Own-Label Vs Big Brands

Manchester Metropolitan University finds over 90% of own-label products are just as good, if not better than, the leading brands

As food prices continue to rise, shoppers are feeling the squeeze and, according to a recent report by Which?, 41% of Brits are buying more own-label ranges than a year ago.

Discounter Aldi recently commissioned Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) to conduct independent research to compare the difference between its own-label range and brand leaders. The study revealed that 91% of Aldi’s own-label products were just as good as the big brands, with 27% even rated as significantly better than the brands.

When it came to tinned baked beans, Heinz certainly doesn’t mean beans, with testers rating Aldi’s own-label Corale baked beans as significantly better than Heinz – not only in appearance, but also for overall liking.

It certainly is Pimm’s o’clock for Aldi too, as their Austin’s Summer Drink was liked as much as Pimm’s No.1 and scored higher than Pimm’s No.1 in the drink’s appearance.

In total, seven of Aldi’s products were found to be statistically similar to the brand leaders. Aldi’s Greenvale Creamy butter was found to be no different to brand leader Anchor, and testers could barely tell the difference between Aldi’s Village Bakery white toastie loaf and Kingsmill’s version.  Other products that were found to be similar were tinned tomatoes, tea bags, milk chocolate digestives and lemonade.*

Kellogg’s Special K was the only big brand preferred by testers to the comparable Aldi product, Harvest Morn Benefit.

Furthermore, Aldi’s Four Seasons frozen garden peas had a significantly more acceptable smell than family favourite Birds Eye frozen garden peas.

Dr Kritika Mahadevan from Manchester Metropolitan University commented: “When consumers tested the samples with no information about their origin or packaging, they liked many of the unbranded household staples just as much as their branded counterparts.

She added: “The study used an almost equal split of male and female participants aged between 18 and 84 years (average 48.3 ± 17.3 years), who were students, professionals, family household members, empty nesters or retired pensioners, to represent a cross-section of consumers.”

The research incorporated eleven everyday basket items, including cereal, bread, tea, lemonade, ketchup and baked beans, with one own-label version and one brand version for each. Both products were tested and compared in five key areas: appearance, aroma, flavour, texture and overall liking. Statistical analysis was carried out.  Products that scored more than their counterpart were deemed to be significantly better if p<0.05, i.e. if there was less than 5% probability that the difference was just by chance.

Tony Baines, Managing Director of Buying: “The research shows that choosing lower priced products doesn’t always mean compromising on quality. Savvy shoppers can save large sums of money each time they shop with us and be reassured that they aren’t sacrificing standards. Aldi’s products are like brands, only cheaper.”

Shoppers who switch these eleven products from the brand leaders to Aldi’s own-label range stand to save £14.27 per shop.*


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