rated: Hormel Chili with Beans (2.7/5)
Sauces and Condiments
“This is somewhat of an upset considering that Sriracha is much more popular,” noted Ryan, “but keep in mind they are very different style hot sauces. Tapatio is also about 50% hotter on the Scoville scale and was recently added as a flavor for several Frito-Lay brand potato chips.”
Top Rated: Tapatio Hot Sauce (4.5/5)
Most Popular: Nutella (4.2/5)
Best Sweetener: Gunter’s Clover Pure Honey (4.5/5)
Low Rated: Kraft Real Mayo Mayonnaise (2.5/5)
Snacks and Candy
“Fiber rich and made with whole wheat is rarely associated with good tasting products, but Triscuit Thin Crisps proves that healthier snacks can win out in flavor too,” noted Ryan.
Top Rated: Triscuit Thin Crisps (4.9/5)
Best Indulgent Pick: Ferrero Hazelnut Fine Chocolate (4.6/5)
Most Popular: Oreo Cookies (3.6/5)
Low Rated: Good & Plenty Licorice Candy (2.5/5)
“This isn’t a brand you’ll find in every store,” Ryan said about Boylan, “but there seems to be something nostalgic and classic about soda in a bottle. Also, given the controversy with high fructose corn syrup it makes sense that a cane sugar based soda would be a well received alternative.”
Top Rated: Boylan Bottleworks Root Beer (4.5/5)
Top Juice: Simply Lemonade’s Lemonade (4.2/5)
Most Popular: Coke Zero (3.2/5)
Low Rated: Coffee Mate Peppermint Mocha Coffee Creamer (2.5/5)
Alcohol and Spirits
“This is a new whisky launched in 2010 by Maker’s Mark and it’s their first in 50 years,” Ryan explained. “It’s rated much higher than the original and well known Maker’s Mark. This is the perfect example of a new, high quality product rising above the rest thanks to crowd-sourced opinion.”
Top Rated: Maker’s Mark 46 (4.5/5)
Most Popular: Corona Beer (3.0/5)
Best IPA: Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA (4.3/5)
Low Rated: Busch Non-Alcoholic Brew (1.1/5)
“Ben and Jerry’s holds several spots at both the top and bottom of ice creams, so there are differences in opinion for each flavor,” says Ryan. “The clear universal favorite is the chocolate fudge brownie. Of course some favorites like Sweet Cream & Cookies are only available by the scoop in official stores.”
Top Rated: Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie (4.3/5)
Best Alternative Pick: Skinny Cow Vanilla & Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches (4.2/5)
Most Popular: Haagen-Dazs Strawberry Ice Cream (3.6/5)
Low Rated: Bryers Mint Ice Cream with M&Ms (2.9/5)
Top 5 Brand Mascots
“Since we allow users to add products we’ve noticed that adding brand mascots has gone viral. Toucan Sam was submitted early on and has continued to be popular. The recent controversy over his logo being imitated may have sparked additional interest.”
#1 Toucan Sam (4.0/5)
#2 M&M Mascots (3.9/5)
#3 Old Spice Guy (3.8/5)
#4 Kool-Aid-Man (3.8/5)
#5 The Most Interesting Man in the World (3.7/5)
Top 5 Fictional Products
“This was a gag from an early episode of The Simpsons,” said Ryan, about Nuts and Gum’s top ranking. “It was intended as social commentary on the CPG industry’s search for the next big thing and the products launched to target certain demographics. The ‘together at last’ starburst is the type of marketing that influences purchase decisions, so it’s no surprise this caught the attention of raters.”
#1 Nuts and Gum (Origin: “The Simpsons,” Score: 3.8/5)
#2 Soylent Green (Origin: “Soylent Green,” Score: 3.6/5)
#3 Dapper Dan’s Hair Pomade (Origin: “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Score: 3.5/5)
#4 Bobby Boucher’s Tackling Fuel (Origin: “The Waterboy,” 3.5/5)
#5 Popeye’s Spinach (Origin: “Popeye,” Score: 3.5/5)
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.