Is the big brand better?
By Manny Azam
September 19, 2012, 3:38 pm
Is the big brand better?

There are few things more infuriating than buying something and realising you could have got it cheaper somewhere else.

When I was tasked to undertake this grand experiment little did I know how much people care about particular brands.

There are savings to be made and if you are serious you will follow my advice.

It  comes at a time when it was revealed that nearly a quarter of above-average income earners have already been forced to switch to buying value or own-label brands to make ends meet.

The Axa quarterly Big Money Index found the squeeze on consumer spending has filtered through to those who are considered to have higher disposable incomes.

Some 24% of those in the “successful security” consumer bracket - which includes people in their 40s and 50s, who tend to be married, have higher incomes than average and often have second homes - said they have had to buy more own-label or value brands over the past three months.

Ladies and gentlemen there is little difference between a branded good and one of the high-street shop versions. To prove my point I decided to go shopping and try to compare some of my most popular buys.

All prices correct at time of going to press. These are my personal opinions and doesn’t mean one product is ‘better’ than the other...

Tomato Sauce

I begin with tomato sauce as I didn’t realise how personally people take this issue. It is just tomato sauce? What could possibly make us go into a frenzy?

I took home the Asda version and I can safely say I did not really see much difference. I could live off the Asda version for a period of time. Brown sauce – now there’s a challenge.

Heinz Tomato sauce: £1.95 for 1kg;  Asda Tomato sauce: £1.00 for 1kg; Tesco Tomato sauce: £1.59 for 1kg; Sainsburys              Tomato sauce:         £1.59 for 1kg


I am a tissue lover. I have been for many years. We won’t go into the reason but why do people insist on buying some tissue brands just for the sake of a little softness?

The Asda tissue I took home lasted me longer. Okay, they weren’t as soft because I needed to pull two tissues when only one would suffice but on the whole they did the job.

Kleenex: £3.00 (box of 160); Asda: 68p (box of 150); Tesco: 68p (box of 225); Sainsburys: 68p (box of 150)

Cheese and Onion Crisps

Cheese and Onion crisps are the staple diet of almost every other person I know. Yes, that’s pretty sad.

But I have found there is a big saving to be made here.

As kids tend to be the ones eating these packets (as a treat!), I think it is time we give them the standard cheese and onion rather than the well-known brand. What are they going to do? Go on strike?

I honestly could live with ‘normal’ cheese and onion crisps. And I think you can too.

Walkers:   £1.58 (for six); Asda: £1.18 (for six); Tesco:  £1.18 (for six); Sainsburys: £1.19 (for six).

Fish fingers

Okay, there is something about the quality of one’s fish fingers? Or is there? After it has been grilled does one really care what it tastes like? It seems there is.

Here, was one brand I was finding difficult to switch. But it can be done and there are huge savings to be made.

Yes, it might not be something people are willing to forego but we are in the middle of the biggest price rise since they invented sliced bread. So, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Birds Eye: £2.48 (pack of 12); Asda: 60p (pack of 10), Tesco: 60p (pack of 10),  Sainsburys: 70p (pack of 10)

Rice Krispies

Why did I pick Rice Krispies and not corn flakes? The reason is simple – I don’t like corn flakes.  Here is where we are all being taken for a ride. Rice Krispies are rice krispies.

Yes, one brand can claim to have more snap crackle and pop but once I poured my milk I was amazed how I couldn’t find any difference. Okay, there was a little less snap crackle and pop but the savings soon made me forget about that!

Kelloggs: £2.14 (340g); Asda: 70p (440g); Tesco: 70p (440g); Sainsburys: £1.64 (440g)


The cola wars have been going on nearly as long as the polar wars. Fine, that was made-up and makes no sense.

Some people will make a big issue on the standard of cola you put in front of them.

I can see why. Coca Cola wins hands down for me. It costs more and it is a bigger company but when it comes to cola there is only one king. It is like having Simon Cowell on a talent show.

Deep down we all know we are getting a raw deal but there are some things we just can’t live without.

Coca Cola: £1.98 (2L);  Asda: 59p (2L); Tesco: 59p (2L); Sainsburys: 60p (2L).

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