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House Brand Groceries: Good, Bad, or Indifferent


#1

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’.


#2

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.


#3

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 @TheBBG.

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.


#4

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.


#5

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.


#6

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