I'm proud to buy supermarket budget brands
Saving money on your groceries is a good thing, so why are so many shoppers embarrassed by budget brands?
Have we become supermarket snobs? Not content with trying to keep up with our neighbours, are we now trying to keep up with other shoppers?
I ask because Tesco has admitted re-launching its budget range because customers ‘didn’t feel comfortable’ buying it. While it refused to use the word ‘embarrassed’ when questioned by the Daily Mail, you can’t help but feel that’s what was meant.
This seems crazy. We are hopefully nearing the end of a pretty nasty double-dip recession in which jobs have been lost, wealth wiped out and many of us left in debt.
According to Credit Action, personal debt in the UK rose to £1.410 trillion by the end of July. In fact, individuals owed almost as much as the entire country produced during the whole of 2011.
Surely now is the time to feel proud of finding bargains and sensibly buying the cheaper brands?
I have been shocked at how often the £5 packs of cereal and artisan bread contain far more salt and additives than the budget alternatives
A growing number of my friends now shop at Aldi and Lidl, but defensively tell me “the quality’s fine!” as if I’m judging them. Perhaps it’s because there’s a lot of pressure to provide the best for your children and there’s an unspoken assumption that budget brands are nutritionally poorer than the pricier alternatives.
But I have been shocked at how often the £5 packs of cereal and artisan bread contain far more salt and additives than the budget alternatives. And sometimes there’s simply no difference. ASDA Smart Price beans contain 1.6g of salt per half can, while Heinz contains 1.5g.
When it comes to packets of sugar or salt, it’s hard to see why you’d pay more – unless it’s for ethical reasons such as a preference for fair-trade.
It’s the same with fruit. I am happy to feed my son supermarket budget fruit – it’s fresh, it’s healthy and it usually costs around a third less than the standard produce.
Keeping food bills low eases the pressure on your household finances, which is just common sense in the current climate.
Of course, it’s always important to check the nutritional information, whatever you’re buying. And not all budget brands are up to scratch - I will never buy budget bin liners again, they simply disintegrate. It’s about experimenting to find which products you’re happy with.
We shouldn’t be embarrassed to shop from the cheaper shelves or stores, we should be proud. Keeping food bills low eases the pressure on your household finances, which is just common sense in the current climate.
Perhaps it is time for a re-launch of budget brands. I recommend simple white packets with the words ‘I am a money-saving bargain’ stamped across them, to remind people to be proud.
- Felicity Hannah is a personal finance journalist living in the north of England.
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Which of these financial mistakes have you made most often?
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- Accidentally giving wrong information on a credit application
- Forgetting to make a repayment on time
- Making multiple credit applications in a short space of time
- Not checking your credit report before applying for new credit
- Not staying within your agreed credit limits
- Taking on too much credit that you’ve then found hard to manage
- Forgetting to sever financial links with a previous partner
- Not having enough of a credit record