Tesco vs. Asda – who will win the price war?

by , Principal Home Researcher Consumer Rights 1 March 2011
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In what is perhaps a predictable move, Tesco has now launched its own price promise – to be cheaper than Asda or get ‘double the difference’ back. But will it clinch victory for Tesco in the supermarket price war?

Tesco price check logo

So, Tesco has done it. No, it hasn’t launched stores in space, or created its own boyband (although that’s got to be around the corner). It has launched its own price promise to square up against Asda in the latest round of the supermarket price war.

To be fair, we all saw this coming didn’t we? Tesco (among others) has been critical of Asda’s price guarantee – saying that consumers are being misled and that too many products are excluded in the comparison. (I don’t entirely disagree with the last point).

How does Tesco’s guarantee work?

The process looks simple. Buy your shopping at Tesco, log on to Tesco’s Price Check – its own online comparison – and within 36 hours, you’ll be sent a voucher for ‘double the difference’ if Asda turns out to be cheaper.

If not, you’ll be reassured that you’re shopping at the cheapest of the two supermarkets.

But I still have questions. Firstly, why just Asda? Tesco says it wants to keep things simple and only compare against one other supermarket, but why not put its money where your wallet is and refund if another supermarket is cheaper?

While it might be fruitless to try and claim that Tesco is more expensive than Waitrose, for example, is the supermarket giant so sure that it’s the cheapest of them all?

Tesco isn’t truly independent

And unlike the Asda guarantee, which is powered by grocery comparison site MySupermarket, Tesco uses its own Price Check. Not necessarily a bad thing – but it obviously isn’t ‘independent’ in the true sense. Will this prompt a wave of criticism from rivals? Time will tell.

The Price Check promises to exclude only on the basis of significant differences in quality and size – we’ll test it out to see what this means in practice, but in the meantime, do let us know if you’ve had a go.

The good news is that it also compares multi-buy or price-cut special offers on individual products. So if your Tetley tea bags are on promotion at Asda, Tesco will still use it in its comparison.

Tempted by new Tesco price promise?

We know that despite not coming out on top in the recent Which? supermarket survey, more of our members shop at Tesco than anywhere else. Will this new price promise cement loyalty or tempt in new shoppers? I’m not 100% sure.

Don’t get me wrong – on paper these initiatives to lower prices will go some way towards benefitting shoppers. But to me it does seem that the focus is on outdoing each other rather than providing the best all-round service. Price alone doesn’t determine where we shop.

40 comments

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Dean

Agreed that price alone doesn’t determine where we shop, most large tesco stores are not pleasant places to be (at least the one in Rugby)

Where I live, Sainsburys has just been refurbished, Asda has just been built, Tesco is still cramped and dirty.

The only thing that would make me choose Tesco is if Terry Leahy decides to invest some of his masses of capital into Everton Football Club :-D

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wavechange

My local supermarket is dirty too. (I’ve removed the name because we are not allowed to post defamatory comments!) I got escorted off the premises for taking a few photos to send to Environmental Health. EH declined to take action because the store manager said that the store would soon be replaced. The planning application was rejected a couple of years ago.

Having seen green mould, grey mould and rusty slime just below food shelves (when chillers have been dismantled for maintenance) I’m reluctant to buy anything that is not pre-packaged.

The only reason I still shop in there is that is much nearer than the alternatives.

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richard

I do not shop in either Tesco or Asda – I prefer Sainsburys food – and Morrisons seems to be better for fresh meat and fish. Both being within 100 yards of each other.

My visits to Tesco and Asda have been fraught and stressful – so I don’t go. The marginal savings are not worth the effort.

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John Ward

I go along with Dean and Richard on this. It’s a bit of an irrelevance to many people if Tesco and Asda want to fight it out in the bargain basement. We have a Tesco within five minutes’ drive but it’s not a pleasant place to shop even for a fairly new store. The nearest Asda is 30 miles away and obviously one wouldn’t go there to save pennies. Morrisons is a little closer than Tesco – prices bear fair comparison with Tesco and the shopping environment and content are superior. But best of all is our nearest store The Cooperative, which since the conversion from Somerfield has become a brilliant supermarket with trustworthy good-value own-label products, excellent fresh meat, fruit & veg, and produce, and many price offers that match or beat Tesco’s. But best of all, you can walk around, fill your trolley with the items you choose, and [after checkout where you bag the items up as you want them to arrive] have a friendly member of staff bring the goods round to your home in your chosen two-hour time window. No more struggling with trolleys across a windswept car park, loading the car, cracking the eggs, and melting the ice-cream. And no need to waste time on the internet and leave the choice of goods and packing to a person with no knowledge or interest in the operation. So we no longer need to take the car, saving fuel, stress and parking problems. Recent Which? surveys have not rated The Cooperative particularly highly but they have come on a long way since acquiring Somerfield. The Cooperative’s range of goods is more limited than the major supermarkets’, reflecting the smaller store sizes, but on quality and price they are a good match for Sainsbury, certainly closer to Waitrose than Tesco on presentation, ‘honesty’ and ethical sourcing, and slightly better than Morrison on selling UK produce. Moreover, by selling everything from dolls’ eyes to fly-papers, Tesco have destroyed the independent shops of our town so many people avoid the shop on principle. As they teach them in the checkout charm schools – “Hi there! Yorrigh-ght? Howya-dooin? Wanna bag? Gotta clubcard?” Priceless!!

I tend to shop at the nearest supermarket to where ever I am when I need to shop. I don’t buy into the whole price offers, they’ve been exposed as a joke.

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Buyer

Am I reading the offer right double the difference if you shop wisely this could mean serious savings…

Surf Powder Tropical 50 Wash 4kg – 10.21 at Tesco…£7 at Asda…difference of £3.21…so they give me back £6.42?

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Stizy

I seriously doubt that very much “Buyer” I should think there will be a group of items matched and the difference calculated like that. There is likely to be some opt out to stop that happening.
On the ASDA one they take “selected” items to match against each of the other large supermarkets, not necessarilythe same items for each, and it is quite complicated to calculate, but so far I had had vouchers for pence up to a couple of pounds. Also the ASDA one is instant as they go through the moneysupermarket route, whereas the tesco one asks for your email and they will contact you anything up to 36 hours. Not quite so efficient.

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Buyer

It is in fact a good offer…I brought the following:

Hovis Medium Sliced Soft White Bread £2.30 for 2 at Tesco and £1.5 for 2 at Asda
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes (500g) £1.98 at Tesco and £1 at Asda
Snickers Bar (5x58f) £1.73 at Tesco and £1 at Asda
Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausages (6 per pack – 300g £1.83 at Tesco and £1 at Asda

difference of £3.34 and got a £6.68 voucher…

With the voucher I then brought things on offer

So if you are clever you can make some nice savings…

That’s very good to see Buyer. I’ve tried it with a £40 Asda receipt and all I got was a 60p voucher. I shall now try these two Tesco receipts. However, did you carefully research everything you were buying before hand? If so, did you actually want those products?

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wavechange

Clearly it is possible to make a few pounds, but I doubt that many will have the patience to do this on a regular basis.

I have a friend who used to deliberately shop when fresh goods when fresh goods were heavily discounted. Some of the items had special offers which still applied, so she was actually paid to take the goods away. Great fun to start with, but I think she got bored doing this. I’m sure the supermarkets knew this was going on because I’ve read about others playing the same game.

Most of don’t have the time or inclination to make money out of supermarkets so Tesco’s price promise will be a calculated risk, and might make little difference to their profits.

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Buyer

It only really works if you do some research…I did want those products…but have seem other people on another site buying all sorts just for the sake of it! It is worth checking out
http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=3064830

It does show more details of people showing t

Your right its all out being bothered to do it…most people won’t be bothered and so Tesco wont be affected much…at the end of the day…you get a voucher to spend at Tesco…so Tesco still get your money!

Good news that some people are benefitting from this – and impressive research Buyer! I think it does really pay to only buy what you need as otherwise anything you ‘save’ on an offer could be inconsequential – but then that is common-sense I suppose.

Incidentally, if anyone else has had a try with either the Tesco or Asda price guarantee, we’d love to hear from you!

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Whichwitch

Consumers can do well out of this; buy products that appear to have inflated prices ready to be “half price” 28 days later, and get double the overcharge back – with luck big supermarkets will stop inflating and resort to proper half price offers, or stable, realistic prices over 52 weeks
One wine was over double Asda’s price so gave a refund of more than the purchase price; it is now “half price”

I was very excited to type in three of my Tesco receipts, all around 20 pounds, only to find out that Tesco Express stores are not included!

“Only Tesco Extra, Superstore and Metro formats are included. Products purchased in an Express, Petrol Filling Station or Homeplus store are not included in the Tesco Price Check.”

There are three Tesco’s near me, all are Express stores. I’m very disappointed.

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Shirley

Its such a pity that despite all Tesco’s media hype ‘We will double the difference if anything is dearer than Asda’ their Pricechecker isn’t working, you only have the option to lodge your receipt. Items that are definitely cheaper in Asda that Asda sell ie Mars Bars are coming back on their comparison as ‘not found’. Seems to me Tesco are not abiding by their own rules.

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Andrew Maddison

When is a price check not a price check? When it’s a Tesco price check!

Bought some 8 packs of both Coca Cola “regular” and Coke Zero from Tesco yesterday – the Coke Zero comes back as being cheaper at Asda (2 for £4.00 offer at Asda rather than 2 for £6.50 at Tesco)… and yet the regular Coca Cola doesn’t match. Both are included in their offer in store and on both websites.

The first customer services person I spoke to on the phone just said that they “only price check 1000 items and it says that on the Price Check website” so I checked and it says *all* comparable items are checked. So the second person I spoke to on the phone is supposedly looking into it but it looks like Tesco just want some headlines and then aren’t prepared to back it up.

If they haven’t fixed the problem soon then I think I may be talking to Consumer Direct (if they still exist, or Trading Standards if they don’t) – it may be a promotion or an offer but they aren’t doing what they say they are doing and they have now been made aware of the fault! Unfortunately the only way of checking if they’ve fixed the problem is to go back to the store and buy more Coca Cola and see if it will price check or not.

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K

As of today, Tesco seem to have limited the amount you can claim back to £20, no matter the size of your shop!

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Jasmine

My sister took advantage of the supposed present Tesco offer and received a £45 voucher…however, when she went to spend it, they insinuated that she had faked the voucher, saying that it wasn’t valid, then took the voucher as well as her original receipt!! Absolutely outrageous. If you are going to run an offer, then all stores need to be aware of it and adhere to it :(

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Shirley

This whole Tesco double the difference promotion has been a shambles from day one!
As the previous poster mentioned, everyday items are not being price matched. What bigger brand is there than Coca Cola? Tesco have not kept to their own rules about this. Add to this farce, the fact that 99% of their staff seem to know nothing of this promotion or what to do with the dtd vouchers. This has led to their ‘valuable customers’ being accused of fraudulently printing vouchers, suffered embarassing scenes with till staff who are ignorant of what to do with the vouchers, people being asked to produce their Asda bill to prove the goods are cheaper there. The list go’s on and on.
For such a huge company this has done nothing to assure customer confidence. Its proved one thing to me…..Asda are much much cheaper!

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Adeva321

I have just inserted my receipt no. into the Tesco price check less than an our ago so will let you know how much i get back, if any. Unfortunately the receipt no. i inserted was only for £12.39, i then realised that I had another receipt for £43.95 which i also wanted to claim for but thought ”let me read the terms and conditions first”. which says “Only one Price Check Voucher may be redeemed per household per day” so i have to wait till tomorrow to make the 2nd receipt claim and then another 36hours to get a result.

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Adeva321

I know its now 2weeks later than I vowed to publish the comparison difference. In fairness to tesco. They got back to me within 24hrs to be precise. Unfortunately on both occasions Tesco claimed that they were cheaper than Asda’s. On the first receipt they claimed to be 0. 23p cheaper and on the second receipt they claimed to be £1.51p cheaper than Asda. For some weird reason I don’t believe tesco, I feel that they have just made it up and there is no way for us the buyer to check necessarily. Also from my second receipt, they omitted to check shopping items worth almost £20 stating N/A meaning these items were not available for comparison with Asda on the day I shop. All in all I will continie to compare my receipt but I am not convinced Tesco is as cheap as they claim and I am not too bothered to change to Asda. I do enjoy collecting my points and getting money off shopping vouchers(£7-£12) in the post, that I can trust!

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Ste Fenney

I purchased 2 x bottles of Wolf ***** Cab/Sauv @£9.49 a bottle from Tesco. Asda price was £5 a bottle, so I was given a voucher for double the difference = £17.96. The wine actually cost me 51p per bottle. I then used the voucher plus £1.52 to purchase another 2 bottles of the same wine. I submitted my receipt and obtained another voucher for DTD. Could this be a never ending story !
First time at the checkout was ok, second time, she didnt want to accept it without a clubcard and wouldn’t give me my original receipt back. As mentioned above, Tesco artificially boost a price so that they can drop it and advertise it as a half price offer. These are the products that should be catching your eyes !

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P Don

It seems ASDA are cheaper otherwise they would have carried on iy as great while it lasted though.
I bought Finish Dishwasher Tabs 96 Tesco 12.98 Asda 5 they actually paid you 2.98 to take them from them.
Like I said great while it lasted.

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Dane

Bit of a shame really. Just shows the level of trust we can have in this once great British retailer. To trumpet they are cheaper than Asda and then reduce the claim guarantee to this today is a very poor do. The Yorkshire based Asda has clearly won the battle and Asda Price has won through.

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Whichwitch

Tesco’s press releases say that savvy shoppers targeted that were on short term promotion at Asda whereas many actually targeted items which Tesco had inflated ahead of a “reduction” to half price or multibuy – they even identified what these items were by looking up what would be on offer at Tesco the next week

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Muskrat

We shop at Asda (not a large superstore) as it is closet and they are friendlier than our Tesco store staff. Also your shopping does not have to be cheaper than the other supermarkets to get a voucher. Our recent shop was cheapest at Asda but still got a voucher for £1.26. We only but the items we need. And I agree at least Asda use an independant and compares to 4 other supermarkets.

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kalyan

I think ~Tesco is better than Asda…
I’ve shopped in Tesco for 3 years and have been shopping in Asda for about year now..
many times, I’ve been disappointed with stuff that i brought from Asda.. damaged stuff… or missing bits..eg: 1 plate missing from a dinner set…
a accessory missing of a vacuum cleaner and when i spoke to their customer service agents, I was not spoken to courteously…not the proper level of customer service that you’d expect from a big supermarket..
yes,, asda is cheaper than tesco..but Quality wise ??? Tesco are way over head…
I’ve taken stuff back to tesco.. and i’ve been given a refund …no questions asked.. or when i called them.. i’ve been spoken to nicely.
not with asda though…
so Asda is want cheaper stuff…. but Tesco if you want a bit of quality..

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Sophie Gilbert

I will not waste petrol and time to travel to the other side of town to go to Asda when it is convenient for me to go to Tesco nearby. If or when I move to the other side of town, it will be the other way round.

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Gary

I prefer to shop at ASDA as prices are cheaper than TESCO.

Also I think TESCO offers are usually a con, they put up prices then
reduce them to seem like you are getting item cheaper.

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Kay Burns-Hearne

I must be one of the lucky ones as the Tesco i use in Hanley, Stoke on Trent is very good, it is an extra store and for that reason it is enourmous but the staff are always pleasent and pollite and the store is always clean. I don’t like Asda because many of their own lable goods just don’t pass the taste test in my house, any money to be saved on branded goods is lost by the amount spent getting there,so when i find that Tesco own brand items are as good as name brands and i get a club point for every £1 i spend that is good enough for me, the fact is loyalty is important even if we are only talking about a supermarket.

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Buyer

I compared 5 Tesco receipts and on all occasions only half of the receipt was price compared with Asda, Tesco’s own and other brands i have been emailing Tesco for weeks and am still awaiting reply.

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Buyer

I compared 5 Tesco receipts and on all occasions only half of the receipt was price compared with Asda, Tesco’s own and other brands i have been emailing Tesco for weeks and am still awaiting reply. Wish me luck

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julie

went to TESCO other day, early about 6.30 am,
it was full of trollys waiting to be loaded on shelves, very few staff around to unload items, the staff i saw stank of B.O, bum cracks on show, very little to buy, boxes and rubbish all over the place, i only got half of my list , and not only that , only 1 till open ! some woman moaning about TESCO price increases !have to say i thought it was expensive, so i put in the receipt to compare to my usual ASDA, aparently they were 6 pounds cheaper, but they only priced the few things half the receipt didnt count, ASDA im sticking to you , VERY VERY UNHAPPY EX TESCO SHOPPER

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Auction Goods

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Trevor Bailey

Tesco price promise is a waste of time. Went to my local Tesco three nights ago.Bought bottle Echo Falls wine. Cost £4.99 and sign in Tesco said Asdas price was £5. Had to go to Asda later that same night and found Echo falls at Asda was in fact £4. Also next day found it available at Iceland and Savers at £3.99.. Went through the routine of the Tesco promise online but because I had only bought 5 items (not 8 as specified in the price promise small prin)t I got nothing back.

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Max

I dont really care much about the price because its all swings and roundabouts. Asda is a far superior store from the moment you enter to the moment you leave. Tesco has lost the plot and with a company like Wallmart on their backs its not going to be an easy ride over the next few years.

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shopping

Wow, amazing weblog format! How long have you been blogging for? you made running a blog glance easy. The total look of your site is wonderful, let alone the content!

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dundee shopper

I notice that Asda says “on wednesday asda were cheaper ” so does this mean its only a wednesday thay are cheaper . I work for the Largest supermarket chain and its like being in the army we all have to sign a confidentiality clause banning us from speaking about anything even on facebook and i mean anything so i can lose my job by typing this. Asda and Tesco should be banned from putting ads on tv boasting who is cheapest as its never long before the prices are switched ,also why dont asda show you the exact products that they say are cheaper as asda could only be 1p cheaper per product , also asda dont give there customers anything back ie Clubcard loyalty points which can add up.

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David Harvey

Quote: ‘Price alone doesn’t determine where we shop’

What planet do you live on mate? On my income Price is everything!

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Steve

Have just tried Tesco and you wouldn’t think they are part of a price war, the quality of the vegetables is lower than Morrisons and the only way to make any sort of savings is to buy the deals only, where you have to buy 3 or more of the same item. For me Asda is ahead of the competition.

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