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Supermarket “store brand” food products often match premium labels for taste and nutritional value, as well as being much cheaper, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

A survey by Consumer group Choice, selected more than 160 food items and compared budget Woolworths Home Brand and Coles Smart Buys against Woolworths Select and Coles brands, Aldi products and other labels.

The report quoted Choice saying several budget store brands rated well in a taste test, except for Coles Smart Buys, which rated poorly on a consistent basis.

“While the ingredients may have varied between the brands, for almost half the products we compared there was little difference in the nutrition content,” Choice spokesman Christopher Zinn said.

“In fact, depending on the product, supermarket private labels can be lower in unhealthy nutrients such as fat, saturated fat, sugars and sodium.”

In the survey, a basket of 30 leading brand items cost AUD$125.48 (NZD$158).

That was almost double the $63.51 for the same basket of Woolworths Home Brand products, $65.30 for Aldi and $65.88 for Coles Smart Buy items.

Zinn said market leader brands topped only two categories for taste.

“But it’s still important to compare the nutrition panels to determine if the supermarket brand product is a healthier choice and when we should stick with the big brands,” he said.

“Some budget store brands can also pack a punch when it comes to sugar or fat content, which shows yet again that consumers would benefit from traffic light labels for fats, sugar and salt on the front of food packs.”

Private label purchases account for more than 22% of all grocery sales, Choice says. — Source: Sydney Morning Herald

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