Will this surprising new research make you change your shopping habits?

You might only buy supermarket-own brand when you want to shave a few bucks off your bill, but new research shows that choosing supermarket own brands may be a win-win.

As well as saving you money, the plain wrapped own brands may be better for you than expensive premium brands.

Home or own brand foods were found to contain “consistently and substantially” less salt than pricier, branded rivals, the new research shows.

Around 15,680 products were looked at from all the main food retailers including Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and IGA.

Researchers from George Institute for Global Health, found home-brand foods have 17 per cent less salt than their branded counterparts.

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Professor Bruce Neal, Head of the Food Policy Division at the George Institute for Global Health, said the study, which was published in Nutrients, gives consumers important new information for making healthier food choices.

“When it comes to food, knowledge really is power and research like this gives shoppers and their families more control over their diets,” Prof Neal said.

“Excess salt in food leads to high blood pressure and greatly increased risks of stroke and heart attack.

“Reducing salt in line with World Health Organisations recommendations could save thousands of lives every year and hundreds of millions of dollars in healthcare costs.

“Consumers find it hard to choose healthier foods because labelling is often confusing.

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“The exciting thing about this research is that it shows supermarkets can lead the way if they want to.”

Lead Author Helen Trevena, from the George Institute, said the study could shift perceptions in the supermarket aisles.

“The general opinion among consumers is that supermarket brands are of an inferior quality, but this research shows that is not always the case in regard to salt,” Ms Trevena said.

“We looked at thousands of products across the major supermarket chains in 2011 and 2013 and found that when it comes to salt content, supermarket private label products can be a lower salt option.

“This is good news, especially for families shopping on tight budgets who are more likely to buy private label products, but are also most likely to suffer from health problems caused by high blood pressure.”

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In the study, A Comparison of the Sodium Content of Supermarket Private-Label and Branded Foods in Australia the researchers were surprised to find salt content was an average 27 per cent lower in desserts, 24 per cent in biscuits, 22 per cent in processed meats, and 7 per cent in breads.

But the breakfast cereal category bucked the trend. Salt content in private label cereals was 37 per cent higher.

“This is good news, especially for families shopping on tight budgets who are more likely to buy private label products, but are also most likely to suffer from health problems caused by high blood pressure.”

A study by Roy Morgan data in May revealed nearly half of Australia’s 14 million regular grocery shoppers were trying to reduce their grocery bills. But nearly three-quarters said they preferred sticking with their favourite brands.

Do you usually stick with your favourite brands and will this new research get you to make the switch to own brands?