Brand vs Budget Brand: Food for Less

It may have been the rain or the quick blow dry I gave my hair, rather than the Asda Smart Price 14p shampoo and 27p conditioner, but my crowning glory was like something out of a horror movie all day on Wednesday. In the end I put it in a bun to save myself from a nightmare of static. Although, as a dry skin sufferer, my scalp was a lot less itchy than I’d expected. Not to be deterred,  I persevered with sampling my Smart Price food products this week.

I forgot to mention in my shopping list that I’d also purchased the Smart Price spaghetti – a steal at 22p for 500g. And I was a happy customer. DJ used it in a prawn chilli pasta dish and I couldn’t taste the difference between that and the 84p Napolina spaghetti I sometimes buy. I’ll definitely be purchasing that item again. The 41p mayonnaise was also good quality – a bit fattening as I normally try to buy a reduced calorie mayo – but very tasty.

This morning I tried out the 74p (for 750g) cornflakes. These don’t come in a cardboard box but a plastic bag – presumably to save on packaging costs, but possibly because the real cardboard was inside the packet. The flakes looked like Kellogg’s cornflakes so I was surprised they had so little flavour. They weren’t inedible but after a few minutes of munching away on them and listening to gloomy tales of the credit crunch on the radio I felt a bit depressed. Not the greatest way to start your day! But after I cracked and sprinkled a few Crunchie Nut Cornflakes on top they became surprisingly more palatable, so perhaps that’s a solution to economising on breakfast cereal. Mixing and matching budget and conventional brands.

The chopped tomatoes (21p) tasted exactly the same as any mid-range brand I might buy. I’m a bit fussy with tomato pasta sauces, though, so I probably wouldn’t use them in one, but I’d happily throw them in a casserole or chilli. The baked beans (20p) also got the thumbs up.

As for the sweet corn (19p), it obviously wasn’t as tasty as the cobs DJ grows on his vegetable plot but it wasn’t bad and the chickens were quite happy with it. The tomato soup (18p) was a bit bland but nothing some salt and pepper and a handful of dried herbs couldn’t sort out.

I expected the washing up liquid (44p) to be runny but it was actually fairly thick and I didn’t need to use much. Another good buy.

All in all, while with my sensitive skin I probably wouldn’t buy the Smart Price toiletries again – apart from the 14p soap and 37p loo roll – I was impressed with the staple food stuffs, the chopped tomatoes, beans, sweet corn, pasta, etc. and the washing up liquid and will definitely be stocking up on them.

Have a great weekend, Piper xxx

Would you buy budget food brands? Or do you get what you pay for? What can you recommend?

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3 Responses to Brand vs Budget Brand: Food for Less

  1. Kerri says:

    I indeed have been out shopping today (not in Asda as one of the \’other\’ big 4 is closer for me and I was stocking up on some premuim brand, but 1/2 price toiletires I saw on offer in the week) and ended up doing a stock up (well the cupboards were getting rather bare and my husband was driving me mad opening and closing the cupboard doors as if expecting food to magically appear). So, amongst my Lloyd Grossman pasta sauces (I do really like these but only buy when they are on a deal, save 1/3 today) nestled quite happily two bags of Basics pasta (18p for 500g) and a pack of Basics spaghetti. If you look at the ingredients there is no diff between this and any of the other brands. Also next to my wholemeal, oat topped Taste the Difference loaf sat 2 x Basics part-baked baguettes (52p for 2) and a pack of Basics crumpets (about 24p for 8). I really think that over the past years, standards of the value brands have really improved – best advice, give the value brand a try, if you don\’t like it, go back to what you used before, and if you do, you\’ve found a great cos-saver

  2. Fiona says:

    Living in the country there\’s lots of free food about, blackberries to name the most obvious for this season. Also people are very happy to give away or sell for a negligable amount, apples. Some roadkill is perfectly edible, pheasant, partridge, but check the birds look as if they were reasonably healthy before they died. Dont forget that if you are an angler that you can eat most varieties of coarse fish. Oh and dont forget mushrooms, tho\’ go with someone who knowws what thye are doing for the first few times. have fun foraging folks ! 

  3. Eleanor says:

    I went thru our bills and outgoings last night to decide on a budget.. and to try n cut down. I dont mind the smartprice stuff at asda.. I decided to try and have a go at the frugalling today to see how i felt about getting into a furgal way.. At first it felt weird but Im kinda satisfied with it, but When ya on the last few days before ya get paid and you try to make your money stretch soo far in one week…. So I spent £4.72 all together on 14 items of shoppin.. not bad eh? I like Bargains..

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