What supermarket products confuse you?

Hi everyone. We (at CHOICE) have had some great feedback on reviews we’ve done on fast moving consumer goods (FMCGs). Recently, we’ve reviewed breakfast bars, cat food, laundry and dishwashing detergent to name a few. We’re looking at what other FMCGs you find confusing or really competitive when you do the supermarket shopping. I’m looking for specific products rather than labelling. Any ideas welcome.

Well, I have to say the laundry soap bar. If anyone using them, there are Coles/Woolworth brand and Velvet pure soap. Price for Velvet is $3.69, whilst Coles brand cost $2. I have two products compared on their listed ingredients. Found that it is exactly the same, the one with brand name cost extra $1.70. So, for extra 30 cent I can buy two pack of laundry soap which does the same job at home. :smile:


I recently bought the Aldi cereal range of puffed wheat, noticeable lighter weight. It used to have 850g with 2 stay fresh pack. However, now it is only 750g. the increase of cost of manufacturing the products, plus Aldi do not want to increase their price, so they reduced the volume. An illusion for the consumer but you get less volume. :confused:

This is why you always check the price ratio, @jpchong09. How much does it cost per unit measurement? Ask yourself this whenever you buy something.


Hi @GeorgePerry
Not sure if they are FMCGs or not, but I have difficulty when choosing products with chemicals as the active ingredients. Household cleaners, for example bleaches, window cleaners, & bathroom cleaners often have varying concentrations of possibly different chemicals as their active ingredient. This makes it very hard to determine which is the most effective and the best buy. Is that the sort of thing you are after?

Plastic freeser bags, cling film and baking paper.

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I took the recent health star rating based list of snack bars shopping. Alas the top rated nut bar has preservatives in it so the relatively low fat/salt thing isn’t any good for me anyway. I’ll have to find the other bars online and check their ingredients before I head out again. There’s so little ready to eat food that’s actually healthy and it’s not always convenient to bake your own e.g going overseas customs let you take in packets only.

MILKS. there are so many different milks now. Both cows and also cows milk alternatives on the market. I like almond milk, but it has to have NO sugar, no artificial sweeteners, and preferably no additives / thickeners. There are now increasingly more and more milks like combined coconut/ almond milk.

And now also there is coconut milk designed as a milk substitute (to go on your cereal) but is it different to the coconut milk i get in a can? i expect the difference is the % that is actual coconut but its really not clear as a consumer.

Exactly!! well said!! I assess in this order -

For food in a packet - eg. cereal, bread, healthy snacks, jars and tins.

  1. Nutrition panel per 100g for sugar (total), sodium, not so much for fat and fibre content (if relevant) and any other additional nutritional benefits (vits and mineral levels - if listed);
    Ingredients: the less, the better and the amount of processing the food has undergone.
    country of origin - product of etc… (as much as I can in consideration of the abysmal labelling for this).
    any knowledge I might have of ethical practices by the manufacturer and farming practices of the country
    obviously, I prefer Australian but this is not always possible.
    price/100g/ml etc…

For me, it’s the only method I use to consider price, but if price is the driving factor - I compare as per 100 or unit price only. If you look at the pack size and the price as sold, you’re leaving yourself open to plenty of tricks.

If it’s non food - the active ingredients (or main ingredient/s) and unit price. (Soooo much easier!!)

My husband refuses to go shopping with me… “sigh” I just can’t figure out why he doesn’t want to spend 4 hours in a supermarket reading labels! (Fortunately, we usually buy the same things as the exhaustive research has already been done)…!!


Yes!! I couldn’t agree more!! LOL!! Hilarious!! I can’t believe the milks…! We use a variety of milks - almond, cows, goats, soy and have not yet tried coconut milk, but might give that a crack - In the canned ones, I look for the coconut milk % vs. water and the nutrition panel - sometimes if you aren’t sure how much water, the nutrition percentages per 100 will be higher for products with more of the actual coconut milk. Much like adding water and making a juice “10% liter” in sugar… (the cold-pressed apple juices). If you look at the ingredients they’ve added water… It’s hilarious what these companies try…!!

Pet food (dog and cat). Very hard to compare price.and quality (eg protein content) and predict what “taste” your pet will prefer and not reject or be caused to have diarrheoa after eating. Add to that difficulties of getting it out of the packaging (dog food casserole is easy to get out of the can but loaf is very hard - unless it’s catfood loaf in a sachet which is easy) complexities of age-specific marketing (kitten/puppy, 8+, mature, etc), variety (e.g. indoors, lite, etc) and mutlple purchase saving (eg 5 for $9) it’s pretty much hit and miss or succumb to the celebrity endorsement marketing.

Laundry powder:

I have to have my washing machine drain pump replaced the other day, which gave me a very loud whoop noise while spinning cycle.

I always use laundry powder for front loader for my front load machine. However, recently I noticed OMO new laundry powder marked as for front/top loader use.
I told the technician that I always use laundry powder for front loader and following their dosage requirement on the pack, which is full scoop for full load. He told me that this is not the case. As many laundry powder producer tried to get consumer to use more powder to make the sales. He said that for front loader, always use half less than prescribed on the pack.
This is confusing, as I watched the clothes on the washing doesn’t produced enough foam which mean it is not enough powder use.

Anyone have similar experience?


@jpchong09 I was employed buy Kelvinator for quite some time and regularly attended their test facility . Often they would test various powders and liquids in their washing machines . One thing we learnt from this is that the amount of foam produced is irrelevant to the cleaning ability of the liquid or powder . It is what happens below the water not above it that cleans the clothes .
@jpchong09 I would follow what the technician said and adjust your powder usage levels down or maybe try a liquid detergent . Hope this helps you .

Thank you vax2000. I have tried liquid detergent, it left a dried form in my detergent space. Because sometimes I have to do timer washing. Do you reckon liquid detergent works better than powder when using front loader?

Very much appreciate.

@jpchong09 Have a look at the Choice tests of laundry detergents . There is some very interesting information there . I’ll put a link below to the laundry powder that I use . It has no fillers in it so does not clog or leave residue in your machine . At least that is how I have found it . Hope this helps again .

Thank you! :slight_smile:

Hi @jpchong09

Detergent makers add specific foaming agents because of the perception of many people that ‘it ain’t cleaning if it ain’t foaming’. This applies to laundry and kitchen cleaning products.

In reality, foaming has nothing to do with cleaning.

I have been using under ½ the recommended amount of detergent, both liquid and powder, for many years. It’s worked for us.


I agree with using less: I have been doing it my whole life with no side-effects. And it is true that many soaps (personal, kitchen, laundry, etc) add foaming agents because people still believe the myth that more foam = more clean.


Remember this It is easy for a Tech to blame the detergent to protect the integrity of the appliance he was working on.
Waste pumps die it is a fact of engineering.
Assuming you are using OMOMATIC for front loaders
I suggest you do not blame the detergent because it is the best
Clean the waste pump regularly
Every six months run the appliance on a high temp say 70 or 80 degrees long cycle DO NOT USE DETERGENT and DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING in the drum.
As is normal safe practice do not leave the appliance or any other appliance unattended i.e. go to the movies etc.

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