Who wins in a supermarket sweep test?
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?
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!