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Supermarket's own products just as good or better than name brands, Test Achats finds

20:23 13/12/2022

A new study by Belgian consumer protection watchdog Test Achats which compared supermarket own-brands to better-known brands has concluded that the cheaper versions are not only the same on average, but often better.

Test Achats examined more than 1,500 products. While it said that consumers were generally drawn to the big brands, smaller, lesser-known ones often pack the same punch.

One such example was mozzarella. “By reflex, I would choose the big brand, but I would tend to want to test the unknown one and maybe it costs half the price,” Italian shopper Lorenzo told RTL.

Were he to do so, he might learn what Test Achats did: that the smaller brand of mozzarella has the exact same ingredients.

“All our tests are adapted to the products,” said Test Achats spokeswoman Lisa Mailleux. “For mozzarella, five things are tested: labelling, composition, taste, authenticity and microbiology.”

In another example, the agency analysed spaghetti from a major brand and an organic version from a smaller label.

“If the pasta of a very good brand is on sale, I'll take it,” one customer told reporters. “But the brand does not always determine the quality.”

Often customers err on the side of the familiar when it comes to brands, but in this case, the lesser-known organic version beat the big brand when it came to quality, Test Achats found.

The same can be said for non-food items. When it comes to laundry detergent, smaller brands beat the bigger ones, and the price difference between such items is large.

Test Achats conducted this research over the course of five years.

The results show that, in addition to a price difference of as much as 51%, the quality of retailer products is actually slightly better than that of branded products.

The research consisted of 92 tests (38 food, 30 hygiene and 24 cleaning products) and a total of 1,534 products (731 food, 427 hygiene and 376 cleaning products).

Overall, the findings were consistent: smaller, store-brand labelled products ranked higher (a score of 68 out of 100) in quality than that of name brand products (62/100).

Written by Helen Lyons