Should you ever buy branded groceries?

I quite enjoy the adverts on TV for Aldi, where they compare an expensive brand of coffee, tea or whatever with their own version. The message is that theirs is just as good, but cheaper!

When I initially started trying to save money on my grocery shopping the first thing I did was dump the brands wherever I could. I tried all of the supermarket basics first. Some we liked and some we didn’t. Value/Smart Price baked beans were a definite no-no, unless included in a veggie stew. Loo rolls didn’t last as long but were worth buying as they were so much cheaper. Value bacon may not look as good but it tastes pretty similar. The kids ate the biscuits even if they didn’t arrive in fancy packaging. I now wouldn’t dream of buying anything other than a basic fruit juice either.

Where we didn’t enjoy the basic products, I moved up to supermarket own brand. Most we liked, but occasionally we still resorted to a branded product.

With the advent of the discount supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl, the situation has improved even more. Most of their own products are very good quality and as cheap or even cheaper than the old style shop own brands. I have found them to be better overall. 

I might consider something from a range such as a Tesco Finest if it is on offer but I have found some of these are disappointing. I think they are a marketing ploy and another way to squeeze a bit more money out of their customers. 

Generally speaking if I buy a brand it is because 1. I really like it more than the alternatives (such as my Millicano coffee mentioned in yesterday’s blog post) or 2. It is a really good price. I don’t need to pay for a company’s expensive branding – they pay marketing people a lot of money to work out how to make us spend our wages. I bet at least half the time if people did a blind test to decide which product was branded and which was a supermarket’s own brand they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. So, if you really want to save money on your groceries chuck out the brands and try some supermarket own labels!

13 thoughts on “Should you ever buy branded groceries?

  1. Regarding fruit juice, do you mean freshly squeezed or long-life made–from-concentrate? If we buy fruit juice I buy freshly squeezed, but we don’t buy it that often, preferring instead to squeeze a couple of oranges each. We’ve not worked out the cost yet, but in Waitrose recently they were selling bags of large oranges which contained seven oranges, and they were two bags for £3. That was 14 oranges for three pounds. I don’t know if this is good or not, but we have been using those, and they’ve been lovely. We cut back on things that don’t matter – kitchen roll, washing up liquid, loo rolls – but we don’t cut back on what goes into our stomachs. And, I suspect, cheaper brands of fruit juice might be heavy on the sugar content, too. I don’t know, mind, only suspect.
    Margaret P

  2. PS Lidl’s De Luxe range – which has all kinds of things – is very good indeed. And their Belarom ground coffee is the best for the price, we’ve been using that for years and years. Also, we love it when they have their Italian foods in, their Italiamo Cantuccini biscuits are great as are their amoretti biscuits.

  3. I’ve never been a brand shopper, and as you’ve mentioned, Aldi’s products seem as good or better than other stores own that I’ve tried. I look at labels, servings, price per ounce, etc, before branding. Toilet and kitchen rolls and washing liquid don’t matter as long as they do the job and are inexpensive, and I don’t buy a lot of meat, so that reduces the budget further.

  4. I buy Tesco ‘Not from concentrate’ apple juice. I can’t stand it but my husband says it’s the best apple juice. I rarely drink juice at all but if I do, then any orange will do; I’m not a connoisseur.
    Aldi for walnuts – I swear they taste better than those from anywhere else! I use mainly Tesco’s own range for most staples but with regard to brands, ALWAYS Branston baked beans.

    • I agree completely about Branston baked beans, they are the best and very reasonable for pack of 4 in Lidl.

  5. I’m loyal to three things – Heinz Tomato ketchup and baked beans and Marmite! Other than those three I get what ever is cheapest!

  6. A few things I only buy branded Hellmans mayonnaise no other Mayo will do or comes close. Heinz tomato soup , tunnocks tea cakes and caramel logs, robinsons lemon barley water, cadburys drinking choc, Lindt chocolate, oh Kellogg’s rice crispies I can tell the difference others just don’t have the right snap, crackle n pop or the unique almost malty taste. Anything else will happily eat own brand.

  7. Guess the items I,ve mentioned are all ones my mum gave me from tiny, not that they are better just familiar taste.

  8. I don’t buy a lot of stuff in packets anyway BUT if I need something I will buy
    branded if it’s a local South Australian owned and made item. Supporting local
    is important to me!

  9. I used to have a thing for never buying ‘from concentrate’ juices preferring what I thought was the better for you ‘not from concentrate’ until I watched a television programme that described the difference properly and I realised that all I was paying for was the added expense of transporting the additional water in the ‘not from concentrate ‘ varieties and that they were exactly the same in all other ways. (The water is evaporated off at source and then re-added at destination, and the nutrients were found to be exactly the same in both types.)

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