Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Jul 24, 2010 09:52 PM

Sweetened Condensed Milk - Nestle or Eagle Brand?

I'm planning to make a Key Lime Pie. I noticed both Nestle and Borden - Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk at the store with the Borden - Eagle Brand at least 0.50 cents more.

...Money is absolutely no issue. Though is there a discernible difference between the two brands taste-wise, quality, or other?

(The Regular/Full-Fat Kind if it matters)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I use Eagle Brand. I could drink that stuff straight from the tin. Honestly haven't tried nestles though but I think the ingredients are the same between the two.

    1. There's also Magnolia brand, which I buy frequently because it's price is generally lower than Borden, Nestle or Goya; I haven't noticed a flavor or quality difference in any of the brands, though, my feeling is that condensed milk is pretty much the same from brand to brand. Borden tends to be the priciest condensed milk in my area.

      8 Replies
      1. re: bushwickgirl

        When I was shopping for ingredients to make fudge at Christmas, I noticed that the Magnolia brand was significantly cheaper than the Borden brand. I compared labels and it seemed that Borden make the Magnolia brand (perhaps for the Hispanic market??) I went with the Magnolia and noticed no discernible difference in taste or quality.

        1. re: MysticYoYo

          "for the Hispanic market" True, it is, and I normally find it as stores catering to that segment of the population. I have to say I hadn't noticed Magnolia was made by Borden, maybe they purchased it recently, as Magnolia was a private company that's been around since the 30's. I have read that the SCM made for the Hispanic market is slightly sweeter than the other brands, but that difference is difficult to perceive in a product that's already right there.

          I think the sqeeze bottle is a great innovation for ease of access; getting SCM out of the can has always been a bit messy.

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            Borden must have purchased Magnolia at one time. Smart of them to keep the labels separate to keep their Hispanic customers purchasing their product.
            It seems as if there are many items geared toward the Hispanic market that are less expensive but just as good. Yesterday I bought a can of "Conchita" brand pinto beans for a Chipolte Tamale Pie and the brand was considerably cheaper than the name brands or even Goya, but quite good. I buy Badia spices for what is sometimes a fraction of the price of, say, McCormick's. Also, Badia packages some of their product in little plastic ziplock bags which is a better buy for me because I live in the subtropics where the shelf life of spices can be shortened significantly due to the heat and humidity and it makes sense to buy smaller amounts.

            1. re: MysticYoYo

              Obviously Borden is paying attention to the purchasing power of the Hispanic consumer.

              We have Badia and La Flor spice brands here, both good inexpensive spices, although one has to be cautious about where you buy them, as some bodegas don't have a rapid spice turnover. Supermarkets are a better source.

              I just bought a bottle of about 8 La Flor nutmegs at my local, for $1.89. Nutmeg in whole form lasts forever, which is probably close to how long I'll have these.

              1. re: MysticYoYo

                sometimes, the goods geared to the hispanic market are more expensive. maybe it is not a situation where one parent owns both brands, though. so maybe i'll put it like this -- sometimes the hispanic section's goods are higher in price than comparable items in other parts of the grocery store. i'm thinking of shoppers food warehouse, safeway, and giant.

                i've noticed this with some canned beans, iirc. but usually i've noticed that the higher priced brands have hispanic-sounding names as manufacturers.

                1. re: alkapal

                  I've always found it to be the opposite: the products in the "Mexican" section are cheaper than their counterparts on the "regular" shelves, perhaps because they packaging is usually more "downscale" (cans or cellophane instead of jars, etc.).

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Noticed the same thing here in South Carolina, where the Hispanic population has boomed in the past 10 years. Publix has definitely been way ahead of the smaller supermarket chains. One time I was looking for a decent cheap olive oil (not EV) amongst the "oils" area. An employee nearby asked me if I needed help looking for something... I told her what I was looking for. She asked what I planned to use it for, then recommended Badia in the "Ethnic" aisle because it was cheaper and better. Another time, I was looking for some chili powder in the spice aisle, and another employee directed me to the much cheaper and better-quality bagged spices!

                2. re: MysticYoYo

                  Here's a rundown of prices from a local Publix here in Miami for sweetened condensed milk:

                  Iberia $1.59
                  Publix store-brand $1.69
                  Nela $1.69
                  Borden Magnolia $1.79
                  Goya $1.99
                  Nestle La Lechera $1.99
                  Borden Eagle $2.27
                  Nestle Carnation $2.39

                  and the priciest
                  Nestle Moça $2.59

          2. i can tell no difference between nestlé and bordon brands od sweetened condensed milk.

            nestlé makes another one for the latin market (but available in u.s. areas with significant latin populations, like in s.w. florida), called "la lechera." it is typically even cheaper than the "american" labels -- and the exact same product inside. (oooh mercy, i see that they are offering a *squeeze bottle* of the stuff. look out!!!).

            publix sometimes has it on sale buy one-get one.

            9 Replies
            1. re: alkapal

              Squeeze tubes of sweetened condensed milk are quite popular in Japan. People squirt it on fresh strawberries. Quite good, really. I find it also good for really hot curries -- the sweet balances the heat while the condensed milk softens the rough edges of the curry.

                1. re: alkapal

                  I've also never heard of it in curry. But in Indian restaurants in the UK it's fairly common to get it in place of milk for coffee. When I was camping in Kenya in the late 70s in the bush, the cook used to make us tea (chai) at about 4.30am boiled with SCM - it's a taste I will never forget waking up at dawn in Masai Mara with that steaming mug of Chai.

                2. re: Tripeler

                  Squeeze tubes would be very useful if we had them here.

                  I usually punch two holes in the top of the can with a can-opener to be able to pour some scm out for oatmeal or Thai ice tea, but when I then put the can in the refrigerator, the stuff becomes so viscous that it's practically impossible to pour out any the next time I need to use it.

                  Any ideas, short of having a squeeze tube?

                  1. re: racer x

                    Nestle packages SCM in a squeeze bottle; I've seen it at various stores (even Walmart I think). But it is more expensive than the cans.

                    I just open the can with a can opener, and pour the contents into a suitable jar, and keep that in the fridge. Then I can scoop out a tablespoon for my evening dessert coffee. I've also reused squeeze bottles of various sorts.

                    1. re: paulj

                      just don't put it in an old squeezable mayonnaise bottle... that could lead to a rude awakening

                3. re: alkapal

                  Speaking of squeezable bottles, I was having my annual craving for pina coladas... Went to the "cocktail mixers" section to get a can of Coco Lopez, and next to that I found a new one - Coco Real squeezable cream of coconut! I figured, what the hell, so I bought it! Not bad, but not as good as the can of Coco Lopez.

                  I could see the convenience if you used cream of coconut for something else, but pina coladas require a blender, so you really can't make one drink at a time anyway!

                  Well, I guess you could make one pina colada at a time if you had a Magic Bullet or 12, just like Mick and Mimi, you could make individual frozen daiquirs & whip up some nacho-cheese alfredo sauce for Berman & Hazel in seconds.

                  1. re: alkapal

                    I had to use 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk once and opened up a can of Borden's Eagle Brand and Nestle's La Lachera. The taste was very similar, but I did notice that the Nestle's was smoother and slightly less grainy. Both are really good, and it should not have much affect on most almost any recipe, but eating it straight out of the can, Nestle's was my preference. It is also cheaper so that is what I always buy Nestle's now.

                    1. re: alkapal

                      I often buy the La Lechera--same quality and usually cheaper.

                    2. Growing up, my mom always used Eagle Brand and so I do too. Never tried any other brand.

                      1. I've never detected a difference. I just go by what's on sale.