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Stiftung Warentest compares branded products and own brands

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Private labels can save consumers a lot of money. But do they keep up with premium goods in terms of quality? Stiftung Warentest says which products you can use cheap alternatives without hesitation.

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Food has become around 20 percent more expensive in the past year. Many customers are therefore increasingly turning to cheap private labels, the own brands of supermarkets and discounters. But are the cheap alternatives also qualitatively as good as the branded goods? In response to this question, Stiftung Warentest reviewed dozens of their product tests. The meta comparison shows that private labels are often just as good or even better than premium brands.

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However, own brands have also become more expensive in the past year, in percentage terms even more so than branded products. However, it has been found that there is still a lot of money to be saved by buying private label. From 25 tests over the past three years, the product testers each bought the best branded product and the best private label: the bottom line was that the shopping basket with the private labels was 34 percent cheaper.

According to the product test, you can save a lot on chips, baby pre-food, mineral water, dark chocolate, children’s desserts, tortelloni, veggie spreads, applesauce and balsamic vinegar. With these products, private labels often cost half as much as a premium item. Incidentally, in order to compare the true price, consumers should currently pay more attention to the filling quantity of the packaging – because according to the Hamburg consumer center, manufacturers are currently doing a lot of tricks.

Stiftung Warentest compares 1098 products

But what about the quality of the own brands? The product testers compared the quality assessments of 1098 products from 48 different product tests. The branded articles achieved an average rating of 2.8. The private labels come in at a 2.7. Despite the price difference, both product categories are practically on par.

Although branded products often won the test, a private label usually followed with only a slightly weaker grade. And in some cases it was even the other way around: for example, when it came to coffee, the Caffé Crema “Cafét” from Netto performed slightly better than the best branded product in the Jacobs test. The salmon fillets from Lidl Fischerstolz also outperformed all brands. And the Desira Fruchtjuniors from Aldi Süd were just ahead of the famous Fruchtzwergen, despite the significantly lower price.

Well-known private labels include Edeka’s “Gut & CHEAP” or “ja!” by Rewe. Some food chains also print their own names and logos on the packaging. Lidl and Aldi rely on a variety of different house brands. Even with organic products, the private labels can keep up with well-known classics. On average, they perform exactly as well in all evaluated tests.

A look at the partial ratings of all products gives a few more insights: on average, branded products are slightly better than private labels in terms of sensory quality, which is decisive for taste, and also in terms of germ load. When it comes to labeling ingredients and ingredients, on the other hand, the own brands are a little better and there is hardly any difference when it comes to harmful substances.

Source: Stern

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