- a blog about food and value

The steady march of own brands

Not all own brands are created equal...

In today’s Irish Times Pricewatch section, Conor Pope looks at the mass switch to own brand labels:

Despite food price inflation, shoppers are managing their shopping budgets by trading down to private labels, shopping around, shopping to a budget and planning in advance. Four out of five shoppers now believe it is imperative that they shop around. As a result we are making more shopping trips, but average spend per trip has fallen by 3.7 per cent.

The winners of this drive for value have been own-label retailer products. More than 30 per cent of what consumers put in their supermarket basket is now own-brand rather than more established names.

We all know that most own brand labels are more or less the same as the private label alternative, but there’s still some products I’m reluctant to switch to, particularly beans, dishwasher powder and some meats. Pope’s article has some useful tips.

What own brand products do you avoid?


  1. Claire, you mentioned that tip before and it’s proved very handy. I noticed that the butter in Lidl is the same manufacturer as KerryGold…

  2. re: dishwasher powder – I use the Lidl 5-in-1 tabs, they work fine and they’re significantly cheaper that Finish etc even when the latter are on semi-permanent special offer.

  3. … the fact that a product is made at the same factory (ie. same coding) does not mean that it is the same product.
    The ‘own brand’ may just have different/cheaper packaging, it may have different quality ingredients, it may be fabricated using a different process………
    And sometimes they can be identical…
    taste and test!

  4. What is the manufacturer’s code, and how can you find this magical fingerprint?

    I’ve been wandering around supermarkets since you posted that, trying to figure out where this code is on products. đŸ™‚

  5. Grainne, it’s usually on the side or base of the paquet, in a circle or oval. An example would be: IE 1092 EC
    You’ll find that most butters bear the same code, showing that they have been manufactured by the same company. I know that doesn’t mean the quality is the same, but taste wise, I’ve found that butters don’t differ much. Then, you can buy “real country butter” which is a mile tastier (and pricier!).
    I also find that for flour or sugar, the taste difference is minimal.

  6. If the nutritional information is the same, then the chances are the quality of the ingredients is the same too.

  7. Great, thanks for the tip, and the always helpful content here.