My review of Brandless, the $3 (online) store.
Brandless is a new online grocery store selling everything for $3. The offerings range from kitchen supplies to beauty products to food to stationary. Brandless seems to have great company values, offering straight forward pricing and curated, high quality products. The company claims to have lower costs by cutting the middleman, which they call “BrandTax™”, aka the hidden extra costs you typically pay for a retail brand.
The Brandless website states:
Our mission is deeply rooted in quality, transparency, and community-driven values. Better stuff, fewer dollars.
This seems like a company worth supporting! As someone who constantly teeters between eating organic food and not blowing $300+ at the grocery store, I could not wait to get my box. Here is my honest (non-sponsored) Brandless review.
The shopping experience offered by Brandless is really cool. You can see products by traditional category; snacks, cleaning supplies, personal care, etc. Or, you can see products by values; EPA Safer Choice, Compostable, Paraben Free, Organic, etc. Everything is $3, shipping is free after you spend $39 (so add 13 items to your cart and you get free shipping).
I had no problem meeting the free shipping minimum, especially after I discovered all the gluten-free items. I also received a free pack of pens with my order, which was a nice bonus- who doesn’t need extra pens?
I promptly received my box. I was a bit surprised by the way it was packed; items were all dumped into the box haphazardly with no padding. Amazingly nothing was damaged; except one taco seasoning packet had a small hole. The glass bottles had a sleeve around them, but again, I was shocked nothing was broken.
Once I unpacked my box, I realized some of the items were a bit smaller than I expected. The item sizing is very transparent on the Brandless website, but I am pretty visual, so it was hard to estimate until I could see the items in real life.
Some of the items I am very happy with, and other not so much. A complete review of each is listen in the next section. For the sake of my review, here are the pro’s and con’s of using Brandless.
Brandless is a great option for anyone who wants to shop consciously and not waste all day looking at labels to see if something is biodegradable or tree free. I love that all the grocery items are non GMO and made without any synthetic preservatives or flavors. As a gluten-free shopper, I also love that Brandless has identified values shoppers care about and allowed items to be searched and sorted in that manner.
Here is a list of all the values you can shop by on the Brandless website:
- Cruelty Free
- EPA Safe Choice
- Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) ® (ensure the health of the world’s forests for future generations)
- Paraben Free
- Phthalate Free
- Sulfate Free
- Tree Free
Brandless is also a great option for the many American’s that do not have access to grocery store that sell organic options. We have lived in many areas including Wyoming, North Dakota and Kansas, where I had to do most of my “healthy” shopping online or pay exorbitant prices in the store (like double what you would pay in a large city).
If you are looking for good deals, I do believe some items are truly a bargain at $3. Other items are a little more or the same as Amazon or the grocery store, but the convenience of shopping on my phone while holding a sleeping baby, may out weight the difference in price. And, if we happen to be living in a more remote area again, Brandless will be my go to for many items I currently buy at the grocery store.
The biggest drawback of using Brandless is that you don’t really know the quality of the products until you try them. This may be true while trying a new name brand item, but generally, I know what brands I trust. For example, the Brandless toilet bowl cleaner does not come close to cleaning like Clorox toilet bowl cleaner. It has less chemicals and it is eco-friendly, but toilet cleaning is one place I prefer sanitized over environmentally friendly.
If you are a visual shopper or don’t like to pay attention to price per use or price per ounce, you may not realize if you are getting a good deal or not. Like any other online shopping site, it can be easy to binge shop. If you are less interested in getting a good deal, this is probably going to bother you.
Another con for Brandless is the $39 shipping minimum. Amazon has a $25 shipping minimum or is free for Prime members. I realize not everyone can compete with Amazon for shipping, and supporting a smaller business with such great values likely outweighs free shipping for most.
Brandless Item Review
Here is a review (which I will continue to update) of the items I received from Brandless and what I thought of them.
Acacia Wood Serving Spoon: My dog ate my wood spoon a few days before I made my order. I have used the spoon a few times and it seems like it will last. I really like the handle not being wood.
Bagasse Sugarcane Fiber Bowls, 20 ct: Great bowls. Durable and no leaks when I put liquid in them. I used a knife to cut some veggies on a plate and it did not cut through. I have to admit, I did not even know compostable was an option for disposable plates?!
Bagasse Sugarcane Fiber Plates, 32ct: These are durable. Thicker than the ones I usually buy at the store. And, again, with the realization that compostale disposable bowls are a thing, I will reorder for sure!
Cinnamon Glazed Almonds, 4 oz: I am a sucker for cinnamon glazed almonds. I always get them when I am out and see them being made hot. This is the first time I have bought packaged ones. They had a nice flavor, more sugary than cinnamon though. The almond were also soft, not hard or crunchy. I am not sure if this is normal for packaged glazed almond?
Disposable Flatware – Forks, Spoons & Knives, 24ct: These are great. We usually buy plastic and I feel like a jerk wasting so much plastic. No complaints from my husband who uses them for lunch every day.
Fine Line Pens, 0.4mm Point, 8ct: I would not have paid for these because I have a drawer with 1200 pens in it, but they were free at check out as a back to school offer. After using them, I can say I will reorder them when these run of out ink. They are great!
Gluten Free Italian Herb Pizza Crust Mix, 10 oz: I have not tried this yet. Will update after I make a pizza!
Gluten Free Yellow Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese, 6 oz each, 2 boxes: This was so good. I have only tried two other types of Gluten free mac and cheese, this reminded me the most of Kraft- which is what I prefer taste wise. One box made a side dinner serving and two lunch servings for me. The noodles were larger than Kraft.
Organic Butternut Squash Soup, 11.5 oz: I have not tried it yet, but the container is VERY small. I did not realize how small 11.5 oz is, but it looks to be about half the size of the organic brand I buy at the store. This would be the perfect single serving size to keep in a desk drawer at work.
Organic Maple Syrup Grade A, 6.7 oz: Mrs. Butterworth may go out of business if more people catch wind of $3 organic maple syrup.
Organic English Breakfast Black Tea, 20ct: This was an impulse buy because I kept forgetting to get more tea at the store. I drink a lot of hot tea and I would rate this English Breakfast average. If you are a tea connoisseur, stick with your favorite brand. If you enjoy an occasional cup of tea, this will do!
Organic Quinoa, 12 oz.: I suck at making quinoa but I know it is good for me. I usually buy it and let it sit in my pantry until it expires. Crossing my fingers I will get motivated and give this one a try.
Organic Taco Seasoning Packet – 2 Packs: Brandless taco seasoning = flavorless taco seasoning. I do not recommend this taco seasoning if you enjoy taste of tacos. I appreciate that it has no preservatives, but it also had no flavor.
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, 10 oz.: I have never been able to tell the difference between brand of coconut oil and always buy the cheapest. Yes,I know there is a difference depending on how it is processed and where it comes from- no, I don’t really care. This one seems equal to the others that I have tried, at a lower price point.
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil 8.5 fl oz: I am not an olive oil expert. I use it for cooking because it is healthy. This seems equal to the organic store brand that I usually buy at half the price.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Summer Breeze, 24 fl oz: This was very running and took about 3 times more to clean my toilet than Clorox toilet bowl cleaner. When it comes to cleaning my toilet, I will stick with my preferred name brand toilet cleaner.
Tree Free Bath Tissue, 2 Ply, Double Rolls, 6ct: This toilet paper is made from bamboo and sugar cane but too thin for my liking (thought it is thicker than generic brand at the grocery store). It is better than other eco-friendly toilet paper that I have tried, but still chaps my ass (literally).
Brandless has over 300 products on its website. They promise to add more, and I will continue to update this as I try more! If you want to give Brandless a try click here to get $6 off your first order.
Brandless vs Amazon
As a price conscious shopper, I really like to know if I am getting a good deal. I will be comparing pricing between similar items in my Brandless Review Part 2: Brandless vs Amazon. Stay tuned!
Have you tried Brandless? What did you think? Please comment below!