Homebrand vs Select Brand

Paracetamol Price at Woolies

Homebrand vs Select Brand


Granted, I don’t shop much at Woolies any more, for a number of reasons, but earlier tonight we dropped by because we were out of paracetamol. Generic is our preferred option for drugs of any kind; we’ve never had a reason to need a specific brand. I know some people do for reasons and that’s cool, but it’s not something we’ve ever needed.


As you may have heard, Woolies are dumping their Homebrand label and remaking everything as Select brand. If you believe articles such as this one, then they aren’t changing anything other than the packaging. Keep that in mind, then observe the photo I took tonight:


Paracetamol Price at Woolies


Both of these packs are 20 packs of paracetamol. Homebrand is $1.04 and Select brand is $3.29. Their unit pricing is even on the label; Homebrand 5c per tablet and Select brand 16c per tablet.


That’s a pretty damn big increase in price for nothing but the packets changing.


I thought I would ask Woolies about it:


Woolies Question


They were very quick to respond.


Woolies answer


I’d like to know how a base product is completely different, personally.


Like I said in that post I linked to above, I largely gave up on shopping at Woolies because I kept finding prices creeping up and I got sick of both it and their really slow cash registers. It’s not exactly a secret that Woolies isn’t going well financially, so changes to increase revenue are clearly on board. And to some degree, Woolies need to make more money.


Who seriously thinks Coles will stay cheapish (or so I find them to be) if Woolies goes out of business and Coles becomes a monopoly? Not me.


The issue I have with Woolies is that they increase some prices (sizzle steak was the last straw for me, I don’t have any photos though – I used to buy it for making beef jerky but it kept going up in price so I stopped buying it) and then I think they had some trolley/ad/signs in their stores talking about what was cheaper now than a year ago (or whatever time period it was).


The bigger issue is that I was suspicious for a while that there was no difference between Homebrand and Select brand products – apart from the package and price. Tonight was a stark example of it and one that I think is worth noting given the announcement of getting rid of Homebrand. Grocery budgeting can be a hard one to manage, and if this is an example of what is to come, then I think if you shop at Woolies you might want to be keeping an eye on your budget for a while to make sure that you are still getting the value for money that you expect – whatever mix that might be for your household.


Do you have a preferred grocery chain or do you go with the flow? Is your flow cheapest, easiest, most convenient location or something else? 


4 Replies to “Homebrand vs Select Brand”

  1. I used to work at a chemist and know that drugs are the same drugs – nevermind what packaging they come in. I always shop generic brands. I too had the same situation the other week, buying paracetamol. I saw the homebrand, woolies brand and the then the panadol brand. What a huge price hike between all three. I buy homebrand, but only for some things and for me, the white dodgy packaging on the panadol wasn’t doing it for me and ended up buying the select brand. It was a split second decision and now admitting it I feel a little silly to be tricked by fancy packaging, but at the time, the homebrand just looked dodgy!

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I wonder if that’s what they are relying on – rushed decisions to put a penny (or a lot of pennies!) in their pockets. Just as irritating as those branded “migraine” or “period” boxes that (I think it was) Choice finally outed as just being basic $1/box painkillers…selling for something like $12/box, naturally.

  2. It frustrates me when these supermarkets constantly try to pull the wool over consumers’ eyes. It’s disgusting. I have no loyalty to either. It’s just what’s most convenient for me. I figure, they’re not loyal to their customers, I don’t feel beholden to either of them.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Same. What on earth kind of reply is “they’re completely different”? Frustrating. I wish we had more supermarket competition in Australia.

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