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Which supermarket was cheapest during December 2016?

Asda comes out on top for the ninth month in a row

Woman with trolley shopping in a supermarket

The second-cheapest supermarket was over £10 dearer than Asda

Asda was the cheapest supermarket for our basket of popular branded items in December – easily beating its rivals.

Asda was more than £10 cheaper than the next-cheapest supermarket. The basket, which contains 77 popular items such as Diet Coke, Flora, Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Shreddies, cost just £144.82 at Asda, compared with £154.86 at the second-cheapest supermarket.

This was the ninth month in a row that Asda has topped the comparison.

Take a look at our supermarket price comparison page to find out which supermarket was the next-cheapest, which was most expensive, and see the results from past months.

Supermarkets in the news in December

Tesco was the only one of the ‘big four’ supermarkets to grow its sales in the autumn, according to data from the consumer research company Kantar Worldpanel. 

Tesco’s sales grew by 1.6% in the 12 weeks to 4 December, while Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s sales all declined over the same period, by 4.7%, 1.4% and 0.6% respectively.

The cost of a basket of groceries increased slightly in December but was still 3% less than at the beginning of 2016, according to MySupermarket. 

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 McVitie’s biscuits to Aquafresh toothpaste to Tetley tea bags.

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 of the six supermarkets during the month, then it’s removed from that month’s basket altogether to ensure a fair comparison.

Supermarket price-comparison schemes

Many supermarkets have a price-matching scheme, where they compare their prices against other supermarkets. They will often give you a voucher for the difference if your shopping would have been cheaper elsewhere. As the schemes vary, we’ve rounded up the differences below. 

Tesco’s price-comparison scheme now deducts money at the till or as you pay the bill online, so should charge the same as Asda for our basket. However, you need to buy at least 10 items to qualify for the scheme. 

Click the links to find out how each supermarket compared in our customer survey, and to find out which Best Buy products you can buy from each. 

  • Asda checks prices against Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Waitrose. Asda will give you a voucher for the difference if it isn’t 10% cheaper.
  • 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 off the price of your shop before you pay.
  • Waitrose price matches Tesco on branded items. There aren’t any vouchers – these are the prices it sells the items for.

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