Who wins in a su­per­mar­ket sweep test?

Gloucestershire Echo - - CASHING IN -

QLIKE most peo­ple, I use su­per­mar­kets. We have quite a choice of su­per­mar­kets around where I live but all claim to be the best value. Some ad­ver­tise this in news­pa­pers and on tele­vi­sion and at least one big su­per­mar­ket reg­u­larly pushes lat­est bar­gain de­tails through our front door.

We – friends and fam­ily – ar­gue over which is best. We usu­ally buy much the same items each week even if we dif­fer on lux­ury items (wine, cho­co­lates) and ob­vi­ously there are many things we only pur­chase oc­ca­sion­ally such as clean­ing prod­ucts and tooth­paste which are long last­ing.

We all have our favourite stores but is there an in­de­pen­dent sur­vey to show which is the cheap­est?

Anna M

AWHICH? it­self has just pub­lished a sur­vey based on 2018 prices. This found that out of five su­per­mar­kets – Asda, Morrisons, Sains­bury’s, Tesco and Waitrose plus on­line only Ocado – the cheap­est was Morrisons while the most ex­pen­sive was Waitrose. The con­sumer or­gan­i­sa­tion found the fig­ures by com­par­ing in­ter­net prices as this is the best way of know­ing ex­actly what each su­per­store sells.

To make sense, it had to find a bas­ket of goods that was sold ev­ery­where. This in­cluded An­drex toi­let roll, Cathe­dral City ched­dar cheese, Ho­vis bread and PG Tips tea. This shop­ping bag cost £156.46 at Morrisons but it would cost £170.79 at Waitrose. The sec­ond cheap­est was Asda, fol­lowed by Sains­bury’s and Tesco with Ocado al­most as pricey as Waitrose.

What hap­pened to Aldi and Lidl, gen­er­ally con­sid­ered to be cheaper? They mostly sell own­brand prod­ucts so the com­par­i­son does not work. They might be bet­ter, the same or not as good as the branded items – it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to know.

The test left out multi-buys – these can be worth­while on items such as de­ter­gents which do not de­te­ri­o­rate. It also ex­cludes the value of loy­alty cards. Fre­quent Waitrose shop­pers might off­set higher prices against its free news­pa­per (£10 min­i­mum spend but worth up to £3.20) and cof­fee deal.

Of course, no shop­per ever buys ex­actly the items in the list.

Sav­ings can be wiped out if the cheap­est su­per­mar­ket is a dis­tance away. There is no clear an­swer!

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