In my previous (before marriage and kids) life, I was an auditor (yes I know you wouldn’t believe it to meet me now, but we all have to start somewhere).
One of the more interesting things I got to do in my time was visit a butter factory. I saw the butter being churned, a small amount of salt added, then it was oozed down a pipe into the packaging. I saw a certain number of packs of a well known brand being filled, then the machine was stopped, and the same product was filled into packaging that indicated a supermarket own brand.
Up until that point I had always considered supermarket own brand products to be inferior – cheaper, therefore not as good. But one of the factory operatives put me straight in a few matters. In the case of the butter, there are very clear regulations about what butter is or butter isn’t – you only have to mess with the basic recipe a tiny amount, and you are not allowed to call it butter anymore. So if it says butter on the pack, then it will be pretty much the same butter in the pot or wrapper, whatever the brand is on the label.
This lesson got me thinking. It doesn’t apply across the board to all products – in many cases the own brand products will be made with cheaper and slightly different ingredients, but quite often they are made in the same factories as the ‘real ‘ stuff, and in many cases will taste quite similar.
In these times of saving money, it is well worth while testing some of the ‘own brand’ equivalents of products that you use regularly , to see which of them will be acceptable to your family. I am not at all recommending that you should go to own brand in all areas – if your family can notice and don’t like a taste difference then of course you should continue to look for the brand (especially if you can get an offer on it).
In our family, we have successfully switched to own brand on :
- baked beans and tinned spaghetti
- orange juice
- butter (of course)
We have tried but failed with
- most breakfast cereals (although my kids do like Sainsbury’s equivalent of Special K)
Do you use own brands when you shop? Which are the own brand products that your family particularly likes? And which branded products can you not live without?