I wanted to give a review on a product site we just started using. Brandless.com recently gained a lot of popularity. They launched the site a few weeks ago, and are adding new products all the time. I get weekly emails about the awesome new stuff they roll out. So far, we have placed a few orders with them and have loved nearly every product.
If you're not familiar, the premise of brandless.com is to source directly from the manufacturer, and eliminate brand tax by simply listing the ingredients of the product. It says on the site that it's estimated people pay at least 40% more just for brand name goods. I'm going to go ahead and count myself out of that one, because I do most of my shopping at Aldi where brand names don't matter and you could feed an army on a dime. However, you can catch me popping in to a big box grocery store here or there on my way home from work, for the odds and ends I forgot on our Sunday grocery trip. We all fall prey to paying extra for marketing or brand names.
Here's the cool part: everything on the site costs $3. Everything. No exceptions. From q-tips to dish soap to brownie mix, every item clocks in at $3.
I love a bargain. I hate paying for more than just the food. Give me high quality ingredients at a fair price and I'm sold. I liked the idea of brandless.com immediately because there's no middle man. The small companies producing these goods have so much to offer and no way to get their product to a wide range of consumers. Most (if not all) of the products on the site are non-GMO, organic, fair trade, kosher, and gluten free. The cleaning products are safe and non toxic. The beauty products are not tested on animals and are free of harmful chemicals. Even the napkins are tree-free and sustainably made! I imagine walking in to the nearest grocery store and purchasing products similar in quality, and I know I'd easily triple what I have paid on brandless.com.
The selection is amazing. They have several different "aisles" to shop in. Dry food, yes, but also cleaning supplies and kitchen utensils, toilet paper and cotton balls, even a home and office aisle! I know for sure that I will be purchasing my kitchen staples, cleaning supplies, and household items from brandless.com. Next on the list to try is the skincare selection!
So, how has our experience been?
A few of the products I have tried include peanut butter, coconut oil, dish soap, truffle popcorn, toilet bowl cleaner, salad topper, dried mango, and even spaghetti sauce. There is certainly more that we've tried... I mean, it is all $3. Plus, the site offers $3 shipping on first-time orders and $9 flat rate shipping thereafter. Speaking of shipping, I was surprised by how quickly our package arrived, especially considering the company is based in LA.
The packaging is great. Simple. Instead of a brand name, the label simply includes the ingredients or facts about the product. For example, our peanut butter had the ingredients listed: peanuts and salt. That's it. It's organic, fair trade, and non-GMO. I shudder to think what we would have paid for it at our friendly local grocery store. The coconut oil was also a steal. Organic, cold pressed, and unrefined, the coconut oil is every bit as great as its doubly expensive cousin at the grocery store. Because we use coconut oil in everything, this was a huge win.
I was curious about the cleaning supplies listed on the site, so I went ahead and ordered some to test out. I went with the dish soap and the toilet bowl cleaner. The toilet bowl cleaner is amazing (never thought I would be this excited about cleaning supplies), but the real winner for us was the dish soap. Since Tim and I do our dishes by hand, we run through a lot of dish soap. The label tells me the soap is EPA safer choice certified, nontoxic, non GMO, contains no dyes, parabens, or chemical residue. It is also grey-water safe, which is huge for RVers or tiny home owners with holding tanks. The soap smells nice and left our dishes sparkling. We also got a much larger bottle than we usually get, so not only did we save money, we got a higher quality product AND more quantity. Take that, big box grocery store!
The one singular product I was disappointed in was the truffle popcorn. Tim and I are truffle obsessed... So I guess my opinion will always be "more truffle". It's not your fault, brandless.com.
There are, of course, other things on the site that you can absolutely get cheaper at the grocery store. This is brandless.com's way of balancing the prices. You can surely get taco seasoning cheaper than 2/$3. But this, in addition to skipping the brand tax, is the balance for the price tag of the traditionally more expensive items. Plus, why not support small businesses if given the chance? I see it this way: every time you spend your money, you are casting a vote. What do you want your economy to look like? Personally, if I can support small business owners over large corporations, I'm going to do it.
Maybe someday if brandless provides a produce section, I'll swear off Aldi for good. But until then, I'll keep a quarter in my pocket for the Aldi shopping cart (just in case) and order my dry goods from brandless.com.