In these challenging economic times, the importance of identifying the cheapest supermarkets for your household essentials can’t be overstated. As inflation rates continue to soar, families are feeling the pinch, and the need to stretch every penny has never been greater.
This guide aims to provide you with a detailed analysis of the most affordable supermarkets in the UK in 2023. We’ll take a deep dive into the findings of multiple studies, compare prices across supermarkets, and guide you on how to save on your food shop.
How Comparisons Are Conducted
The process of determining the cheapest supermarkets involved monitoring the prices of a variety of items over a selected period. Generally, branded and own-label products were tracked daily throughout the month to ascertain the average cost per item. These averages were then summed up to get a total for each retailer. Special offers were included, but not multi-buy deals.
The products in the comparison varied each month, ranging from typical household essentials like Andrex toilet paper and Lurpak butter to own-label bread and Heinz baked beans. As such, the totals aren’t directly comparable between months or years.
Breaking Down the Costs: Basket vs. Trolley
In the comparison, two distinct shopping scenarios were considered: a basket of items and a larger trolley of items.
A ‘basket’ typically included around 40 to 45 items, while a ‘trolley’ comprised the original basket items plus an additional 90 to 100 items. The latter often included a broader range of branded goods.
The Cheapest Supermarkets for a Basket of Items
After a meticulous comparison of prices, Aldi emerged as the most affordable supermarket for a basket of items in 2023, holding the title for several consecutive months.
Here’s a snapshot of the average prices of a basket of 40 to 45 items at various supermarkets:
- Aldi: £68.60 – £82.03
- Lidl: £70.51 – £77.50
- Asda: £76.45 – £95.32
- Sainsbury’s: £77.13 – £95.65
- Tesco: £77.56 – £93.80
- Morrisons: £79.09 – £96.58
- Ocado: £83.90 – £100.87
Waitrose typically recorded the highest prices, with a basket costing anywhere from £86.91 to £408.72, depending on the month.
The Cheapest Supermarkets for a Trolley of Items
When it came to a larger trolley of items, Asda claimed the crown as the most affordable supermarket. Their trolley prices ranged from £332.40 to £363.29.
Here’s a snapshot of the average prices of a trolley of 131 to 144 items at various supermarkets:
- Asda: £332.40 – £363.29
- Morrisons: £334.47 – £379.13
- Sainsbury’s: £341.40 – £375.84
- Tesco: £349.35 – £376.72
- Ocado: £354.90 – £392.43
- Waitrose: £363.99 – £408.72
Again, Waitrose was the most expensive supermarket for larger shops, with trolley prices far exceeding those of other supermarkets.
Analysing Supermarket Prices Over the Years
While our focus is on the year 2023, it’s worth noting the trend of the cheapest supermarkets in previous years.
- In 2022, Aldi emerged as the most affordable supermarket, securing the cheapest title for seven out of twelve months.
- In 2021, Aldi held the title for six months, slightly more than any other supermarket.
- In 2020, Lidl was the cheapest supermarket, beating Aldi by a mere 34p for a trolley of 45 branded and own-label groceries.
From 2014 to 2019, the analysis was based on Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Waitrose. During these years, Asda was the overall cheapest supermarket three times (2014, 2015, and 2016), followed by Morrisons in 2017 and 2018, and Sainsbury’s in 2019.
More Than Just Price: Factors to Consider
While price plays a crucial role when deciding where to shop, it’s not the only factor to consider. Other elements like product quality, customer service, and location can also influence your shopping experience. For instance, if you’re not comfortable with the layout of a certain store, it could lead to a less efficient shopping experience.
Additionally, while budget stores like Lidl and Aldi often offer cheaper products, they don’t sell everything, which means you might need to visit bigger supermarkets to get the remainder of your items.
Maximising Your Savings
To make the most of your supermarket shop, always bring along your supermarket loyalty card to maximise any savings or benefits. Also, be savvy about the sneaky supermarket tricks that retailers use to encourage you to spend more money.
Remember, saving on your food shop is not just about choosing the cheapest supermarket. It’s also about being a savvy shopper – comparing prices, utilising discounts and special offers, and being flexible with your brand choices.
With this comprehensive analysis, you’re now better equipped to make more informed decisions about where to shop to get the most value for your money. Happy shopping and saving!