Beans are Beans – Why Buy Brands?

Okay, this has something which always confused me. What’s the craic with people buying branded food? I don’t get why people pay so much more for a branded food item, when there are loads of cheaper options available. Like why would you want to spend more?

Y’all at Tesco

I’m a student, yes, but that’s irrelevant. Even if I had the money to buy branded foods, I still wouldn’t, because I really don’t see the point. “The branded ones are nicer”, well okay but I really don’t think having a “nicer” tin of sweetcorn is going to seriously improve my life to be honest. But thank you anyway.

I’ve always wondered how big brands still do so well, because supermarket own brands are available left, right and centre. I know back in the day, that this wasn’t the case; it was either buy the big brand or buy nothing. Brands were the only real option when doing your shopping. But nowadays, pretty much every food item comes in a cheaper version. There’s even several TV Shows like Eat Well for Less, which encourage people to switch from expensive brands and try cheaper alternatives to save money. 

Right, maybe I’m missing something here, but why would you pay £1.50 for a loaf of bread when you can literally get one for 36p? I buy it. I’m not dead yet, it’s decent bread like. It’s not really salty, makes a nice wee sandwich, and is UNREAL toasted. So why would you pay £1.14 more for BREAD? Like, I seriously don’t get that.

People buy branded products for the assumed better quality. But how important is it? How important is the quality of a tin of chopped tomatoes? Is the 28p tin going to absolutely destroy your precious spaghetti bolognese? Is the 80p tin going to make it taste like Gordon Ramsay made it himself?

That’s the thing, people assume. “You get what you pay for”. That’s a brilliant wee line, which brand’s marketing department came up with that one? It’s not true like. How many times have you bought something that wasn’t worth what you paid for it? Probably a lot more times than the price was justified. “You get what you pay for”, that, that is the thing keeping big brands in business. That’s their mantra. They depend on people thinking that to justify them charging more.  

Some people don’t “need” to save money and can “afford to buy the big brands”. Good for you, congrats on your financial situation. But surely there’s something you’d rather spend your money on? Something that’ll last longer than the 5 minutes it takes to eat?

Maybe it’s for some kind of self-fulfilment or something, I don’t know. Maybe it makes people feel good in a way because they feel like they’re giving themselves the best that they can? “I’m treating myself to the finest baked beans money can buy” or something like that.

I mean, it has to be to impress and please yourself, right? Who else cares? Unless you want the sales assistant to think, “Wow, he’s living the high life. I wish I paid £4 for a box of corn flakes. I aspire to be that man” as they beep your shopping through.

For some, it’s a habit. They just buy whatever brand they grew up with. They didn’t have the supermarket own ones when they were younger, so they’ve just kept buying the same ones they always have. They grew to love that brand, and its food. They think “I’m not going to like any other ones as much as these ones”, but sure why not try others and see if there’s one you like just as much?

Of course, it’s your money, you can do what you want with it and you don’t need a 21 year old telling you which loaf to buy.  

Youse to me right now

I’m not saying ‘boycott all big brands’, I’m just saying, why not give cheaper ones a go? If you’ve tried the supermarket own brand version and you really hated it, fair enough. But I don’t see why people don’t even consider them. What have you got to lose? 36p? Sure what’s that compared to the £1.50 you were going to spend anyway?

Rant over. Sort of.

Another thing I don’t get, and which confuses me even more, is why people buy supermarket own brands, but buy the dearer version? Let me clarify, supermarkets normally have a few own brand ranges: the regular range and the value one. There’s the finest one too, but like, that’s for people who do stuff like host dinner parties and eat cheese as a dessert. Madness.

Grapes. Let’s talk about grapes (now you’re excited, aren’t you?) You can get a 500g packet for £1.06, or, you can get a 500g packet for £2. They’re both Tesco’s own. One is ‘Suntrail’ and one is ‘Tesco’.  Same colour, same weight, same use by date. Just dropped a nice wee rhyme there, hope someone noticed. So what’s the difference? The price.  

I mean, you can’t really say that one range tastes better because not all grapes are created equal. Some are nicer than others. Sometimes I get a packet which is UNREAL, and sometimes they’re just standard grapes. But does this only happen with the cheaper ones? Can you categorically say that every individual packet of Tesco grapes is nicer than every single packet of the Suntrail ones? Despite being a different variety, from a different supplier in a different country, picked at a different time of the year? Really? You sure?

Now, just going to throw this out there, but I reckon people buy the more expensive ones for the packaging, not the actual food.  Hear me out.

Tesco reinvented their value range. It’s no longer ‘Tesco Value’; the products don’t come in plain white packaging with Arial font. Instead, they’ve got ‘Suntrail Farms’, ‘Grower’s Own’, ‘Neville’s’, and ‘Stockwell’s.  They’re all Tesco’s own version, but different categories have different names and different branding. And they come in nice colourful packaging with a funky wee font and logo and all. Lovely.

Why did Tesco do this? So people don’t feel like they’re buying the ‘cheap, budget option’. It gives the impression that they’re still buying a brand. Neville’s? That’s a brand. Grower’s Own? Also a brand. A cheaper one made by the supermarket, but a brand nonetheless.

This is because for some reason, people are embarrassed to buy own brands and value ranges. There’s this sort of stigma that if you buy own brands, you’ll be seen as cheap or stingy or poor. And to be honest, that’s a bit disgraceful like. People shouldn’t feel ashamed for buying cheaper food. It’s the same way people get embarrassed and hide the stickers when they buy ‘reduced’ items.

Did Tesco change the recipes? The food product inside? No. Just the packaging.  Because they know that the packaging changes how people view the product. From we’re no age, we’re told, “it’s what’s on the inside that counts”, so why isn’t this the case for food? If it tastes nice, what difference does it make if the packet looks ‘boring’ or ‘cheap’? Just gonna come out and say it, y’all are shallow.

P.S – This post was not sponsored by Tesco, I just shop there so know the prices. Although a wee giftcard wouldn’t be turned down.

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