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16 Jun 2022

Motatos discount supermarket launches: could it help cut your shopping bill?

New Aldi and Lidl rival offers the chance to save money on branded products and help the planet

Swedish discount store, Motatos, has launched in the UK, offering up to 60% off branded goods such as Cadbury, Heinz, Kellogg's, Nescafe and Walkers.

The online retailer sells well-known food, toiletries and household products at low prices that could rival the likes of Aldi and Lidl.

With the cost of groceries sky-rocketing in recent months, it might be music to your ears that you can shop branded products at a fraction of their normal price - but what products does Motatos sell and is there a catch to its generous discounts?

Here, Which? reveals all you need to know before shopping with Motatos.

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What is Motatos and why are its prices so cheap?

Festooned with peace signs and revolution slogans, Motatos' online store offers something a little bit different (and a lot more eco-friendly) than many other food retailers.

Founded in Sweden in 2013, Motatos wants to eradicate food waste. It saves products from food producers and wholesalers that would otherwise be thrown away due to overproduction, faulty packaging, seasonal trends, and short or sometimes passed best-before dates.

It claims it's then able to sell these items with significant discounts, typically between 20-60% cheaper than the product's normal price (not including local pricing, sales, or promotional prices).

'Because we save products and help our suppliers be more sustainable, we get the opportunity to buy our products at great prices. This means we can sell them to you with amazing discounts,' its website explains.

Simply put, shopping with Motatos means you could save money on many branded products while doing your bit to save the planet too.

What products and brands does Motatos sell?

Woman sitting on the floor at home, typing on her laptop

Motatos sells dry food, toiletries, and household products, including some pet and baby items. So it's unlikely you will be able to do your full big shop with the store as it doesn't sell fresh food.

It says it always strives to stock the most well-known brands on the market - but due to its business model, you might notice that its range changes frequently (almost daily, in fact) depending on the products that need saving from landfill.

At the time of writing, Motatos sold a broad range of household names such as Ariel, Cadbury, Heinz, Johnson's, Kellog's, Nescafe and Walkers. 

If you've had to cut back on branded products (which tend to be more expensive than supermarket-own ranges) due to the cost of living crisis, it's worth keeping an eye on Motatos' site to see if the brands you like come into stock.

How much could I save?

Which? took a snapshot look at some of the most popular branded food products sold on Motatos' site and compared their prices with other supermarkets that stocked the items on the same day. 

In the table below, we reveal how the prices compared. The table is organised alphabetically by product.

Branded productMotatos price*Price with other retailers*
Cadbury Dairy Milk Mint Buttons (110g)63p£1.25 at Tesco
Coca-Cola Cherry Zero Sugar (1.75L)£1.25£2 at Sainsbury's
Heinz Tomato Ketchup (570g)£1.50£1.99 at Asda
Nescafe Dolce Gusto Cappuccino Coffee Pods (16 capsules)£3.99£3.50 at Asda, Tesco and Waitrose
£4 at Morrisons
Red Bull (250ml)£1.05£1.35 at Asda
£1.40 at Morrisons
£1.40 at Waitrose
Robinsons Blackcurrant Double Strength (1l)£1.58£2 at Asda
£2 at Ocado
£2 at Sainsbury's
£2.25 at Tesco
Walkers Max Double Crunch BBQ Ribs (140g)63p£1.99 at Asda

*These prices are correct as of 13 June 2022 and may have changed since then.

And in the below table we look at some of the toiletries and household items Motatos had on its site at the time of writing.

Branded productMotatos price*Price with other retailers*
Aquafresh Toothpaste Intense Clean Lasting Fresh Single tube 75g£1.58£3 at Ocado
Finish Dishwasher Cleaner Original 250ml£2.50£4 at Morrisons
Johnson's Baby Shampoo Regular 300ml£1.60£1.99 at Superdrug
£2 at Boots
Paw Patrol Mini First Aid Kit 22pcs£1.75£2.50 at Ocado
Radox Handwash Antibac Replenishing 250ml£1.2689p at Asda

*These prices are correct as of 13 June 2022 and may have changed since then.

In most cases, Motatos offered the most competitive price, but we noticed that the Nescafe coffee pods and Radox handwash were sold cheaper at some supermarkets.

Tesco also told us that although the prices we've included are correct, its Clubcard prices, available to those who sign up for a Clubcard membership, were cheaper than Motatos'. And Boots said its customers benefit from its Boots Advantage Card Scheme, receiving eight Advantage Card Points per every £1 spent on baby products, including Johnson's baby shampoo.

But although products can occasionally be found cheaper elsewhere, shopping with Motatos comes with the added bonus of saving a product that would otherwise have needlessly been thrown out.

How to get the best value at Motatos

If there's a particular branded product you like that's sold on Motatos, it might be worth placing a bulk order to save money in the long-term if you can afford the cost upfront.

You'll notice that a lot of the listings advertise bulk savings for example 'buy 4 for £2.40'. If you add these items to your basket it will automatically add the bulk promotional offer, but you can edit your basket if you only want one unit.

Just be aware that there is a £20 minimum spend and delivery is £2.99 or free if you spend over £40.

Make sure to check you're happy with the best-before dates before buying as they might be shorter than you'd expect from a more traditional supermarket or food retailer. You can eat food past its best-before date, though its quality and taste might have deteriorated.

And look at the product's 'normal retail price', which Motatos estimates based on the price of the product in a medium-sized grocery store, to get an idea of how good the deal is. You can also do a quick shop around with other supermarkets to see if there are competitive promotional deals elsewhere.

Think carefully before paying with a BNPL scheme

Motatos allows you to pay with a debit or credit card but also has the option to pay in 30 days with 'buy now, pay later' scheme, Klarna.

Although this might be a handy way to avoid one big upfront payment, it's important to consider whether you can realistically afford to delay the payment and take on the debt.

Zilch, another BNPL provider, recently hit the headlines for encouraging people to spread the cost of groceries and takeaways over six weeks.

Leading debt advice charity, StepChange, told Which? that the use of pay later products for essential items is a 'worrying' development'.

Richard Lane, Director of External Affairs at StepChange explained: 'A common indicator of problem debt is a client borrowing to pay for essentials like food, so parts of the industry now promoting buy now, pay later credit for grocery shopping is worrying.'

If you're struggling with the price of food and drink at the moment, here are some tips on how to save money on food.

Four ways to reduce food waste at home

Motatos' mission to eradicate food waste is an important one. The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) estimates that 6.6m tonnes of food waste is thrown away by UK households each year, and almost 75% of this food could have been eaten.

If you want to do your bit to cut down on waste, here are some simple tips on how to do so:

  1. Use common sense with best before dates - while use-by dates are about safety (and are mostly found on meat, fish, and some ready-to-eat foods), best-before dates are about quality. There's no danger in eating foods past their best-before date, though they won't be in tip-top condition and there may be a deterioration in taste or nutritional quality.
  2. Pay attention to use-by dates - eating goods that are outside of their use-by date can mean ingesting harmful bacteria and developing food poisoning. If you're not going to be able to eat something before the use-by date - freeze it. Food can be safely frozen at any point up to the use-by date. Just make sure you only defrost it when you are ready to use it.
  3. Check your fridge temperature - turning down the temperature dial of your fridge can significantly extend the shelf-life of its contents. WRAP found that decreasing a fridge's temperature from nine degrees to  four degrees centigrade could make cucumbers last five days longer (25% of shelf life), double the life of broccoli, keep milk fresh for another 1.5 days and hard cheese almost another nine.
  4. Use food waste apps - there are a number of apps, like Too Good To Go, Olio and Karma, that try to re-home food that would otherwise go to waste. Watch our video to find out how they all work in practice and whether they're worth trying out.