Friday, 13 June 2014

Cooking Crimes - In Defence of Value Products

Is it a crime to constantly buy value food?
I don’t know really but I do know lots of people look down their noses at buying Value/Basics/Essentials label goods.

 
My aim when doing our shopping is simply to buy the best value for money products – that doesn’t always mean the 'basic' range (I use MySupermarket to check everything) but sometimes our trolley does look a bit cheapskate. Plenty of value products are exactly the same thing as their pricier shelfmates, just in plainer packaging. Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert site has a forum thread all about which ones are manufactured on the same production lines as the expensive ones.

 
There’s a couple of things we’ve tried and not liked (the orange squash for example, and the washing up liquid doesn’t last very long, you have to use a lot to get any sense of soapiness) but most things are perfectly fine.

Value products from Tesco
 

A quick nosy round our house reveals value brand products of:
Kitchen rolls, sponges, mouthwash, penne pasta, dried spaghetti, lasagne sheets, chopped tomatoes, baked beans, cheese slices, butter, garlic baguettes, orange juice, cooked chicken, sausages, chocolate (great for baking), flour, dried fruit, dishwasher tablets, UHT milk, soft cheese, tomato ketchup, tomato puree, tomato passata, pasta sauce, pickle, various tinned vegetables, grated cheese (cheaper than the own brand stuff and you can chuck it in the freezer in its bag). The value bread is great too – not necessarily for sandwiches and stuff but for whizzing up as breadcrumbs and then freezing. You don’t want to waste £1 or more on bread that’s just going to end up as crumbs! Plus all sorts of biscuits – great for cheesecake bases or anything that calls for broken biscuits in a recipe. I buy the value brandy for my Christmas cake as well and so far, no-one’s complained it tastes awful!
 

Martin Lewis goes on about his 'downshift challenge’ – swop one product and see it you notice a difference. I’ve always wondered with that – what on earth are you supposed to do it you’re already buying the cheapest brand!?

 
What about you? Are you into the basic bog-standard value stuff?
 

16 comments:

  1. Yet another "in defence of" that I completely agree with. We buy a lot of value products and don't notice the difference. We tend to use value as our standard and then "upgrade" when we think its worth it - no point spending more than you need to :)

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    1. Phew! I always wonder how many other people feel the same when I write these posts so I'm glad to hear that it's not just me! I definitely agree with not spending any more than you need as well! :-) x

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  2. We mix and match - but there's some products we just hate the taste of in the budget range like ketchup and pretty much sauces in general to baked beans and juices - I could go on. But if it's the basics like flour, butter and so on I don't mind, just means more pennies for buying the organic stuff!

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    1. That's a good plan! I know what you mean about some of the products, there's a few we've tried and haven't like but definitely things like flour and butter and stuff are just dandy :-) xx

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  3. I like using value brands but my husband can be snobby about them which is tiresome x

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    1. Oh no, that's definitely frustrating! :-) x

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  4. I lived on mainly value stuff at uni. I think some things like flour, fruit, butter etc taste pretty much the same as the more expensive brands! I had value corn flakes once though and they were grim. Never again! xx

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    1. Yeah, I'm not keen on the cornflakes either - the porridge is fine though! Value brands are great for uni - I lived on them plus a baked potato (bought from the local market) for 3 years! :-) xx

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  5. Value brands are great, but I always wonder how you are supposed to downgrade from them too! X

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    1. I know! Not really sure what the next step down is - skip-diving? :-) x

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  6. I always use value stuff,I can't really taste the difference and value chocolate is actually pretty good.Have you had a look at the cookbook "A girl called Jack"? She uses all value products and promotes using leftovers etc..they're really easy to make after work too.I'd recommend it! xx

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    1. Ahh, great minds think alike! I have that book on my 'to read/to order from the library' list! :-) x

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  7. My other half is a bit snobby about value products...though If i'm cooking a recipe , I see nothing wrong in buying value flour , butter etc.I would never buy value meat....cause I do get a bit squeemish about meat. When I lived on my own and had less money I bought quite a few supermarkets own brands. I also happen to work in a supermarket....but this does make me dislike foid shopping.Busmans holiday and all that....x

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    1. Yep, I can see how that wouldn't be very enjoyable! No-one wants to go back into work! When I worked in our local library, Andrew always used to tell me off on holiday because I'd always make a point of visiting the local one - although he did visit the engineering department at Edinburgh Uni when we were up there for the Fringe a few years ago so pot, kettle, black and all that! :-) x

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  8. I don't mind the basics at all - persuaded by Martin Lewis too of course. I think you have to do the taste test (value ketchup? No thanks!) but yep, not sure this is a food crime as much as it's just good shopping sense.
    M x

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    1. I'm glad me, you and a lot of other people are on the same page! You're completely right, it is just good shopping sense :-) I can't understand why people would pay more than they have to for something that ends up tasting exactly the same! :-) xx

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Thank you very much for all your lovely comments; I do have every intention of replying but sometimes life with a baby gets in the way...

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