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Is Brandless Worth It?

You may have heard of the new online grocery store, Brandless. Their slogan “Better everything, for everyone” has people excited to replace their food and home products with a simple, unbiased brand. Brandless was brought to life on July 11, 2017 with the intention of making better stuff accessible and affordable for more people. Their mission is deeply rooted in quality, transparency, and community-driven values. It’s the idea that big-brand names are charging too much for their product, simply because of the brand name. Here, you can purchase the same product at a much lower cost.

After seeing this new hit store several times across social media, I decided to check it out. My instant reaction was to completely replace my weekly trip to the grocery store with this easier online shopping experience. But it got me thinking: does it really save me that much money? Is there really much of a difference in their stuff? I thought I’d embark on a comparison journey to get to the bottom of my skepticism.

Step 1: make a list
Before I even visited the Brandless site I made a list of groceries I typically pick up. Not realizing Brandless is void of any fresh produce, meat, or dairy, I was immediately deterred from using them as I slowly discovered these weren’t even options. (All things considered, it makes sense why they don’t do fresh food, but, I have to say I was disappointed I could only use them for select items.)

I decided to proceed with my ‘versus’ mission anyway. My grocery list consisted of 20 fresh food and snack items, and 10 household items. Of these 30 products, I found only half of them on the Brandless website. I then had to decide which grocery competitor would be best compared to Brandless, and ended up choose Walmart since their slogan is, in fact, “Always low prices.”

At Brandless, each item costs only $3 so you’d think you’re getting some bang for your buck, right? I thought the same, until I saw their $3 bag of almonds weighed in at a mere 5.5 oz. Not much compared to Walmart’s 14 oz. for only $2 more. For this reason I made sure to list the size, weight or count on the list to get a proper comparison.

Step 2: compare
As mentioned, Brandless boasts a low $3 price tag for all their products. I wanted to find the cheapest options available on Walmart’s website to get a good comparison, so I tried to use their Great Value brand whenever possible, but if I couldn’t get GV, I went with the cheapest option for that product.

The final price for my Brandless cart—note HALF the items weren’t in there—rounded out to an even $45. Walmart’s online shopping cart came to $76.92, and I was able to get every item on my list. Even if Brandless did have all the items on my list, the cart total would come to $90. Right off the bat, Walmart wins with a $16 savings.

Step 3: shipping
There is more to consider than price alone, however. What’s the delivery charge? How long does it take to get to you? Will you be happy with the taste of your food? Let’s take a look:

                                                                Brandless                                            Walmart
Delivery price                                    $5 for free over $40                        $8 or free over $30
Delivery time                                     3-5 days                                               2-4 days

Walmart wins again. Not only is shipping cheaper, but your stuff arrives quicker.

Step 4: quality
It’s now, though, that we have to ask ourselves the most pivotal question—does price outweigh quality? Depends on your taste. For me, Great Value paper towels still absorb liquids, no matter the maker, and candy is just as sweet no matter the manufacturer. For some people, though, quality is everything. Brandless offers certified organic, gluten free, non-GMO, vegan, and cruelty & tree-free products. Walmart also offers (some of) those things, but many people are skeptical of big-brand, corporate company’s so-called “clean” products. Brandless puts time and care into their products, as opposed to mass producing them. In addition, Brandless works with local communities and donates a lot of their products and time to fight hunger and help those in need. If that’s not worth your dollars, I don’t know what is.

Step 5: The verdict
If you’re hoping to make a full switch to Brandless for your grocery needs, I wouldn’t hold your breath. But, if you want to replace a few of your panty items with organic and healthy alternatives to Great Value then you’re in the right place. Just don’t expect to save that much money. Their marketing strategy with “everything only $3” is quite brilliant, because $3 sounds so cheap. But once you consider the amount you’re getting for $3, it balances out with your everyday shelf item, and actually costs a little more than what’s in your local grocery store. Is that totally worth receiving the best quality products? You be the judge.

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