British shoppers buying supermarket 'value' brands are not compromising their health, according to a study published this week, reports BBC Online.
The study by consumer affairs magazine Health Which? found that people had difficulty picking out the cheaper or 'value' brand product by tasting, and in terms of nutrition, budget products often achieved equal levels with other brands.
Many consumers believe the quality of budget products is not as high as supermarkets' own-brands, but the study shows that only one out of five products investigated had a much lower nutritional difference.
Tests on yoghurt showed glaring differences between brands. There was almost double the amount of protein between standard and cheaper yoghurts at supermarkets Tesco and Asda. Worse still, the level in Asda's 'smartprice' yoghurt was so low it broke the industry's code of practice. Asda has since agreed to reformulate the yoghurt in response to the findings.
Cheaper yoghurt was also less tasty than more expensive brands.
However, research on one of Britain's most popular foods, baked beans, found that while budget beans generally had around a fifth fewer beans in them, they were also usually half the price.
Digestive biscuits, long-life orange juice, and ready salted crisps also featured in the taste-tests. In general, budget brands tasted at least as good as - and sometimes better than - the supermarket brand. Nutritional values were mostly the same between budget and supermarket brands.
Health Which? senior researcher Felicity Porritt said: "In four out of five budget products we looked at, nutritional value wasn't compromised, and many of the value brands rated well on taste too."
She added: "If you like the taste, and differences in packaging aren't a problem, then go for value brands if you want to save money - they're worth it."