Sneaky Ways Supermarket House Brands Look Like Pricier Alternatives

Sneaky Ways Supermarket House Brands Look Like Pricier Alternatives

The question of whether supermarket house brands offer the same quality as branded alternatives is one we visit quite frequently This video from Mumbrella demonstrates that whatever the contents of the box, house brand manufacturers (Coles in this case) go to a lot of trouble to make their products look like name brand versions, with similar colours, photos and designs.

Packaging doesn’t change the viewpoint we’ve usually offered on this topic: the way to judge house brands is on a case-by-case basis. If the products are equivalent, you can save a lot by switching from name brands, but that won’t always happen. Case in point: Mumbrella’s editor Tim Burrowes notes that the store-brand cereal which kicked off this project in his head was fattier and less tasty than the brand product. There are no absolute rules, and you need to try before you buy.

If nothing else, the video is a reminder to check carefully when shopping, lest you pick up a product you didn’t want, house brand or otherwise.

The amazing Coles product lookalikes


  • Yes there are some products that taste and perform differently then the leading brand names but most are equally or even better then the equal product.

    For example, i buy Coles brand cereal because its cheap and there is really no difference in quality, i buy the Coles brand Nutrigrain which IMHO tastes better then the Kellogs brand and is nearly half the price.

    People dont realise that home brand products are made the same way and with the same ingredients as the top brands but i believe that home brands dont have to be bought from a wholesaler which is why they can be sold for cheaper then the leading brands.

  • I know that a lot of the time Coles and Woolies force the name brands to actually produce the supermarket house brands for them. They use their significant bargaining power and argue that they will refuse to stock their product unless they help to produce the house Woolies or Coles branded products. Woolies and Coles then still sell these products at a considerable discount. It is often the case that apart from the packaging, the products are near identical and equivalent quality. Obviously there might be exceptions, as highlighted above, but I have been told from several people, the house brands are not only equivalent quality, but exactly the same product with different packaging!

    • That’s not uncommon at all. A lot of technology products are the same. Some of the cheaper brand DVD/Blu-ray writers are identical to the premium brands except the plastic front put on the front.

  • It also basically means the name brands make a lower margin on house products sold. But they still earn some revenue from it which is why they are willing to continue to product such products.

  • Whether or not a product is equivalent or not is beside the point! I’ve mentioned this before, The big two are not, I repeat ‘NOT’ trying to save the consumer money, if you think they are then you are a fool! They produce these products in direct competition with their own suppliers, and the reason they are cheap is because the company that provides it are contracted to do so at a set price! Sure, sugar, salt, eggs etc are going to be the same quality no matter who provides them, but the vast majority of products are cheap for a reason! The only people who are benefiting from this practice are the share holders, and that is the bottom line! Now take a look at whet these two giants are doing to the Dairy, meat and produce farmers, and you quickly realise that sooner or later those industries will collapse, and we will have no locally grown or made products! We will be eating the cheapest shit they can import… take a stand people… stop buying this crap!! #[

    • So point of your post is a business is trying to make money.
      as to contracted at a set price, of course prices are set at a contracted price and of course Coles & Woolworths will aim for the best price.
      As to what the duopoly are doing to the dairy market. The pasturisers set the price to the dairy farmers, the ‘duopoly’ are putting the pressure on the middle man (as is business in general). Also look at the % of where Australian milk ends up, the majority goes off shore and this is what sets the real wholesale price. Whoa is me, a company is trying to sell at small margin, high volume how dare they!
      With all the scare mongering on market collapses, who do you think whipes this up, but other companies trying to hold on to profit marging, again basic business. do we have a target estimate when there will be no more dairy, meat and produce industries in Australia???

  • I refuse to buy homebrand products. Fullstop.
    I totally get the only reason these products exist is that the parent company makes more money on these, all profit back into itself.

    Anyone who has been to the UK has seen what eventually happens. The company (Tescos) only stock their own products. The consumer has lost the power of choice.
    No Thanks.

  • The big difference I notice in the home brand stuff is quality control, the frozen pea’s are all different sizes as opposed to exactly the same in birds eye or whatever.And the cheap frozen pizza’s have less toppings that are usually all lumped on one side of the pizza.Sure you pay a bit for marketing and the name but 9 out of 10 times you also get a better product.
    Ever tried black and gold instant “coffee”?Ehhh.

  • Boomzzilla’s comment about peas being different sizes made me think…

    If home-brand products are produced by the same manufacturer as branded products, maybe they’re cheaper because you’re getting the stuff that didn’t pass the QA test. That would explain why your peas are different sizes and your pizzas are lopsided. They’re probably side by side on the same production line right up until they get split into the AOK branded packaging, or the NQR home-brand packaging.

  • If you’re paying so little attention at the supermarket that you pick up the wrong product, then purchase it accidentally, all because the packaging kind of looks the same as a different brand, then you deserve it. Or you need glasses.

    On another note, that video was very entertaining and well-made, thanks!

  • I made a decision about six months ago never to buy generic brands, only because I heard that Coles were going to reduce all the brands they stock to there brand and one other. If this happens it will greatly reduce our choices in the supermarket.

  • Great post – I am always on the lookout for ways to save when I’m grocery shopping. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the Macro brand from Woolworths. The products are certified organic and I am yet to find a product from the range I’m unhappy with (their corn chips are delicious!) I still find that the best way to cut down the grocery bill though is to make a list before you go and try to plan as many meals as possible. Foods that can stretch across more than one meal are a great buy too. Something like pumpkin is super-healthy and is one of the most versatile foods I like to cook with!

  • The Coles Organic ‘Weet Bix’ are great, probably a better product. (IMHO)

    The Woolworths Bathroom Mould Spray is stronger than any of the name brands. Take a look at quantities of active ingredients with cleaning products, this one was a big surprise for me!

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