Are home-branded foods healthy?  If you read the label, you might be pleasantly surprised

Are home-branded foods healthy? If you read the label, you might be pleasantly surprised

Grocery prices in Australia have skyrocketed this year. So people may be tempted to switch to home-branded foods to save on their weekly food bill.

Home brand foods are definitely cheaper. But are they healthy?

Here’s what we know about the nutrients they contain compared to the more expensive named brands.



Read more: How to save $50 off your food bill and keep eating delicious and nutritious meals


What are home brand foods?

Home-branded foods have different names. You may hear it called supermarket brand foods, private labels, in-house brands, store brands, or retailer brands.

These are store-bought foods (you can’t buy them in a competitor’s store). They are advertised as low priced alternatives to more expensive items.

Home-branded foods are widely available in Australia and other countries, making up to 30% What you can buy at the supermarket.

Some people once considered these products to be of inferior quality. But its nutrient content, and its wide availability in supermarkets, may play a role in promoting the health of the population. Some evidence Offers Home-branded foods increase their availability and accessibility with more affordable food options, and contribute to improved food safety standards.



Read more: Frozen, canned or fermented: When you can’t shop much for fresh vegetables, what are the best alternatives?


Why are they cheaper?

Cheaper prices associated with home brand products are possible due to lower costs associated with research and development, marketing, and packaging. This means that we cannot assume that lower prices mean cheaper or lower quality ingredients.

In fact, supermarkets can influence the ingredients and processing of home-branded foods through bookmark Against named brands.

Before making a home-brand product, stores will also tell manufacturers what they should cost to consumers. Manufacturers often choose to use the same components and processes as brand-name products to reduce costs through economies of scale.

Noodle tonight? Home-branded pasta may use the same ingredients as named brands.
Jean-Claude Atibo / UnsplashAnd the CC BY-SA

This means not having to clean or reprogram equipment between making different products. This also means that most home brand products are very similar to branded products, regardless of the packaging.

However, for mixed foods, such as breakfast cereals and pre-made sauces, the manufacturer may change the ingredients, such as using cheaper or fewer ingredients, to help reduce costs.



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How much can I save?

Home brand products can reach 40% cheaper of the named brands. So yes, home-branded products can make a real difference to the total cost of groceries.

However, some products have greater cost savings than others, as we explain below.

Most labels on supermarket shelves show the cost per 100g (or equivalent) for an item, helping shoppers choose the most cost-effective option, especially useful when items are on sale.

But are they healthy?

For simple, unprocessed products like milk, eggs, and pasta, there is almost no difference in nutritional quality between home-brand foods and named-brand foods. There is very little that manufacturers can do to modify components to reduce costs.

But sometimes cheaper ingredients are used in higher concentrations in home brand products. For example, homemade pasta sauces may contain fewer vegetable ingredients and more sugar, sodium (salt), and additives (such as stabilizers, colors, and flavors). This may change the quality and taste.

Tomato dish and a basin of boiling water on a gas stove
If you use pre-made pasta sauce, the quality may vary. So check the label.
Gary Barnes/UnsplashAnd the CC BY-SA

Very few studies have explored how home brand products can differ in nutritional profile.

Inclusive, Serving sizeAnd the sodium And other nutrients look the same across home-brand foods and label-brands. But there are some differences with some types of food.

Serving sizes

For example, serving sizes are Generally smaller In home brand pizza, canned legumes, cereals, biscuits and ready meals. In fact, edible oil is the only type of food where serving size is larger for home-branded foods.

salt

Sodium levels in homemade breakfast cereals, cheese and bread higher of branded products. But sodium levels in cooking sauces, frozen potato products (such as oven-baked potatoes), and crackers are lower in home-branded foods.

other nutrients

As for energy and fat intake, there again appears to be inconsistent differences between home-branded foods compared to brand-name foods.

What about sugar? Unfortunately, studies have not looked at this.

In fact, in general, Australian brand products are not nutritionally different from branded products.

health star ratings

On a related note, unhealthy home-brand products — such as smoothies, meat pies, and muesli bars — are more like To include a health star rating, compared to nutritious foods. This may incorrectly mean that they are a healthy choice.

This means no matter which brand you choose, remember that Check the food label To make sure you get the quality of food you like at a price that suits you.

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