/ Food & Drink, Shopping

Are you loyal to your supermarket?

Snake with apple illustration

Many supermarkets engage in fierce battles to win customers over with the best deals. Are you loyal to your supermarket, or would you switch at the prospect of a truly tempting offer?

I understand the lure of the big, brightly coloured special offer signs. When I’m doing my weekly shop, it’s very difficult not to be drawn towards ‘buy one, get one free’ promotions and ‘3 for 2’ deals. I used to do a lot of my shopping based on what was on offer that week, but I soon found that I was still spending too much money and ending up with products I didn’t really need.

Buy one get one free supermarket deals

So I’ve tried to be more disciplined recently, writing a list, actually bringing it with me and then doing my best to stick to it. It’s not always easy, but I find that I’m now wasting less food and the cost of my weekly shop is fairly predictable. I shop at the same supermarket each week, so I know what’s available and roughly how much I will need to spend.

I’ve become pretty hardy to promotions, but there’s one special offer that I can never resist. Those extravagant ‘Dine in for £x’ deals. Oh, how they tempt me. When I hear that a local supermarket has a dinner for two deal, I forget all my good intentions and my loyalty. It’s as if the box of chocolates (or more often, the bottle of wine, as there are hardly ever any chocolates left) is luring me with its siren call.

It would appear that I’m not alone in my weakness for a good deal. A recent report has found that 94% of UK consumers would ditch their regular supermarket if better deals were available elsewhere.

Worrying about the cost of food

So many of us are looking to save money, and food shopping can make up a significant dent in the household budget. Our latest research has found that more than four in 10 people are cutting back their spending on food this month, and with food prices in the nation’s top three worries, it’s no surprise we’re taking this action.

There is plenty of competition between the supermarkets as it is, with a seemingly never-ending battle to prove who is the best at saving you money. But could there be room for one more?

Stelious plans no-frills EasyFood

Sir Stelious Haji-Ioannou, the founder of EasyJet, has announced his plans to create a low-cost supermarket called EasyFoodstore. Pitched in the price niche below Aldi and Lidl, a truly no-frills supermarket could really shake up the market.

I’m intrigued to see what the EasyFoodstores will be like, so I’ll probably check out the first branch when it opens in South London. If the prices are really low, I might even throw caution to the wind and not bring a shopping list!

Do you consider yourself loyal to your regular supermarket? If you heard about a better deal elsewhere, would you swap supermarkets or is quality more important to you than price?


We rate food quality important in our choice of supermarket, and we stick with the same one, taking advantage of offers that are useful to us – including £10 meal deals which are genuinely good value if you like wine! So for food, we would not switch for cheapness. However, in doing a weekly shop, we do sometimes buy more than is necessary, generally if catering for a party or expected family visits.
Our daughters are better in this respect – they shop online and tell us that by watching their basket total as they shop, and editing it to remove unecessary items, they are much better able to keep within their budget and only buy what they need. The downside with one supermarket is short sell-buy dates, whereas another delivers the dates you would select yourself.

I’m only loyal to Tesco as its 0.77 miles away, I’ll sometimes use Sainsbury (2.4) but the nearest lidl is 7 + , ASDA 8 and Aldi 11+ miles away, so they’re not really viable. Although I do sometimes buy online from ASDA (when they have the right offers)

But before I go shopping I usually try to check out what I’m hoping to buy from mysupermarket dot com just to make sure I go to the cheapest, or wait until its back on offer at Tesco/Sainsbury.

But when checking prices online, just remember that not all online offers are available in store (as confirmed by ASDA, Tesco and Sainsburys) and price changes typically occur the day before online to correspond with the next possible delivery date.

richard says:
8 August 2013

I shop on line – fast – convenient and cheap – But prefer Sainsburys food – So I shop Sainsburys on-line reliable delivery service – but I would like the stock to be more automatically up dated.- it is annoying to order something which is in stock when I order and yet find it out of stock when they deliver next day.

When you have dietary needs, you don’t have loyalty to any one supermarket.
Take milk for example, 1 litre of milk alternative is around 3 times the price of normal milk and when 2 people in the household drink the alternative it gets expensive, so I usually shop where it is on offer and stock up.

If Tesco read this, why do I not get any benefit from your loyalty card? Why do the vouchers have an expiry date?
I have to go out of my way to go to a Tesco store so don’t go that often so any vouchers that I have are usually useless. I have earned them haven’t I?

We have to go 25 miles to a reasonable supermarket, and naturally we’re outside their delivery area for on-line shopping. In any case we shop in the reduced for quick sale section, which isn’t available on-line. By combining trips with our daughter, and other things that need to be done in town, and only going every couple of weeks, it’s worth while. And we trade our Tesco vouchers in for deals such as hotel vouchers or restaurant vouchers, which is a lot more worthwhile. All in all we manage to squeeze our money out a long way, just as well as we are retired.

I don’t know if ‘loyal’ is the word I’d use about my supermarket. I won’t hesitate to pop in to the nearest one if I need some bits and bobs, but I definitely have my favourites. The supermarket I’ve settled on has been chosen based on:

Price: On the mid-to-cheaper range of the spectrum.
Proximity: Within a ten minute drive – reasonable enough.
Size: It’s enormous. This makes it easy enough to navigate without constantly bumping into people.
Range: Being so large, it has lots of different ranges. I can get almost everything I ever need here.
Food quality: The food here definitely isn’t the best, but it’s still a lot better than the worst. For meat and everyday essentials, it’s absolutely fine.

We’ll often go to a different supermarket if we know they have a particularly good offer on bigger-ticket items we buy a lot of (like cat food, for example), but I will go out of my way to travel to my preferred supermarket where possible.

On the dine for £10 offers – they don’t do it for me at all! I don’t drink wine, and I can knock up a tasty, hearty meal for a fiver with no problems.

We can hear the high street rattling in its coffin.

Paul Banks says:
9 August 2013

Isn’t there the need for a website that will publish special offers on all supermarkets so one can buy just these attractive items that appeal then go to other supermarkets for their “bargains”?

I live in a town that has all the major supermarkets within a short distance from each other. this idea would work well for me as there would be minimum hassle to buy these promotional items for each supermarket.

There is, it’s called mysupermarket dot co cot uk

Paul Banks says:
9 August 2013

Thanks for your comment, but I didn’t mean a website that shows all the supermarkets and then you select just the one to shop from, and then have to go through all items looking for a bargain. This is time consuming.

I meant to have a website that would just show all the special offers from all the supermarkets. For instance a couple of weeks ago, Tesco were doing Bavaria non-alcholic six-pack for £2:00 – that’s 33p each! Around the same time they were doing packs of their own brand low fat cereal (indistinguishable from Special K) for £1:00 a box! Other supermarkets have great offers from time to time.

It would be great if there was one website that could email you about daily, weekly promotions of ALL supermarkets.

As I said, where I live I am near lost of supermarkets. It would be no hardship for me to call into various supermarkets just to buy certain promotional items.

The supermarkets would not like this Paul! The whole point about special offers is to get you to do all your shopping in the one store, not to do you a price-saving favour. However, to beat them at that ploy by collecting all special offers under one site would be a service to those shoppers who would take the trouble to look! Lets hope no one would pour cold water on the idea just because everybody could not benefit – as seems to happen whenever the internet is proposed as a way to get the best deals.

supermarketspecialoffers dot com ??

comparesupermarketprices dot co dot uk ??

With mysupermarket you can go thru selecting individual items and click add watch. The website will then email you whenever one of your items has a price change, which is typically when its on offer.

I am getting increasingly fed up with the major supermarkets with fruit or veg. offers e.g one pack of beetroot for £1.50 or buy two for £2 . With only two of us in the family we cannot eat two packs of beetroot before it goes stale and yet supermarkets continue to ‘tempt’ customers with such offers – this way more food is thrown away and wasted. Aldi and Lidl do not have such offers and sell items individually. I think Which should begin a campaign against the major supermarkets to stop this practice.

Paula says:
10 August 2013

I swap supermarkets all the time and wherever possible buy whats on offer I don’t like the poor quality of Asda though but if my preferred brand is on offer I will stock up The cost of food has gone up so much I don’t feel I can do anything else My favourite supermarkets are Waitrose and Marks and although they are know as pricey I find their offers very good.

I tend to shop on line at Waitrose most weeks because we are so far from the supermarkets and they deliver free, as well as providing good quality food and excellent service. I have been trying Sainsburys recently because of a series of £6 off shopping and 10p off fuel vouchers. This is fine but I think that with the time taken to drive there and back and the cost of the journey the savings are not as significant as they seem. I also find that by sticking to a list and shopping on line I am less tempted by things I do not actually need.

barry says:
11 August 2013

Sainsburys used to be my regular online supermarket..they have a 12 item restriction on all purchases..the customer has to give 7 days notice to purchase 12 or more of any item..when i contacted them back in February of this year..it was stated that it was to enable them to make sure the items were available..i stated that it was possible to miss the Special Offer on an item..for eg Wine..i have not given them an order since being told of this restriction..i contacted Tesco..there are no restrictions at Tesco..so i use Tesco..Sainsburys say..if this restriction is altered..there willl be an announcement in the National newspapers..so i am waiting prior to ordering anything else..it could be a long wait.

Paid a visit to my local ASDA store today where I was greeted by an ASDA employee handing out forms so that I could buy a food item and then place it in a box near the store exit. The item would then be sent to a local food bank which is where I have a problem.
I need to be reassured that ASDA is also contributing (with the company being part of Wal-Mart and one of the largest companies in the world) by donating the produce they would otherwise place in the dumpsters at the end of the day. We all know that there’s no problem eating this food and I’m sure so called “desperate” people wouldn’t turn their noses up at being given it for free.
I’m getting fed up hearing tales about ineligible people turning up at these food banks and filling up their cars with food because the volunteers handing out the stuff can’t be bothered checking benefit forms.
I’m going to ALDI from now on where you don’t get hassled.

I do my main shopping from Sainsbury’s simply because of the Fast Track system, I can usually get through the payment phase very rapidly – unless I happen to be selected for a re-scan, of course!

What annoys me most about all supermarkets is the prevalence of BOGOF deals on food. As a singleton I can rarely take advantage of them and is grieves me to pay for a singe pack knowing that thereby I’m subsidising those who can take advantage. I would much prefer the idea of BOAGIFHP (buy one and get it for half price).

You may like an epetition I’m currently waiting for approval on then 🙂

Here’s one a prepared earlier …


May be off topic, but looking at the Best and Worst Supermarkets reported in August, based on the price of a basket of 97 branded goods (many of which you would not buy in a single shopping expedition), I wonder just how helpful this is? What would perhaps be more helpful would be to also give the price for a similar basket but made up of own brands, and perhaps more important, a basket representing a real week’s shopping for a family of four – based on branded and own brand products?
It might also be interesting to show the 97 brands basket when the individual items were purchased from the cheapest source – see if there is much cross-subsidy.

I have changed my shopping habits over the last 12 months after advice from Which and other sources. I shopped at Morrisons and became alarmed at the rising cost of my shopping bill. I have no loyalty to any supermarket and shop to save money (Caveat: lucky to have several choices within a 5 mile radius) I have saved circa £2,500 to £3,000 PA and spent the money on weekend breaks to Rome and Amsterdam(you could treble this saving by paying extra off your mortgage or paying down large debtors ie store cards/credit cards etc. Treat yourself with everything you save and it will put some vigour into your efforts. Also the savings made equate to more than I earn as an hourly rate so its well worth spending a hour planning and an hour executing each week. One trick I picked up is to look at the cost over a year for regular purchases and this helped to analyse where I could save either by buying bulk, trading down a brand, buying on offer and storing, buying from an alternative source wholesale/independent shop. I did this by brand and arrived at the savings. Let me give one example. We have 3 cats and they eat treats which have now crept up to £1.34 off prom and £0.99p on promotion. I visit a the local 99p shop and pick them up before I go to a main supermarket…Saving £50 PA on one item. Make a list and see the difference Visit Aldi, Home bargains, 99p shop and then the supermarket ( look at my supermarket to compare your list. It may pay to have stuff delivered FOC and take the pain out of shopping. I have a staff discount card of 10% for one of the main supermarkets and have reduced my spend in there by 70% despite the 10% which shows how much better the deals are if you spend an hour per week looking for them. This allows me to spend money on the good stuff in life and I like to buy memories rather than fuel the coffers of our greedy retailers….Give it a try

Tony says:
12 May 2014

I’m probably the worst example of a wise shopper – having moved to Swansea more than 50 years ago, I’ve shopped at Sainsbury’s supermarket, conveniently in the city, ever since; in fact, I can remember as a child in Croydon accompanying my mother to Sainsbury’s – then, of course,
a conventional shop – so maybe it’s become a family tradition. Now and then, I may visit Tesco
for some specific purpose and I don’t think I’m losing out.