Shopping Off-Brand

Brandless: The unique online retailer changing the grocery shopping scene

By Molly O’Brien, Lifestyle Editorial Assistant

Three dollars: an agreeable price point for most household items any college student may need. That’s the idea behind the e-commerce startup, Brandless, which sells items ranging from maple syrup to body wash, all for exactly three dollars.

Brandless was started in 2017 as a result of the rise of Amazon and other online retailers, as well as the shift by consumers away from brand name products. Without a brand tax, which the Brandless website claims are at least 40 percent of the cost of an item, prices can stay low for everyday items.

Sleekly — and slightly ironically — all products are labeled with the word “Brandless” in simple colors and not much else. When considering food from the brand, a buyer can get just about any non-fresh ingredient they need, as well as cookies, salsas, soups and more. While three dollars can seem steep for a few items, other products, such as beans, are offered at three cans for the price. In the end, the costs are meant to even out to an average shopping trip or less.

Additionally, there are household items aplenty. Packages, like the “new home starter kit,” offer a bundle of multiple products (seven for 21 dollars) useful for covering the bases upon move-in to a new dorm, apartment or house.

The major downfall of Brandless is shipping. Maybe it is just me, but in a time of Amazon Prime and constant promotions, shipping costs make a huge difference. That being said, a user can create an account to receive a one dollar shipping flat rate.

Although I did not personally try any items from the company, online reviews are mixed. Many products are non-GMO, organic, fair-trade or certified kosher, appealing to various demographics. Fans love the peanut butter, which is organic and made with only peanuts and sea salt. On the contrary, one user found the coconut cookies to be crumbly and over-salted, and another thought the white cheddar popcorn was “tasteless.”

Brandless may be finding their footing in terms of product quality, but the concept follows the e-commerce trend of our generation and may offer a low-budget home and grocery option. See for yourself here.

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