Save Money on your Grocery Bill – What’s wrong with No-name food?

People cringe at the thought of buying food that is packaged with a generic brand such as Black and gold. They have this predetermined idea that the food in these packets is somehow sub-standard and is uncool to be seen buying. Even though it is so much cheaper than the regular branded foods, it is still avoided like the plague, unless of course you really are can’t afford anything else. In this day and age with most countries caught up in a worldwide recession, I believe it is better to save money even if you have plenty.

Just to have a bit of fun I invited some rather snobby friends to dinner, cooked 90% of the meal with no name goods, and then watched them eat it – check it out in the article to see how they liked it.

Here they were raving about how nice the meal was and one guest even asked for the recipe. When I told them that it was all no-name food they would not believe me. Unfortunately I was not going to get the packaging out the the rubbish bin to prove my point. Their reaction really shocked me because it was like they had never had no-name food. I hate to see them actually end up poor one day and have to eat this stuff. Unfortunately they all are trying to keep up with the Jones.

Anyway, as far as experiments go, it was a success. I really never had a problem with using no-name foods before, and this just reinforced my views.

Black and gold food

Reason why people do not buy Black and Gold or No-name food

  1. People might see them buying it and think they are poor Well that’s all about their personal image. If they care what other people think of them, then that is their problem. Rich people did not get rich by wasting money.
  2. They think the food is of substandard quality It’s like anything you buy. There are good things and bad things in every product range.
  3. It is too cheap Sometimes people think that you get what you pay for. But I also know that if you shop around you can always save money.
  4. It might be imported It may well be imported but how do you know the brand name items are not also imported. The companies have sneaky techniques when labeling the products origin.

My children absolutely love two minute noodles in a cup which cost anywhere from $1.00 up to 1.50. This doesn’t sound like much, however when you buy a bulk pack of no-name two minute noodles they are around $1.40 for 6 times as much food, minus the fancy cups. There is an easy saving of $5.00 just on two minute noodles. For the basic ingredients of cooking, you cannot go wrong with the cheaper no-name brands. For example, baking a cake needs flour, eggs, sugar, and milk. As far as I am concerned these ingredients are all the same. Milk, cream, and cheese all come from a cow, and the taste is irrelevant when using these ingredients for cooking.

Everyone at one time or another will find something they like and will buy in the no-name range. Here are some of my ideas on what to buy or what not to buy.

Things you shouldn’t buy in the no-name product range

  1. Easter Eggs or boxed chocolates The no-name or cheaper chocolates or Easter eggs taste like sugar and sometimes have granules in them. For the chocolate lovers you could never have an un-branded chocolate in your mouth.
  2. Toothpaste For some reason they always taste funny and leave a chalky film on your teeth. I consider my teeth to be very important and therefore will not compromise on toothpaste or invisalign cost.
  3. Shampoo and Conditioner Correct me if I am wrong, however the no-name shampoos and conditioners do not do anything! Maybe if you are bald they might work for you.
  4. Baked beans and Spaghetti All the no-name branded baked beans and spaghetti I have had was filled with a lot of sauce. Once you drain this out you might be left with half a can of the actual food.
  5. Some biscuits Some biscuits taste like cardboard and others are fine. It’s trial an error for the biscuit section. I usually buy crackers that will be used with dip but will not buy fake tim tams covered with fake chocolate.

Items you should buy in the no-name product range

  1. Noodles Surely a noodle is a noodle. Do I need to say more? Save your money and buy the cheaper noodles because they will all end up the same way.
  2. Rice I have tried both branded and no-name rice and have find the cheaper one to turn out just the same. If you overcook the rice it will turn to mush anyway.
  3. Toilet Paper This is something we are going to flush down the toilet. Don’t be too fussy about what brand you get. Add up your savings when you buy a cheap brand.. It is amazing..
  4. Medicines and tablets Now days when you get a prescription the chemist or pharmacy assistant may ask if you would like to try a generic brand of medicine. I have done this a few times as most of the time they contain identical ingredients and do the same job. You can save between 5 and $10 sometimes.
  5. Flours, sugar, Salt, pepper These items are usually used as an ingredient in cooking. Who cares what brand they are. If you are a bad cook anyway, the food will still taste bad.
  6. Bread I don’t know about the quality of the individual store brands, however there is no problem using this bread for making toast. I am a little bit fussier with a fresh salad sandwich, it has to nice bread for that.
  7. Milk, cream, and cheese Any of these dairy products are great to buy, especially if used in cooking. However, if you wanted cheese for a platter you may need to buy a more mature cheese, which will cost more.

Generally I go for the cheaper brands that have proved to be up to the same standard of the branded items. I also try to buy local products if possible. However in the end it is a personal choice, and I know that you can make drastic savings on your grocery bill by using even a few no-name food items.


  1. heaps! says

    Excellent post. Food and prescription drugs are perhaps the two things that you don’t need to go with the name brand stuff. Name brands only give a sense of trust, and you have already pointed out the very few items which you should not stray away from name-brand (toothpaste especially, non-name brands taste horrible).

    If you want to buy brand name, or semi-brand-name, clothes would make sense. But this is only because they fit better. Jeans in particular, brand-name jeans simply fit better around your waist, hips, etc as opposed to non-brand name jeans which just fall on you.

    If someone is afraid of buying non-brand name food it would not be a bad idea to at least start small. Perhaps with syrups, cereals, spices and such. They will gain a sense of trust and they wont’ have a problem buying other foods that are non-brand name. And they will eventually learn of which non-brand names to avoid.


  2. Young Kinlaw says

    I almost certainly would not have contemplated this was useful two or 3 months ago, yet it’s fascinating how age evolves the way you respond to stuff, thank you for the article it genuinely is great to see anything sensible now and then as opposed to the usual rubbish disguised as blogs and forums on the internet. Regards

  3. Elisa says

    You might be VERY surprised with the items you refuse to compromise on. I was the same years ago, but when my wallet took a dive I tried them all again. There are a few that still suck, but not all. The main thing to remember is that ALL those no-names are made by big name brand factories. They do adjust the recipe and label, but they use the same good quality ingredients as the name brands.

    Personally… I don’t find Black & Gold the best quality. Home Brand and No Frills are better. Try the toothpaste again, there’s nowadays even a choice (there are strict laws in Australia about the flouride content and since it’s a medicine all the other hygiene and contents have to meet guidelines too). The shampoo is a bit hit and miss, but it’s not terrible like it used to be. The handwash is excellent. Baked beans well… they were certainly more acceptable price wise than the name brand, but we don’t consider them a gourmet food anyway so who cares? lol. The tinned home brand spaghetti I found pretty good.

    Oh and biscuits. The large family assorted packs are a re-package of a cheap name-brand (I’m pretty sure Franklins sell it, Sunshine or something similar?). MANY of the other biscuits are made by Arnott’s, although they may not be identical in taste.

    Home Brand furniture polish spray is made by (Mr Sheen) with a lemon scent instead.

    PS. I know someone who works for Cerebos so I happen to know they make the tomato sauce for all the cheapy brands.


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