I’ve tried a bunch of no name brand products and some are honestly better than the real deal


This Review article is part of a Narcity Media series. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Narcity Media.

Like any Canadian, No Name brand products were ubiquitous in my life as a child. These bright yellow wrappers adorned with sans serif fonts were in my closets, fridges and pantries, those of my friends and my grandparents.

But, with a name like No Name, you have to wonder how the products compare to the “name” brand versions.

Can Canada’s yellow budget stalwart compare to similar products made by the big boys?

Well, to find out, I went to the nearest No Frills and bought seven No Name brand products and tried them all to see if they were up to snuff.

From tea to chips, to crackers and soup, I’ve tasted them all. And, let me tell you, some are actually really, really good.

Caramel and coconut cookies

Caramel and coconut cookies.

Tristan Wheeler | Narcity

Although these didn’t immediately strike me as something that had a brand name equivalent, they were the prettiest cookies in the smallest box in the store.

Let me say these cookies honestly slapped. They whipped. They went hard.

While definitely on the softer side, that didn’t stop me from getting about four or five in one session. So, cookie heads like me, be warned, because these are delicious!

Cost: $2.00

Rating: 5 / 5

Sesame rice crackers

Sesame rice crackers.

Sesame rice crackers.

Tristan Wheeler | Narcity

Now, as someone who doesn’t usually get rice crackers, these did the job as far as I was concerned.

They were good and crunchy, had a nice subtle sesame flavor and would have gone really well with whatever you associate rice crackers with.

However, they had a bit of an “off” aftertaste. But it was nothing too noticeable or spoil your snack.

Maybe it’s the taste of rice crackers too and I’m just a jerk!

Cost: $1.59

Rating: 3 / 5

Original Crackers

Original crackers.

Original crackers.

Tristan Wheeler | Narcity

These were right next to the Ritz cookies so I assumed they would be similar to those. However, they are simply not an adequate replacement.

These little round crackers look like the real thing but taste more like round saline.

While not the worst thing, if you’re really looking for that buttery, baked cracker taste, just grab a box of Ritz crackers.

But, if a round saline rings in your driveway, then take them. Love what you love!

Cost: $2.79

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Chicken noodle soup mix

Chicken noodle soup mix

Chicken noodle soup mix

Tristan Wheeler | Narcity

Compared to a brand like Liptons, they are essentially the same. But, they lack a little “punch”.

For all intents and purposes, this would work well for any sick day or quick lunch.

After a few sips, it became apparent that a I do not know what compared to the real stuff. But maybe I’m just imagining things!

Cost: $1.00

Rating: 4.5 / 5

Macaroni and cheese dinner

A bowl of macaroni and cheese prepared for dinner.

A bowl of macaroni and cheese prepared for dinner.

Tristan Wheeler | Narcity

This one had me a little worried, as I’m as passionate about Kraft Dinner as any other Canadian.

But, I was pleasantly surprised.

While it didn’t taste as cheesy as KD, it was still good enough that I didn’t feel like I needed to choke it down.

Although it didn’t taste authentic, once I added ketchup it tasted exactly like Kraft Dinner.

Now that’s a win in my book.

Cost: $0.79

Rating: 3/5 without ketchup

5/5 with ketchup

Chamomile herbal tea

A prepared cup of chamomile tea.

A prepared cup of chamomile tea.

Tristan Wheeler | Narcity

Yes, it’s super hard to screw up something as simple as chamomile tea, but that didn’t change the fact that it was awesome!

It tasted like any other chamomile tea you could get at the grocery store and was affordable.

While I’m sure a tea snob could tell you it’s really bad, I’m not a snob so it’s great.

Cost: $1.99

Rating: 5 / 5

All Dressed Potato Chips

All dressed potato chips.

All dressed potato chips.

Tristan Wheeler | Narcity

Oh man. Like many Canadians, topped chips are my jam.

No Name got them out of this damn park.

Honestly, these might be better than any brand name full dress chip – except Ruffles of course.

There was just enough flavoring, they had a good crunch. They were so good.

Honestly, I had to put them away to stop snacking. My only criticism would be that they are a wee bit harsh. But other than that, it’s a perfect achievement.

Cost: $1.29

Rating: 6/5


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