When I was young, I asked my Mum why some of the cereal boxes in the supermarket were plain white with just the writing on when others were bright and colourful. My Mum told me that it was because the supermarkets had to pay more for coloured ink so it was cheaper for them. Now I don’t know if she was trolling me, didn’t know the answer or believed that but from a young age, it taught me that the products inside the plain boxes were just the same as the ones covered with slogans and cartoon characters. That was a great positive introduction to the world of the supermarkets value range.
Growing up in the Midlands, a lot of my friend’s parents worked in factories and warehouses as the area was a hotspot for those kind of jobs. I’ll always remember my one friend who’s Mum worked in a factory that packed nuts, muesli packets and dried fruit. She told me a memorable piece of information that I still think of when I see the value ranges in supermarkets. The chute that filled up the branded muesli packets was the exact same chute that filled up the value ones! It blew my brain and always stuck with me.
Why do people buy branded items?
People think that value range items are inferior to their favourite brands. My partner used to be one of these people and when I asked him if he had ever tried the own-brand items he said no. So, how can someone have and option on something they haven’t compared? Well that’s the beauty of advertising. Companies pay a lot of money and put in a lot of time to get their products into your brain so when you think of a product, you consider their brand. What comes into your head when I say ‘tea bags? I bet you can name 2 – 3 branded products but when you go to the shelves there are over 10 different brands. Luckily for me, I’m the one that does the food shop and I would say at least 50% of my shop are value products.
Also, I think it’s easy to pick up a branded pack of cereal that has a big heart on the front with a slogan about how it’s good for you than it is to stands and compare the nutritional content of the items. At least with value items, it doesn’t promise anything. And if you do want the nutritional information, it’s easier to find because there’s no advertising to sift through.
Price Comparison of Branded to No Frills Products
Here I’ve picked 25 items that might be on your regular shop and compared the cheapest no frills item to the cheapest branded item and then adjusted the price to fall in line with the same size as the no frills product.
As you can see, on these 25 items, your yearly shopping cost would be £1,951.20 where as your no frills items would be under £589.44. This is a 70% saving!
But, do they really taste the same?
This is debatable but I honestly can’t tell the difference when cooked correctly. If it helps, think of these items as just a different type of brand you’re trying out. If it tastes the same or if nice but just different to the norm then keep them and save some money. Being open minded enough to trying them first is the first step.
If you have kids, get them used to value products from a young age. If you tell them you’re trying something new, but it’s okay because it’s cheaper then you may be installing prejudice against them before they’ve even tried them. If they don’t like the value range then that’s obviously fine but try and see – they just might like them.
I also urge you to check out ‘How to Eat Well for Less’ on BBC One if you can. The premise is that they take away a families branded items and swap out some items for no frills products to save them money on their food bill. 90% of the time, the family doesn’t know the difference.
But the best thing you can do, is to add a few pieces onto your weekly shop and see for yourself that’s there’s no difference.