Going green can be cheaper than you think
It needn't cost the earth to help save it. Eco-friendly products compare fairly well with leading brands and are, in some cases, even cheaper.
However, supermarkets' own-brand products are, as you would expect, considerably cheaper than both.
It's all about marketing. Consumers who buy on price alone buy the own-brand labels. Those who want the comfort of a 'well-known' leading make are prepared to pay extra for branding -- as are the new marketing segment, eco-consumers.
And apparently, the premium for buying a leading brand is not much less than the premium you pay to be 'green.'
Tesco's eco-brand 'Naturally', however, competes very well on price.
Its toilet cleaner at €1.59 is a bit cheaper than leading brands. But Ecover isn't that much dearer either, at €2.29.
The same trend holds true for other products.
Tesco's Naturally 24-pack of detergent tablets costs €3.79, or 16c a tab, which is cheaper than the 32-pack of Ecover at €8.39, or 26c a tab.
Tesco's eco-brand is twice as dear as its own 'cheapie' regular brand but considerably cheaper than leading brands.
The eco-brands don't fare so well on price comparison for general spray cleaners, costing twice to three times as much as Tesco's own brand. However, prices vary widely and both of those brands are cheap compared to others.
'Green' brands do their dishwashing duties fairly cheaply. Both Naturally and Ecover at 16c and 23c a tab respectively are cheaper than the leading brands -- if not Tesco's own brand which comes in at just 9c per tab.
NOTE: Tesco's eco-friendly brand isn't available elsewhere, so we chose this supermarket as a basis for our price samples.
We chose regular brands with basic features to compare with the eco brands. Prices rise considerably for those marketed with 'special' features.
Irish brand Lilly's isn't included as it is mainly sold in speciality shops and the comparison with a low-cost major supermarket wouldn't be fair.
Our sample does not evaluate any product's quality or make any reflection on the environmental performance of any leading brands, a random sample of which are chosen for comparison purposes.