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22 Feb 2020

Can you actually get a bargain with Sainsbury's Nectar Prices?

Our research has found that some deals are better at other times of the year

Sainsbury's new 'Nectar Prices' promotion, which launched earlier this month, gives Nectar cardholders discounts on 266 products until 3 March.

The discounts range from 5% to 50%, and have been rolled out across all stores and online.

But we've previously found that supermarket special offers aren't always as good as they seem - as with the Tesco 100 year anniversary deals and Sainsbury's price lockdown.

Here, we look at how the Nectar Prices deals stack up and whether they can actually save you money.

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Are the Nectar Prices deals any good?

To find out how good Sainsbury's Nectar Prices offers are, we used MySupermarket data to check the prices of products included in the promotion for the six months between October 2019 and February 2020.

When we compared the prices of 20 'most popular' items included in the Nectar Prices promotion, we found that six had previously been part of cheaper promotions.

Twix Soft Centres Biscuits (144g) are £1.25 for Nectar card holders, reduced from £2. But we found that you could buy them for just £1 during the three weeks before the Nectar Price promotion started.

Similarly, a pack of Princes Tuna Chunks in Sunflower Oil (4x145g) have a Nectar Price of £3.50, down from £5 - but cost just £3 in the three weeks before the start of the promotion. They also saw a reduction to £3.25 for three weeks during November 2019, and were £3.50 for three weeks from mid-December 2019.

A further six products had seen recent price increases in the weeks leading up to the promotion, and all of them were Sainsbury's own-brand products.

Sainsbury's butternut squash had been priced at £1 for three weeks from 6 January 2020, yet the price was increased to £1.50 at the end of the month. The Nectar Price promotion sees it return to £1.

Sainsbury's spring onions (100g) had been 55p for 10 weeks up until the end of December, when the price was increased to 60p. The current Nectar Price of 50p may be a 17% reduction on the current price, but is just 9% less than the price many had seen towards the close of 2019.

While Sainsbury's doesn't claim that these are the cheapest prices it's ever offered, some loyal Nectar card holders might hope they would get more of a bargain than those available to all customers at other times of the year.

Biggest savings

There were still some good deals to be had.

The Deliciously Ella Cacao & Almond Oat Bars (3x50g), reduced to £2, have no history of recent promotions - and were by far the cheapest price of the limited number of supermarkets that stock them. Both Ocado and Waitrose currently have these in stock for £2.55.

Percentage wise, Nectar card holders can save 50% on a pack of Hippeas Organic Chickpea Puffs (in Salt & Vinegar Vibes and Sweet & Smokin', 78g), which have been reduced from £2 to £1. However, the data also showed that they had been available for this price during the six weeks before the promotion.

In terms of the biggest monetary savings, the Nectar Price for a bottle of Woodford Reserve Bourbon Whiskey (700ml) is £9 cheaper than usual, at £23 down from £32. However, we did find it listed in Tesco for just £20.

Alcohol pricing and promotions in Sainsbury's stores in Scotland and Wales may be different from the prices here, and prices at Sainsbury's Local stores may also vary.

Who can get Nectar Prices?

The Nectar Prices promotions are available to anyone with a Nectar Card - you simply need to swipe your card or app at the checkout or make sure your card is applied to your online account. It's at this point that the prices will be reduced.

The offer can't be applied retrospectively, so you must have your Nectar card or app with you at the time.

The full list of all 266 items can be found on the Nectar app and on Sainsbury's website.

Sainsbury's pricing

Sainsbury's targeted shoppers with a series of sales throughout 2019, including a 'lockdown' price promotion in September, so it's no surprise to see that some products have been on offer multiple times between October and February.

But it does show that there's no need to rush into buying something you don't need just because it's on offer; our research shows that it's likely to be discounted again before too long.

Equally, there's nothing to lose by taking advantage of some Nectar Prices savings - it's free to get a Nectar card, and you'll earn Nectar points on all your Sainsbury's spending.

This kind of promotion is not restricted to Sainsbury's; Tesco ran a similar discount promotion during most of last month, reducing the prices of around 290 items by between 10% and 50%.

What is the best supermarket of 2020?

The annual Which? supermarket survey has revealed that, according to the 14,049 Which? members who voted, Waitrose is the best supermarket of 2020 - and Ocado is top for online grocery shopping.

Customers rated the high standards of both brands' food and drink, their first-class customer service and attention to detail.

Aldi and Lidl came third and fourth, respectively; despite low scores on appearance, their value for money was rated highly enough to make them beat the big four - Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco.

You can see the full results in our guide on the best and worst supermarkets.