The supermarket own-brand rip-off

Updated on 13 February 2018 | 2 Comments

If you buy a supermarket's own-brand range rather than its value range you could be being ripped off. An investigation has found that in many cases there is no difference between value products and the own-brand versions.

An investigation by The Mirror has found that there is no difference in ingredients or nutritional value between some supermarket own-brand range products and their value versions.

Some products were found to have come from the same factory with the only difference being the packaging and the price. For example, Corned Beef by Sainsburys, priced at £1.75, and Sainsbury’s Basics Corned Beef £1.50 both came from the same factory in Brazil.

Many own brand products – including butter, cornflakes, UHT milk, corned beef and tinned potatoes – had the same ingredients, weight and nutritional values as the same store’s value ranges.

In another example, Tesco’s Everyday Value cornflakes cost 45p, while the same size own-label option costs £1, but they both had the same ingredients and identical nutritional information.

Morrisons’ Savers salted butter had the same ingredients, percentage of milk and salt, nutritional value and factory codes as its own-label version that costs 10p more.

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10 identical products with different prices


Own-brand price

Value price


% difference

Tesco 500g Cornflakes





Morrisons 1l UHT skimmed milk





Tesco 567g tin of new potatoes in water





Tesco 340g corned beef





Sainsburys 340g corned beef





Sainsburys 1.5kg self-raising flour





Asda 340g corned beef





Asda 300g garden peas in water





Morrisons 340g clear honey





Morrisons 250g salted butter





The supermarket own-brand rip-off (Image:Shutterstock)

What the supermarkets say

 A spokesperson for Tesco told the Mirror: “We want all our own-brand products [to] offer real value and are reviewing our approach to these.”

Sainsbury's said: “There are many factors which inform product specification. This will dictate the range it is in.”

Asda defended its pricing saying that the products may have the “same overall ingredients” but “gradings differ”.

Morrisons explained the price difference on its salted butter by saying: “Savers butter is sourced from inside and outside the UK. Standard butter will always be British”.

Meanwhile, the price difference on its UHT milk reflects the fact the higher priced product has “clever” packaging.

Other goods where brand doesn't matter

Regular loveMONEY readers will know it's an area we've covered on numerous occasions in the past.

In this earlier piece, we highlighted a broader section of supermarket goods where there is absolutely no benefit in paying for pricier brands.

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