House Brand Groceries: Good, Bad, or Indifferent

This thread is to compliment or whinge about the trend of the majors featuring ever more house branded products while displacing branded product.

Aldi has almost nothing but house brands and is a special case. They are often considered good to very good products at the price point and present as a value proposition. In cases their proprietary brands are reviewed as good as any in the market.

What about house brands from Woolies and Coles, and the smaller players (IGA, Foodworks, or locals such as Leo’s in Melbourne)? House brands include their traditional "Woolworths Select’ Homebrand, Coles, and the new fake-brands one can discern by the ‘packed for Woolworths’ [or Coles] all but hidden in the labelling. If you noticed a recently introduced new ‘competitively priced brand’, it could be ‘one of them’.


I have been buying a Latina lasagna single serve from Coles for yonks. That product disappeared in the last 2 weeks and all that is on offer is a Coles branded equivalent at the same price point.

I bit because I needed a fast lunch in the fridge, I like lasagna, and it had a love it or get refunded guarantee. Bottom line is the Latina product was a consistent 7/10 and while not fine food was enjoyable fast food. The Coles equivalent a 4/10 at best, with half going in the bin - I will be collecting my refund on the next shop. It was surprising because I also buy Coles branded [Thai curry, etc] and rice microwave dishes and they have been reliably good, although were not preceeded by name branded equivalents that I remember.


The local Coles has been gradually displacing name brand products with its own throughout the supermarket.

We are lucky with meat - there is a butcher next door, and prices are pretty equivalent for much higher quality. In other areas, though, the choices are shrinking and the prices are rising. This vertical control of the supply chain is allowing Coles and Woolworths to gain an ever-greater share of profits on the stuff we all buy, while not necessarily keeping the same level of quality one might expect.

There are also brands that are not clearly owned by the supermarket but if you have a closer look they turn out to be, as pointed out by @PhilT.

Some of the Coles-branded products are decent; their ice cream is edible, some of their pasta is bearable (my wife and I eat a lot of pasta - her parents moved here from Italy - and she is happy to buy the ravioli). Basics are fine - sugar is sugar, no matter who is labelling it. Milk is milk, and while I know that farmers are not happy I have a limited budget.

Other items are extremely low-quality (including most of the Coles pasta). We are used to Coles’ $1 loaves of bread, but they appear to be losing shelf space to Coles-branded $2 loaves! I suspect that as more and more store-branded items fill the shelves and displace independent brands, prices will continue to be pushed up.


I have no issue in purchasing store branded products…however there is two main conditions , that being

  1. It is a product of Australia (viz near 100% Australian content): or
  2. will only purchase imported if there are no Australian made branded alternatives (e.g. baby corn which there are no suppliers/canneries in Australia) and the nutritional panel is suitable for out consumption.

Generally we don’t purchase many processed foods so an unable to comment on quality of store branded premade/processed products. We usually buy basic items such as flour, milk/dairy products, fruit and veges (fresh, canned or frozen), salt (every 5 or so years), sugar (every year or so) etc and are happy to buy store branded ones if they meet the above conditions. Usually the cows feed on the same pastures, the sugar comes from the same refineries, the flour from the same wheat millers etc whether they are branded or stored branded Australian products. So there is usually no differentiation in quality from branded or not.

When we buy processed foods from time to time, we ensure that they meet the above two conditions and are also lowest available in sugar and salt. If the store branded meets this, then we will consider its purchase.


I agree. We buy quite a bit of food from Aldi, and it is mostly good quality.

We tend not to by processed food, so most of what we buy are fairly basic staples (which may be in a can), but do buy cans of baked beans and tomato soup.

When buying from Woolies, I too have noticed the insidious exodus of products with replacement by the assortment of cleverly disguised home brands which make it look like there is more choice than there really is.

I don’t buy their prestige home brands ever, and lament the passing of the simple and easily identifiable home brand labels. It seems that the trend towards trendy packaging of home brands has pushed up the prices and lowered the quality.


Great thread @PhilT and thanks to everyone who has commented so far. It will be interesting read thoughts from the Community on this issue.


I have just returned two Coles frozen meals: Mi Goreng and Pad Thai, both marked “New”. 2/10. Why bother to invest into something that does not have taste in the first place? Last week I had to return Coles Schnitzel with Cheese and Herbs for the same reason. Never again! Very disappointed.


Hi Tanya

I’m sorry, I am not clear on what the problem with these meals was. You mention not having any taste; was that the issue for all three meals?

Not being regular Coles shopper, what does New 2/10 mean? (Edit: I guess you are giving it a low rating.)

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They removed Maggie Beer icecream always 10/10 and replaced it with the Coles brand… 4/10 at best.

Sadly they don’t listen to consumers as when I mentioned it to hem on Social media they told me that their brand is just as good and in some instances even better.


It has re-appeared in this weeks catalogue. Not obvious if the omission from the shelves was just the local, all of Coles, or they did enough refunds on the Coles branded so reversed a bad decision.


I have been somewhat disturbed, and disappointed at the rate named brand products have been disappearing from the shelves of my local supermarket. Of course they are being replaced by the house brand product.
I am fortunate in that I can choose to pay a little extra for the brand name, and so I make a point of doing that - I will choose the branded over house brand almost every time (unless I am cutting off my nose to spite my face in terms of price).
I understand not everyone is this fortunate. My parents, who are pensioners, tend to ‘mix and match’ and their philosophy is you need to try the house brand, as sometimes it is as good as the branded and sometimes its atrocious. It’s a real hit and miss situation that you can only resolve through experimentation.


Meltam: Sorry for not been more explicit. By saying 2/10 I meant 2 points out of 10 for taste ( my opinion, of course). Whereas Lilydale Schnitzel with Cheese and Herbs, for instance, is 10/10, hard to find these days.


We’ve reviewed house brand food products to see which ones scored best.

Do you choose any house brand products in your weekly shop?


Looks like we need to revisit our shopping choices?

It would have been great to see IGA included. There is an IGA in most townships in our Glass House Mountains area and the hinterlands, just two Woolies, and a single Aldi.

The smaller IGAs quite often have only one or two product brands to select from. A known brand with the second either an IGA owned label or a brand label that seems unique to IGA. Given the alternative unknown brands also do not advertise, should they also be considered a house brand? In respect of value they would appear to meet the same value vs quality criteria applied to the house brands of the other 3.


It’s only 1130 km to my nearest ALDI store, but we have 4 IGA stores within about 6 km … Even if there were a local ALDI, I know where I’d prefer to do my shop. Dick Smith’s concerns re ALDI are well founded in my view :wink:


Local Woolies are incapable of keeping fresh (or often any) stock of Dairy Farmers fresh cream. Anything less than 5 days use-by from purchase date is not on. Aldi’s has never had a bare shelf of their fresh cream and so far has always displayed a reasonable use-by date suggesting their inventory system is pretty good. Coles has a smaller far more expensive size of the product, usually in stock, but often with 2-3 days use-by dates that are impractical to use-by when we shop.

Hence we go to Aldi for the single product but inevitably buy more since it is well priced and good quality, and usually as good as or better than Colesworths house branded goods for similar prices.

My nearest IGA is hit and miss, and they have a few items that are inarguably good and well priced, but too often a miss on products we buy and those are often higher cost so we do not go the extra distance. Isn’t Black & Gold essentially their house brand in a practical sense? and included in some Choice tests.

There is ample history our ‘barons of industry’ whether individuals, families, or corporations will take the money and run if any foreign business offers the right bid. ‘Buying Australian’ is our preference but if our local companies ‘don’t get it’, is it on us to support them anyway?


If one looks closely enough buying locally from a locally owned company is more of a challenge than we imagine.

Some very notable Aussie icons with some very significant foreign ownership, mostly from the USA if is reliable in this instance.

Woolworths and Westfarmers are majority foreign owned with Aussies holding approx 20% of Woolies stock and US investors 66%! :rage:


Absolutely disgusting.

What are all the Australian super funds investing in?


I make my own jams and sauces. Coffee I get from a roaster. Tea from importer in Melbourne. Gluten free coles bread is horrible. Few other brands are better but more expensive. Ice cream, easy to make your own, just need good milk.

Apple jam from scraps cost me $2.50 for 1.7kg


Made Nutella only as an after thought. Didn’t check proportions and added too much chocolate. It’s grainy. Added some oil but it’s still not smooth. As I added a bit too much Vanilla extract the smell is prominent.

Delicious but not Nutella. should have left it as hazelnut butter. Will do better next time.

Next thing to tick off the list is stock from scraps.

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