Supermarket home brands rated for value
OFTEN when we think of discount supermarkets we also think lesser quality.
When we do not recognise the brands, and are unfamiliar with the packaging we assume that the products found in the larger supermarket chains must be better, because they often cost more.
What if I was to tell you that this simply was not the case? In many cases the discount brands are not only cheaper but also better nutritionally.
Or in some cases it is exactly the same product being sold in different packaging.
Well this is the case with a number of our favourite grocery items and knowing can save you hundreds of dollars in shopping bills over the course of a year.
Bread, like milk continues to have cheaper and cheaper options for supermarket shoppers and you can find some home brand loaves for less than $1 a loaf.
When we compared the multigrain loaves at Aldi, Coles and Woolworths, the Aldi loaf contained added sugar, which is unusually in a bread giving it 4 per cent sugars compared to both the Coles and Woolworths loaves which contained just 2.5 per cent overall sugars.
The wholegrain content of the Aldi loaf was slightly higher at 20 per cent than the Coles loaf which contained 17 per cent wholegrains.
For less sugar in your loaf though you do pay more with the Coles and Woollies loaves found between $1.50-$2.00 per loaf and Aldi $1.49 per loaf.
Milk, is milk, is milk. While some varieties of milk may contain added vitamins, or are fortified with extra calcium, plain full cream milk does not differ between supermarket brands nutritionally and Aldi retails slightly cheaper than both Woolworths and Coles.
When you are considering your plain sliced cheddar, the truth is that there is little to no difference between the nutrition of Aldi and supermarket brand cheeses. This suggests that the cheese may actually be the exact same product, repackaged.
Cheese, is cheese, is cheese and while slightly different cheeses will yield different flavours, overall the nutritional profile is the same. Except at Aldi your packet of cheese slices is cheaper than the same sized product at Woolworths and Coles.
A popular family favourite â€" while there are lower salt and sugar varieties of tomato sauce of mainstream brands, when it comes to supermarket brands, the nutrition of the home brand tomato sauces are virtually identical.
When it comes to your meat, the truth is that spending extra on the wide range of extra trim and lean cuts found largely at Woolworths and of some Coles cuts is ideal nutritionally. When though we consider the family favourite a basic packet of sausages you are getting an extra 5 per cent meat in your Aldi sausages which means overall the sausages are lower in fat and higher and protein.
The number of breakfast cereals in any breakfast cereal aisle is confusing to say the least. A closer look at the labels of home brand fruit mueslis show that while the Aldi brand is lower in overall sugars, this is largely as it has a lower overall fruit content than both the Coles and Woolworths muesli with Aldi containing 11.7 per cent fruit, Coles 35 per cent fruit and Woolworths 22 per cent fruit.
From a price perspective this means when it comes to home brand muesli when you pay more, you get more fruit.
The range of nut bars available in supermarkets is growing and it can be difficult to differentiate between the different brands. Some products have a mix of nuts and fruit, others chocolate and some are just peanut based bars.
Aldi Fruit and Nut bars contained the highest proportion of nuts with 49 per cent mixed nuts, followed by Coles with 45 per cent just peanut and Woolworths 44 per cent nuts.
All bars contained added sugars while Aldi came in with the lowest percentage of overall sugars with 20.8 per cent versus 28.4 per cent and 31.4 per cent sugars for the Woolworths Fruit & Nut bars.
Yet the Aldi products remain slightly cheaper than Coles at $2.49 versus $2.65 and than that of Woolworths which sell at $4.00 for four bars.
Susie Burrell is a dietitian and nutritionist. Follow her on Twitter @SusieBDiet