Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sure, I knew that

One of the side effects of parental disenfranchisement for me has been a descent into the ranks of the nouveaux pauvres, and with it an intimate familiarity with the budget foods in our supermarkets.

So, as somebody who studied the labels at great length before biting the bullet and purchasing that first 18p tin of baked beans, it comes as no surprise to me whatsoever to learn that:

Luxury ranges of food in supermarkets are often less healthy than the budget versions, the consumer group, Which? reports today.

Researchers found that one in four shoppers buy these premium lines, such as Tesco Finest or Sainsbury's Taste the Difference, because they think the products are better for their health.

However, they are often the highest in saturated fat - one of the most unhealthy forms of fat commonly associated with strokes, heart disease and obesity. They also often contain more salt and sugar than the standard versions.
The report - which scrutinised the labels of 54 ready meals from Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco - says that while the difference between premium lines and standard lines are noticeable, the difference between budget and standard ranges are less obvious, with the ingredients often appearing remarkably similar. Often the only difference is extravagant wording on the packaging.
Sure, a lot of offerings in the 'value' range are a bit grim (the soups are weedy, and the jam is thin on fruit, for example), but I've found plenty -- the aforementioned baked beans being a case in point -- which are essentially indistinguishable from the standard supermarket own-brand stuff, at around half the price.

It's not so long ago that my weekly food bill ran to £60 or more (a fair chunk of which was expended here and here); these days, when push comes to shove (and mostly it does) I can get by on £20 and still eat tolerably well (and probably more healthily too, if it weren't for that 30p packet of choc digestives which seems to have insinuated itself into my diet).

h/t Tim Worstall


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I agree: when I was there, I found that many of these "premium" or whatever they call them supermarket brands were just a way of getting more money out of you. They tasted no better than the "ordinary" stuff.

Deadbeat Dad said...

Hi, Welshcakes. It's certainly been an eye-opener for me. Until quite recently, I had simply blanked out budget food -- it never crossed my mind that it might be camparable (not that I was a slave to the big brand names, mind). It just shows how readily we are conditioned to consume according to our financial resources.

It'll be interesting to see whether I slip back into my old habits, when or if I ever get back to making a decent living.