If you're trying to save on your supermarket spend, you probably reach for the budget or house brand goods on the shelves.
And it turns out saving on groceries doesn't mean you're losing out on nutrients, as a new study reveals that fancy brands aren't necessarily better for you.
A New Zealand study published in the journal Nutrients this week found that home brand products have similar nutritional value to expensive branded products.
Research conducted by the University of Auckland studied 4266 home brand products and 19,318 branded products from 2015 to 2018.
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For most food categories tested, there was "no significant difference found" in the average sodium or sugar content between the products, the researchers revealed.
The study concluded that private label (PL) products in most major New Zealand supermarkets are a "good choice for consumers" as they are usually lower in price, have similar nutritional value to branded label products, and are more likely to display a health star rating.
"In most food categories, there were PL options available which were similar in nutritional composition, more likely to be labelled with the HSR, and lower in cost than their branded counterparts," the authors wrote.
Over the past few years, supermarkets have made efforts to ensure their home brand offerings are healthy options for shoppers. The study noted that since 2016, both of New Zealand's major supermarket retailers, Foodstuffs and Woolworths, have reformulated their home brand products to reduce sugar, sodium and saturated fat content.
And it seems that New Zealanders agree - "Most NZ shoppers believe these supermarket own brands are 'just as good or better than' their branded counterparts," the study pointed out.
So next time you're tempted to reach for the fancy packaged biscuits or pricier cans of vegetables, consider opting for the humble home brand version instead. Not only will you know you're not missing out on nutrients, your wallet will thank you too.