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Food & Drink

Best own brand alternatives

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How do you know if supermarket own-brand products live up to the branded ones? We reveal how to find the best own-brand deals without compromising on taste.

grocery store items on a blue background

Keeping up with the cost of food as a student is hard. But, buying loads of branded products in your weekly shop will increase your food bill quite significantly.

We've put our heads together to list all of the best own-brand alternatives to these branded items, so you don't have to! At the end of this, we've also noted down the prices to compare all supermarkets against the branded items.

Prices were correct at the time of writing but may change. The prices of the own-brand products were from the supermarkets' websites. All branded item prices were from Tesco's website.

Best own-brand supermarket products

These are the best supermarket own-brand deals:

  1. Tomato ketchup

    Tomato Ketchup

    Heinz Ketchup: £3.40, 460g (£0.74/100g)

    Sometimes, there's nothing quite like Heinz. Or is there?

    Priced quite highly at £3.40 for a 460g bottle, this can set you back. We've listed below the cheapest options from other supermarkets for their versions of own-brand tomato ketchup.

    You could actually get five bottles of Asda's own-brand tomato ketchup (2.65kg worth) for just one 460g bottle of Heinz! That's a big saving.

    Best Heinz Ketchup alternatives

    • Asda own brand: £0.60, 530g (£0.11/100g)
    • Aldi own brand: £0.89, 650g (£0.14/100g)
    • Sainsbury's own brand: £0.63, 460g (£0.14/100g)
    • Waitrose own brand: £0.85, 470g (£0.18/100g)
    • Tesco own brand: £1.00, 555g (£0.18/100g)
    • Morrisons own brand: £1.25, 450g (£0.28/100g).

    Buy Asda tomato ketchup »


  2. Mayonnaise

    Hellman's Mayonnaise

    Hellmann's Real Squeezy Mayonnaise: £2.65, 430ml (£0.62/100ml)

    We're a fan of Hellmann's. But, honestly, we think you can't really taste too much difference between this and a supermarket's own-brand version.

    It may be worth buying Hellmann's if it's on a special deal or in Poundland, for example, but at full price, we think you'd be better off going for one of the below instead.

    Best Hellmann's Mayonnaise alternatives

    • Asda own brand: £0.72, 500ml (£0.14/100ml)
    • Aldi own brand: £0.85, 500ml (£0.17/100ml)
    • Morrisons own brand: £1.15, 450ml (£0.26/100ml)
    • Sainsbury's own brand: £1.15, 450ml (£0.26/100ml)
    • Tesco own brand: £1.15, 450ml (£0.26/100ml)
    • Waitrose own brand: £1.60, 450ml (£0.36/100ml).

    Buy Asda mayonnaise »


  3. Baked beans

    Heinz Beans

    Heinz Baked Beans: £1.40, 415g (£3.37/kg)

    There truly are no beans like Heinz... but if you're a student on a budget, £1.40 a can just isn't affordable.

    We've scoured the rest of the supermarkets to find the cheapest similar beans. Maybe you can try them all and find your favourite?

    Aldi and Tesco's own-brand baked beans were both the same price at the time of writing. Although we couldn't see reviews for Aldi's beans, Tesco's had a pretty good average score of 4.1/5 when we checked. With this in mind, these are the ones we've linked to below.

    Best Heinz Baked Beans alternatives

    • Asda own brand: £0.27, 410g (£0.66/kg)
    • Sainsbury's own brand: £0.27, 400g (£0.68/kg)
    • Aldi own brand: £0.28, 420g (£0.67/kg)
    • Tesco own brand: £0.28, 420g (£0.67/kg)
    • Morrisons own brand: £0.49, 410g (£1.20/kg)
    • Waitrose own brand: £0.55, 400g (£1.38/kg).

    Buy Asda baked beans »


  4. Flour

    Homepride flour

    Homepride Plain Flour: £1.65, 1kg (£1.65/kg)

    Does branded flour actually make a difference in your bakes?

    We always buy the cheapest flour, as the ingredients on the back seem to be the same. It can help you save a bit of money when making pancakes with your flat.

    Best Homepride Plain Flour alternatives

    • Aldi own brand: £0.69, 1.5kg (£0.46/kg)
    • Asda own brand: £0.70, 1.5kg (£0.47/kg)
    • Tesco own brand: £0.80, 1.5kg (£0.53/kg)
    • Sainsbury's own brand: £0.79, 1.5kg (£0.53/kg)
    • Waitrose own brand: £0.85, 1.5kg (£0.57/kg)
    • Morrisons own brand: £0.55, 500g (£1.10/kg).

    Buy Aldi plain flour »


  5. Chopped tomatoes

    Napolina chopped tomatoes

    Napolina Chopped Tomatoes: £1, 400g (£2.50/kg)

    We love a rich tomato sauce when making spaghetti bolognese. But does it really matter if your chopped tomatoes are branded or not?

    From experience, we've found that using a cheaper tin of chopped tomatoes does the trick when you add in a tablespoon of tomato puree for richness.

    When we checked, Aldi, Asda, Sainsbury's and Tesco all had own-brand chopped tomatoes available for the same price. Asda's had around 4/5 ratings on average, which was higher than Sainsbury's and Tesco's (we couldn't see reviews for Aldi's), so we linked to this one below.

    Best Napolina Chopped Tomatoes alternatives

    • Morrisons own brand: £0.32, 400g (£0.80/kg)
    • Aldi own brand: £0.35, 400g (£0.88/kg)
    • Asda own brand: £0.35, 400g (£0.88/kg)
    • Sainsbury's own brand: £0.35, 400g (£0.88/kg)
    • Tesco own brand: £0.35, 400g (£0.88/kg)
    • Waitrose own brand: £0.65, 400g (£1.63/kg).

    Buy Morrisons chopped tomatoes »


  6. Wheat biscuits cereal


    Weetabix Cereal: £3.25, 24 biscuits (£0.14/each)

    As much as we'd like to say that supermarkets' own-brand versions of Weetabix are just as good... we don't think they always match up.

    So, if you're a big Weetabix fan, the supermarket alternatives may just not cut it for you.

    However, Asda's price per biscuit makes it very tempting.

    Best Weetabix Cereal alternatives

    • Asda own brand: £0.95, 24 biscuits (£0.04/each)
    • Tesco own brand: £0.95, 24 biscuits (£0.04/each)
    • Aldi own brand: £1.99, 36 biscuits (£0.06/each)
    • Sainsbury's own brand: £1.33, 24 biscuits (£0.06/each)
    • Morrisons own brand: £3.29, 48 biscuits (£0.07/each)
    • Waitrose own brand: £1.95, 24 biscuits (£0.08/each).

    Buy Asda wheat biscuits »


  7. Squash

    Robinson's squash

    Robinsons Orange Squash: £2.00, 1L (£0.20/100ml)

    Squash is squash in our opinion. If you're keen to make a saving, it's worth trying a supermarket own-brand version.

    Working out at just 5p per 100ml, Asda's own-brand squash works out as much cheaper than the branded product.

    Best Robinson's Squash alternatives

    • Asda own brand: £0.45, 750ml (£0.06/100ml)
    • Aldi own brand: £0.99, 1.5L (£0.07/100ml)
    • Sainsbury's own brand: £0.50, 750ml (£0.07/100ml)
    • Tesco own brand: £0.50, 750ml (£0.07/100ml)
    • Morrisons own brand: £1.29, 1.5L (£0.09/100ml)
    • Waitrose own brand: £1.30, 1.5L (£0.09/100ml).

    Buy Asda squash »


  8. Pasta sauce

    Dolmio sauce

    Dolmio Pasta Sauce: £2.50, 500g (£0.50/100g)

    Pasta sauce can always be made to taste better with some herbs, spices and salt. You could get nearly five times as much of Asda's own-brand pasta sauce for the price of one Dolmio sauce.

    If you want to make a tomato-based dish, we'd suggest using chopped tomatoes instead for a more cost-effective meal.

    The own-brand bottles of pasta sauce at Aldi, Asda, Sainsbury's and Tesco all work out as around the same amount per 100g. However, as a closer comparison in terms of weight to the Dolmio pasta sauce, we've picked the Aldi version to link to below.

    Best Dolmio Pasta Sauce alternatives

    • Aldi own brand: £0.47, 500g (£0.11/100g)
    • Asda own brand: £0.47, 440g (£0.11/100g)
    • Tesco own brand: £0.47, 440g (£0.11/100g)
    • Sainsbury's own brand: £0.50, 440g (£0.11/100g)
    • Morrisons own brand: £1.09, 500g (£0.22/100g)
    • Waitrose own brand: £1.00, 340g (£0.29/100g).

    Buy Aldi pasta sauce »


  9. Instant noodles

    Super Noodles

    Batchelor's Super Noodles Chicken: £1.00, 90g (£1.11/100g)

    Super Noodles are a student-cupboard essential. At just £1, they're not too pricey but it's good to note that the supermarket's own-brand versions are available for less than a third of the price.

    For this, it's best to taste test and also assess how many packets of Super Noodles you eat in a week or a month. If lots, consider a move to a cheaper own brand, like Aldi.

    Best Super Noodles alternatives

    • Aldi own brand: £0.35, 100g (£0.35/100g)
    • Tesco own brand: £0.35, 100g (£0.35/100g)
    • Asda own brand: £0.27, 65g (£0.42/100g)
    • Sainsbury's own brand: £0.50, 90g (£0.56/100g)
    • Morrisons own brand: £0.55, 85g (£0.65/100g)
    • Waitrose own brand: N/A.

    Buy Aldi instant noodles »


  10. Chocolate

    Cadbury's Dairy Milk

    Cadbury's Dairy Milk Chocolate: £1.35, 110g (£1.23/100g)

    It's hard to compare any chocolate to Dairy Milk. However, the price does seem to be going up and up, making it less affordable for students to buy on the regular.

    For a quick sugar rush, you may be better off going for a cheaper supermarket version.

    Aldi, Asda, Morrisons and Tesco all sold own-brand chocolate for the same price when we checked. We couldn't see reviews for Aldi, but the products at Asda and Morrisons had a very similar overall rating (around 4.5/5).

    As Asda's chocolate has the Rainforest Alliance seal, this is the one we've linked to below.

    Best Dairy Milk Chocolate alternatives

    • Morrisons own brand: £0.36, 100g (£0.36/100g)
    • Asda own brand: £0.43, 100g (£0.36/100g)
    • Aldi own brand: £0.43, 100g (£0.43/100g)
    • Tesco own brand: £0.43, 100g (£0.43/100g)
    • Sainsbury's own brand: £0.45, 100g (£0.45/100g)
    • Waitrose own brand: £1.80, 180g (£1.00/100g).

    Buy Morrisons chocolate »


  11. Cheese

    Cathedral City mature cheddar

    Cathedral City Cheddar: £3.25, 350g (£0.93/100g)

    There is something quite nice about having cheese on toast with Cathedral City.

    But, if you're looking to cut some pennies off your grocery shop, you may need to reconsider. For example, if you chose Sainsbury's own brand of cheese, you'd get almost double the cheese for the same price.

    Best Cathedral City Cheese alternatives

    • Sainsbury's own brand: £3.20, 600g (£0.53/100g)
    • Aldi own brand: £2.79, 400g (£0.70/100g)
    • Asda own brand: £3, 400g (£0.75/100g)
    • Waitrose own brand: £2.75, 350g (£0.79/100g)
    • Tesco own brand: £3.40, 400g (£0.85/100g)
    • Morrisons own brand: £2.99, 350g (£0.85/100g).

    Buy Sainsbury's cheddar cheese »


Best supermarket own brand ranges

The total for all branded items came to £23.45. Here's a comparison of the top supermarket own-brand ranges:

  1. Asda's own brand

    asda logo

    Among all the ones we compared, Asda was the cheapest supermarket, coming in at just £8.21 for all of the items.

    It's not a perfect comparison as the weights/volumes of the products differ slightly from the branded versions.

    However, as you can see from the comparisons of price per weight/volume of each item listed above, you can get some great savings by buying their own-brand products.

    Their own-brand range often has some of the cheapest products compared to other supermarkets and we've seen their items get great reviews.

  2. Tesco's own brand

    tesco logo

    Tesco has some great deals.

    If you were to buy all of the Tesco own-brand products listed above, it would cost you a total of £9.68.

    The own-brand products on their site overall had pretty good prices compared to the other supermarkets.

    And if you're shopping at Tesco, look out for Clubcard Prices in case you can make bigger savings.

  3. Sainsbury's own brand

    sainsbury's logo

    Sainsbury's was the second cheapest, at £9.67 for all of the essentials.

    On the whole, Sainsbury's can be quite an expensive supermarket. But, we've noticed that their own-brand ranges are often pretty affordable (especially their cheddar cheese!).

    Similarly to Tesco, see if any of your Sainsbury's groceries can be bought for less with Nectar Prices.

    Clubcard Prices and Nectar Prices are two of the top loyalty card perks.
  4. Aldi's own brand

    Aldi logo

    We were very surprised to see Aldi not in the top 3 for price when buying all of these cupboard essentials. It came to a total of £10.08 for all of the products.

    Again, it's not a perfect comparison because of the differences in weight/volume.

    For example, some of Aldi's own-brand versions contained more of the actual product, so you might get an extra 50g perhaps.

    And for some items, Aldi's own-brand items did work out as the best value for money, so you can still save money there depending on what you buy.

  5. Morrisons' own brand

    Morrisons logo

    Morrisons really surprised us! When looking at all of their own-brand prices, the shop came out quite expensive, at £13.33.

    We'll have to leave the taste test to you... do you think it's worth it?

  6. Waitrose's own brand

    waitrose logo

    Waitrose's own-brand range, unsurprisingly, came out as being one of the most expensive stores for all of the items, costing £13.30 for most of the items. We say 'most of the items' because the cost doesn't include instant noodles as they didn't have an own-brand version.

    That's more expensive than the other shops, even with an item missing!

    Their own-brand versions can still help you save money compared to buying branded products. But, having said that, you can spend less on your weekly food shop by switching to a cheaper supermarket like Asda.

Need more tips? Try the supermarket downshift.

Lauren Nash

WRITTEN BY Lauren Nash

Lauren is a deals and discounts expert, and the Digital Marketing Manager at Save the Student. She is passionate about saving money and has appeared on Channel 5 documentaries sharing her money-saving tips. Lauren's work is centred around securing the best exclusive deals for Save the Student and working with great student brands.
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