Taste the Difference or basics battle

Katie Batchelor, Katie Driver 7 May 2014

Sainsbury’s basics – Katie Batchelor

We are students – is this the time to worry about what we’re eating? Quite probably. However, I don’t feel like I should be worrying when I buy anything from the Sainsbury’s basics range: it’s cheap, it doesn’t go over the top on packaging  and from what I can tell, it mostly tastes just the same.

The basics range (so understated it doesn’t even need a capital letter) used to be the ‘Economy’ range, and later on, ‘Low Price’ – which is enough for any student to choose it over ‘Taste the Difference’. Do I care about the difference? Nope. There are 600 lines in the basics range, half of which are priced at less than £1 – a lot even cheaper at less than 50p! What the basics range economises on, and allows the buyer to save on, is the quality of ingredients used, meaning the fruit and vegetables can sometimes be oddly shaped: skinny and crooked carrots, stumpy bananas. Does this affect the flavour? Not at all!

What’s more, the company doesn’t scrimp when it comes to ethical issues: the basics bananas are Fairtrade as well, while the basics eggs comply with animal welfare standards. What need is there then to fork out for the fancier range?

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference – Katie Driver

It’s true that buying ‘Taste the Difference’ may seem a touch excessive on a student budget, and admittedly it may also make you the occasional target of abuse from fellow students. Casually dropping a tray of ‘Taste the Difference’ sirloin steak, for example, into your basket, whilst a friend purchases a humble basics lasagne, could also be awkward. However, hopefully I can provide you with some ammunition with which to confront the haters.

Yes. And I don't feel guilty.                Image Credit: Taryn

First of all, in a recent Which? Survey, only 14% said that they would buy meat from a budget range: you need not feel like you are being too excessive when most of the population is on your side. Secondly, ‘Taste the Difference’ prides itself on having been tested and chosen by “you”. Although I am yet to meet anyone who has actually ever taken part in such a hands on selection process (how can I get involved?!), this surely means that these products genuinely do taste better to consumers and that it is not merely a matter of fancier packaging and better presentation. Honestly, you get what you pay for.

Nevertheless, I’m not saying it’s worth buying everything from the pricier range. Is there really any point buying ‘Taste the Difference’ butter, costing £1.65, when you can buy the basic stuff for 98p?  But life can be hard enough as a student … why not treat yourself with the occasional packet of ‘Taste the Difference’ all butter, quadruple Belgian chocolate cookies? Go on, you deserve it!