We're constantly bombarded with advertising for supermarket specials, but is any one chain consistently cheaper than the others? A new investigation by consumer advocate CHOICE suggests not -- and highlights again how much more we pay for brand-name goods rather than house brand alternatives.
Tagged With house brands
One of the most frequently expressed concerns about supermarket house brands is that they will squeeze out rival products. If that bothers you, you won't like this: Woolworths is planning to expand its range of house brands even more -- including more products at the pricier end of the market.
Only a few years ago jokes about home brand products were quite common. Having a blue and white or red and white dinner meant enjoying generic brand fare that night around the table. But the recent intensification of the supermarket wars has seen the introduction of more sophisticated and aggressive branding strategies by Coles and Woolworths.
Woolworths is introducing a new round of permanent price cuts on some of its more popular lines, maintaining its ongoing war with Coles to claim your food-spending dollar. Those reductions will be welcome if they cover products you regularly buy, but careful shopping and a sensible choice of store brands remains your best weapon to cut your supermarket bill.
Australians buy house brand products like Woolworths Home Brand and Coles Smart Buy in huge quantities, but they're far from universally popular. One common objection to them is that they're more likely to be imports than to be made in Australia. A study of 360 products by CHOICE suggests that's true, with just 38 per cent of Woolworths store brand products and 55 per cent of those sold by Coles being locally made or grown.
So I have $25 to feed myself for the week and I have to make more or less everything from scratch. What made it onto the Mastercheap Raw shopping list?
The question of whether Australia's major supermarket chains, Coles and Woolworths, have too much power or are trying to control what brands we buy is rarely out of the media. But as former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Graeme Samuel points out, much of the discussion is driven by vested interests and doesn't necessarily reflect our interests as consumers. And he argues persuasively against the notion that store brand goods will dominate our shopping habits in the future.
The problem of house brand goods looking suspiciously like their big-grand counterparts is not a new one. Consumer advocate Choice says the practice is on the rise, with supermarkets reserving premium shelf space for their own brands at the expense of other suppliers.
Woolworths has said it plans to double the number of house brands it sells through its supermarkets, reigniting the longstanding battle between those who favour the cheaper prices that house brands bring and those who feel their range of choice is stifled as supermarkets favour their own products over others. But which house brand goods have the biggest market share?
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.