Own-label can match national brands in Australia

09 September 2010

SYDNEY: Many own-label goods in Australia can match more premium alternatives regarding taste and health benefits while also saving shoppers money, a study has found.

Choice, the consumer group, assessed over 160 food products, including budget offerings from Woolworths Home Brand and Coles Smart Buys.

It compared these items against more expensive ranges like Woolworths Select and similar in-house portfolios manufactured by Coles, Aldi and other retailers.

"While the ingredients may have varied between the brands, for almost half the products we compared there was little difference in the nutrition content," said Christopher Zinn, a spokesman for Choice.

"In fact depending on the product, supermarket private labels can be lower in unhealthy nutrients such as fat, saturated fat, sugars and sodium."

Low-fat mayonnaise from Aldi and Woolworths, and Woolworths' plain water crackers were the best-performing lines in their sectors in terms of nutritional value.

In categories like baked beans, ice cream, cheese and tinned fruit, the cheapest options available also achieved high ratings on taste.

Just two national brands, Kellogg's cornflakes and John West tuna, headed their respective segments in this area, according to Choice.

Concerning price, a basket of 30 prominent national brands cost A$125.48, falling to A$65.88 for Coles Smart Buy, A$65.30 for Aldi and $63.51 for Woolworths Home Brand.

"Market leader brands only topped two categories for taste so it's certainly worth giving cheaper private labels a go," Zinn added.

"But it's still important to compare the nutrition panels to determine if the supermarket brand product is a healthier choice and when we should stick with the big brands."

Data sourced from Internet Retailer/Herald Standard; additional content by Warc staff