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Supermarket: these cheaper products would be as good as the brands

  • Post category:Economy News
  • Reading time:4 mins read

UFC-Consumer ServiceWhat to choose decided to devote its November issue to the difference in price and nutritional quality between entry-level products and major brands. And the result is overwhelming, particularly at a time when inflation is affecting the country: “in two-thirds of the families of foodstuffs assessed, at least one first-price item has a recipe no less recommendable” than that of the items from the major brands. In total, twelve families of ingredients are screened. Among them, biscuits, jams, brioches, mayonnaise or even frozen pizzas.

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Little difference between first prices and brands

Some very cheap products even appear better than their equivalent in the major brands. This is for example the case of the Lidl brioche at €2.90, which obtains a better rating than that of the Harrys brand, at €4.23 in France. However, it should be put into perspective. Their comparative study does not prove that low-cost products are of good quality, simply that mid-range brands are far from flawless. It is therefore not necessary to automatically spend more to obtain a guarantee of quality.

How do you know which products to buy then? The sure move is to turn to products labeled organic and without pesticide residues. To eat healthy without spending a lot, the best solution therefore remains according to the authors of “cooking raw or minimally processed foods at home”. To find your way around, we take a look at the list of ingredients. The shorter it is, the better. The Nutri-Score label also provides information. Otherwise, all you have to do is scan your product using the Yuka app, which takes care of deciphering their composition and evaluating their impact on health.

And in Belgium?

The result is obviously the same here. In 2018, on the Belgian side this time, Test Achats carried out a study on the same theme. Entitled “Less expensive, but not less good”, it already concluded that distributor products and hard-discount products obtained practically the same marks as branded products. But they cost significantly less. For this, they based themselves on a sample of products (dried fruits, dishwasher tablets, espresso capsules, shrimp croquettes, washing powders, smoked ham…), the results cannot therefore be generalized, but the observation remained the same: hard-discount products obtained a score almost similar to entry-level products.

And to save even more:

“The cheapest product on the shelves, that of hard-discount brands, therefore often obtains the same result as the most expensive”, can we read. Information that makes the difference when you know that in 2018, an average family spent €2,824 more per year by choosing branded products rather than hard-discount products. Aware that the drop in purchasing power is pushing more and more households to go for the first prices, Moustique also looked into the question, going simultaneously to Färm, Aldi, Delhaize and Lidl with its Yuka app. . Verdict? The organic “Pajottenlander” juice from Färm at €4.52 is rated “good” at 69/100, that of Aldi, non-organic, at €0.99 is rated “good” at 59/100. The entry-level gouda from Delhaize, at 33/100 against 44/100 for the organic gouda from Färm. The best packaged bread at Lidl sold for €1.49 per kilo and reached 90/100 ahead of the 88/100 for bread from Färm at… €11.18 per kilo.

Avoid ultra-processed foods

Overall, unprocessed or minimally processed products (milk, flour, yogurt, rice, etc.) will often have the same nutritional qualities regardless of the brand. Moreover, entry-level products benefit, like the others, from control bodies and restrictive regulations. The difference can be seen more on more processed products, from a nutritional point of view. As for ultra-processed products, we go back to the beginning. No matter the brand, they will contain too much sugar, salt and fat. No reason that the first prices are worse for your health than other brands in this field.

Only one certainty, moving towards local, artisanal products, from small productions or with a quality label makes all the difference. This is a place where you can afford to pay the price. And again, local and artisanal does not necessarily mean more expensive. We therefore bring Yuka and we go hunting for the first prices by carefully analyzing the label for certain products. For the rest, we trust local products from small producers.

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