Our monthly supermarket price comparison reveals that Asda has reclaimed its place as the cheapest place for a basket of groceries, after Tesco nabbed the top spot last month.
A basket of 75 branded items at Asda cost an average of £143.69 in June, whereas Tesco’s average basket price was back up to £148.21. There was a gap of about £12 between Asda and the most expensive supermarket – a larger margin than we’ve seen in the past few months.
Asda’s record as the cheapest supermarket seems to be slipping: it had the cheapest basket in 11 out of 12 months during 2016, but it has now been beaten in four out of the six months we have analysed so far in 2017.
To see the full price comparison results, including Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose, head to our supermarket prices compared page.
Supermarkets in the news in June
A sharp increase in food prices – partially due to the weak pound and inflation – drove the fastest growth for UK supermarkets in five years.
Despite this growth, the big four supermarkets (Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco) are in a difficult position, as higher prices are pushing consumers towards discount options. Aldi and Lidl continue to lead the charge with the strongest increases in sales this month.
According to research company Kantar, the June heatwave was a boon for supermarkets, as consumers stocked up on classic British summertime items such as ice cream and cider, giving an early boost to those seasonal products.
In an attempt to compete with Amazon and its Prime delivery service, Tesco has launched a one-hour delivery service for customers in central London through the new Tesco Now app. Customers can order up to 20 products from a list of 1,000 available products and pay a £7.99 delivery fee to get them within the hour. Sainsbury’s already offers a similar service – Chop Chop.
This comes as reports from Kantar reveal that British shoppers are second only to South Koreans in the proportion of groceries they buy online. While it’s currently still less than a third of British shoppers that stock up over the internet, online supermarket shopping has been identified as an industry-wide growth area.
The planned switch from paper price tags on supermarket shelves to electronic labelling has led retail experts to speculate that supermarkets may well introduce ‘surge’ pricing in the future, hiking up prices at peak times. In theory, this technology would allow supermarkets to monitor demand for certain products and instantly alter prices.
How we compare supermarket prices
Each month, we start with a list of more than 100 popular products that are likely to be sold in all six supermarkets we cover (Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose). The products range from Diet Coke to Nestlé Shreddies and John West sardines.
Using data from the independent shopping website MySupermarket, we calculate the average price (including discounts, but not multibuys) for each item across a whole month.We add up those average prices to get the cost of the basket.
If a product hasn’t been sold in one or more of the six supermarkets during the month, then it’s removed from that month’s basket altogether to ensure a fair comparison. This month, we included 75 items in the basket.
Supermarket price comparison schemes
Many supermarkets have a price-matching scheme, where they compare their prices against other supermarkets and give you a voucher for the difference if your shopping would have been cheaper elsewhere. We’ve rounded up the differences between each scheme below. Click the links to find out how each supermarket compared in our customer satisfaction survey.
- Asda will give you a voucher for the difference if your ‘comparable grocery shopping’ isn’t 10% cheaper than at Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.
- Morrisons no longer has a price-match scheme.
- Ocado price matches against Tesco and will give you a voucher for the difference.
- Sainsbury’s no longer has a price-match scheme.
- Tesco checks prices on branded products against Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s. Tesco will deduct the difference from the price of your shop before you pay at the till or online, so should charge the same as Asda for our basket. But you need to buy at least 10 items to qualify for the scheme.
- Waitrose price matches Tesco on branded items. There aren’t any vouchers – it claims to sell these items at the same price.