Brands work extremely hard to make themselves recognizable, and get you to associate their products with you reaching to take out your wallet. And, it usually works. If I recognize a specific brand, I am more likely to purchase that product because I trust that brand from previous knowledge. To be brandless is to be without recognition in the congested market of goods and products.

During one day of aimless Facebook scrolling, I happened upon a post about Brandless, a website that sells household goods, foods and products for $3 (or less). Needless to say, I loaded up my cart with goodies, and checked out with $1 shipping, since it was my first order. 

The Arrival

Hannah Brown

As I anxiously awaited for my package to arrive, I looked into how such a deal was possible. The company explains that the average national brand marks up their products around 40 percent, sometimes up to as much as 370 percent. That's more than the minimum these companies could charge and still make a profit. 

Outrageous, I know. It's called the "BrandTax," and the majority of consumers aren't aware that they're paying more than they need to by purchasing goods from national brands. By cutting out the middleman, Brandless offers seemingly ridiculously low prices for its products. 

My Brandless package arrived a short two days later, and I was greeted with a card thanking me for my order and a box of new products I couldn't wait to try. After some serious deliberation, the contents of the box stacked up as such. 

Standout: Gummy Fish

Hannah Brown

I'm a major Swedish Fish junkie, and I wanted to see how Brandless' Gummy Fish compared to the original version. I was completely blown away. Not only was the taste and color considerably less chemical-like, but the texture tasted more natural. I could barely keep enough in the bag to take a picture of them because they were crazy addicting. 

Best Vegan Option: Butternut Squash Soup

Hannah Brown

This soup is straight proof that being vegan doesn't mean eating flavorless and boring-tasting food. After a small mishap of splattering my sleeve as I opened the box, the soup was top-notch. The carrot puree addition was highlighted by the nutmeg and turmeric that gave this soup some depth. For a $3 boxed soup, I was impressed. 

Best On-The-Go: Applesauce Pouches

Hannah Brown

Maybe because my mom never let me eat applesauce pouches when I was little, but I've always wanted to have them. The cute packaging didn't distract me from how convenient these pouches were. I took these pouches of apple goodness with me everywhere—to class, the gym, and the library. 

Best Savory Lunch: Tomato Soup

Hannah Brown

Living in a dorm caused me to become increasingly disappointed with the quality of quick re-heat tomato soups. The Brandless Creamy Tomato Basil Soup proved me wrong. I was surprised by the distinct flavors of each of the layers in the soup and how it wasn't too watery or ketchup-like.  

Final Thoughts

For $10, this box exceeded my expectations. Brandless manages to stock its site with healthy, affordable food that proves accessible. It's a college student's dream. While I kept it fairly simple with my first order, this experience inspired me to branch out and try more products that Brandless offers.

Hannah Brown