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Why 2017’s Christmas dinner is cheaper than we expected

We compared an average Christmas shopping basket in 2017 with one in 2016, with surprising results

Which? research has revealed that tomorrow’s Christmas dinner won’t be as expensive as we thought, as 2017’s festive food prices remain similar to December 2016, with an average increase of only 1.36%.

This is despite like-for-like prices on all groceries increasing by 3.1% year-on-year, according to figures published by market research company Kantar Worldpanel.

Our expert research has found that the average total cost of a Christmas dinner grocery shop (including a turkey crown, all the trimmings and a few festive treats) for eight people has only increased by 59p, or 1.36%, from £43.85 in 2016 to £44.44 in 2017. It’s great news for shoppers worried about the budget of their Christmas feast.

We looked at the online prices for all the food you’d need for dinner on Christmas day to feed a hungry family of eight, across Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose and Ocado for the month leading up to the week before Christmas (from 18/11-18/12 in both 2016 and 2017), using data from MySupermarket.com.*

To reflect a realistic Christmas shop, we included prices for popular branded products such as Bisto gravy, Ocean Spray cranberry sauce, Quality Street chocolates and McVities Victoria biscuits, as well as supermarket own-brand produce, including carrots, sprouts, parsnips, Scottish smoked salmon and the all-important Christmas pudding, double cream and mince pies. To make the results fair we looked for items that were a consistent size and type across the supermarkets.

If you’re looking for inspiration for how to cook your meal tomorrow, head to our complete Christmas dinner menu.

Small price rises

The overall results show that prices have only increased slightly from 2016 to 2017. In fact, the average cost of Ocean Spray Wholeberry sauce (250g), 500g of chantanay carrots and a 454g own-brand Christmas pudding has gone down in 2017. The biggest saving was on a medium-sized frozen turkey crown, which has decreased by 15p on average.

The steepest increase was on 120g of Scottish smoked salmon, which went up by 38p. The price of a tin of Quality Street went up by an average of 25p – though in Tesco and Asda the price has almost doubled compared to last year.

Supermarket changes

If you’re loyal to a particular supermarket, you may be in luck. Our research found that for Sainsbury’s customers, this particular basket of groceries was £2.86 cheaper in 2017 than last year. Tesco and Waitrose baskets were also cheaper, by less than £1. At Asda and Ocado, however, the overall price has gone up by £2.88 and £2.81 respectively.

Related: To find out how the supermarkets ranked in our annual customer survey, read our guide to the best and worst supermarkets 

Overall, the average basket has only increased by 59p, or 1.36%, which shows that people aren’t paying too much more for their festive feasts this year. With so many other things going up in price, it’s a little bit of good news for Christmas chefs across the country.

* Marks & Spencer, Lidl, Aldi and Co-op cannot be included as they do not have an online presence.

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