It’s been a huge year for own-label alternatives – which have seized share from brands across multiple categories.
“There’s been a revolution in how we shop,” explained Denise Van Outen in Christmas Secrets of Supermarket Own-Brands (Channel 4, 4 December, 8pm). For the first time, “half of what we put in our trolley is own label”.
But Christmas is a time of trading up, splashing out and impressing guests. Does the necessary frugality of our times apply to the festive season? “Can you have a quality Christmas if you stick to the cheap alternatives?” she asked.
In short: of course you can. As multiple blind taste tests found, you don’t get much extra in terms of quality for the bigger price tag.
For example, there are a finite number of possible champagne producers, who supply both ends of the market. “If you want high-quality champagne, why wouldn’t you buy Lidl or Morrisons?” questioned consumer journalist Harry Wallop.
The keeping up with the Jones’ factor is strong at this time of year, however, explained retail analyst Miya Knights. The look and feel of the mince pies you take to your neighbours is important.
Ultimately though, if you want a great-tasting and cheaper Christmas, Van Outen had this advice: “Ignore the fancy name and packaging.”