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Best and worst supermarkets of 2019

Waitrose impresses with the quality of its produce and in-store experience, but which supermarkets offer the best value for money?

Best and worst supermarkets of 2019

Waitrose has claimed victory in the battle for best supermarket, while online-only supermarket Ocado has been rated best for home delivery.

Premium supermarket Marks & Spencer (M&S) took second place in our supermarket rankings. Both Waitrose and M&S were praised for the quality of own-label and fresh produce in stores, something members voted as their top priority.

Asda – the UK’s third-largest supermarket – was rated worst for both its in-store and online offerings.

Best and worst supermarkets  see the full results in our guide

Supermarkets rated: full rankings

We surveyed more than 12,000 Which? members about their favourite supermarkets in November 2018. Supermarkets were rated on a range of attributes including store appearance, quality of produce and value for money.

You can see the full rankings in the table below. Overall customer score is based on how happy people were with their supermarket, and whether they would recommend it to a friend. Sample sizes for each supermarket are in brackets.

Store appearance Staff availability Quality of own-label products Quality of fresh produce Value for money Customer score
Waitrose (3,878) ***** ***** **** **** ** 76%
Marks & Spencer (2,818) ***** **** ***** ***** ** 71%
Aldi (3,233) * * * ** ***** 68%
Lidl (3,072) * * * ** ***** 66%
Morrisons (3,160) **** *** **** *** *** 64%
Sainsbury’s (4,330) **** *** ***** *** ** 63%
Tesco (4,273) *** *** **** ** ** 59%
Iceland (1,260) ** * ** ** **** 57%
Asda (2,601) ** ** *** ** *** 56%

For the full star ratings, including queuing time – and the full ratings for online supermarkets – see our supermarkets compared guide.

The best supermarkets

A great in-store experience and a wide range of quality products helped Waitrose secure its spot at the top.

  • Waitrose was the only shop to score five stars for the availability and helpfulness of staff in-store.
  • Customers were also impressed with the appearance of stores and queuing times.

Quality of food was key to rankings this year. 64% of those surveyed rated quality of fresh produce as the most important factor when choosing a supermarket. Both Waitrose and M&S impressed customers with excellent own-label and fresh produce. However, they fell down on value for money versus other stores.

German budget stores Aldi and Lidl were the only in-store supermarkets to score five stars for value for money, but customers felt they were making a trade-off between value and the in-store experience: both supermarkets scored just one star for store appearance, staff availability and the range of products.

Ocado rated best online supermarket, followed by Iceland

Online-only retailer Ocado pipped frozen-food specialist Iceland to the post in our online supermarket rankings.

  • Ocado was rated highly for availability of delivery slots and ease of finding products on the website.
  • The range of products was rated as excellent, and own-label and fresh produce quality were considered good too.

Second-place Iceland was the only online supermarket to get five stars for value, but customers were less impressed with the range of products available. This is unsurprising as Iceland specialises in frozen food, and otherwise only sells store cupboard essentials and a small selection of fresh products.

The worst supermarkets

Asda was left languishing at the bottom of both our in-store and online rankings with scores of 56% and 65% respectively.

  • Own-brand items and fresh products were rated poorly by in-store shoppers.
  • Online shoppers were unimpressed with the number and choice of substituted items.

The other big four supermarkets – Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco – delivered a better in-store shopping experience and range of products but all except Morrisons were in the bottom half of the in-store rankings, thanks to middling scores across the board.

Healthy food and an eco-friendly approach to packaging considered important to shoppers

We asked Which? members to rate the importance of ethical and health factors when shopping for food, and to rate each supermarket based on these factors.

Having a good range of healthy food came out on top, but ease of identifying sugar content and environmental packaging considerations weren’t far behind.

Shoppers see room for improvement on packaging

A massive 72% of those surveyed said that the availability of products without plastic packaging or with easily recycled packaging was an important consideration when choosing where to shop in-store, but just 27% felt that the current options are good or excellent – suggesting there is still a long way to go.

  • Waitrose and Morrisons were rated highest by their customers for availability of environmentally friendly packaging.
  • Waitrose was the only supermarket to score five stars for customers’ perceptions of ethical, environmental and health factors.
  • 70% of Waitrose customers found it easy to identify nutritional information on its products, and 66% said they could easily identify the country of origin.

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