/ Food & Drink, Shopping

Rising prices – do supermarkets give value for money?

A shopping trolley in a supermarket aisle

The cost of your weekly food shop is going up, so now is a good time to find the best-value supermarket. Our survey results show that quality products and good customer service can be just as important as price.

The price of food is currently a major worry for many consumers, with three quarters of UK adults in our monthly poll naming it as a concern. Latest government statistics show that food prices have risen by 4.5% in the past year, much faster than wages.

And that seems to be influencing what you buy. Our supermarkets survey took a peek inside the shopping bags of more than 11,000 Which? members and discovered that the ranges that are becoming more popular are mostly from ‘discount’ stores Aldi and Lidl, or from value ranges at other supermarkets.

Four in 10 Aldi shoppers are buying more own-brand products in the last six months than they did a year ago. The Waitrose Essentials and Morrisons Value ranges have also become more popular. Meanwhile, shoppers are tending to buy less from Tesco’s Finest range.

Balancing your food budget

When it comes to the best performers, Waitrose topped our survey with a satisfaction score of 82%. Customers awarded it five stars for customer service and fresh produce quality, as you might expect for a supermarket that has a reputation built on high standards.

At the other end of the scale, Tesco scored just 45%. Its customers awarded it low marks across all criteria, including pricing. Tesco is often perceived to be a supermarket that competes on price, but it looks like the customers are looking for more than just a bargain.

Even though food prices are creeping upwards, it appears shoppers take more than price into consideration when shopping for their groceries.

Shopping in cyberspace

We also asked customers to share their views on the supermarkets’ online shopping websites and delivery services. Doing your weekly shop online is growing in popularity thanks to the extra convenience and time savings.

Now, Tesco had a better score for its online shopping service, mainly thanks to the helpfulness of their drivers. Sainsbury’s scored well for online shopping deliveries, with five stars for their driver service and four stars for pricing.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the top score went to the online delivery specialists. Ocado scored highly across all criteria apart from substitutions. With a quality service and competitive pricing, Ocado have set the bar high for the supermarkets to follow.

Which supermarket do you think gives you the best value?

Aldi (25%, 572 Votes)

Lidl (14%, 309 Votes)

Asda (13%, 292 Votes)

Waitrose (12%, 279 Votes)

Morrisons (10%, 230 Votes)

Sainsburys (9%, 199 Votes)

Tesco (6%, 139 Votes)

I don't know (5%, 112 Votes)

Marks & Spencer (3%, 67 Votes)

The Co-operative (1%, 31 Votes)

I don't shop at supermarkets (1%, 21 Votes)

Total Voters: 2,253

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Swampy3512 says:
17 August 2013

I really think it’s time I commented needed some chicken thighs yesterday so drooped into nearest store i was passing (Tesco’s Portland) 1kg cost nearly £7.00,local lidli’s £2.69 (I’m not sure if there was a special offer on these but nearly double the price! ). I looked at the price of the milk and of course single 4 pint of milk 38p more expensive than than Lidl’s. These prices are extortionate and have certainly put me off Tesco. As an important and final remark the chicken thighs from Lidl carry the red tractor logo.

Good report Swampy3512 my nearest Lidl is a few miles away but i do have local Aldl what i like
about these stores is they know there is a market for people who do not want to buy bog-offs and bulk buys just no nonsense prices.Nothing surprises me about Tesco anymore on Prices.

Charles says:
22 October 2017

The only way that these stores get you cheaper items is because they make so much money in car parking fines , I know loads of people that have had fines in our locals and I never go in any more because of this reason. Cheaper end food is a joke but mid to high rage was ok , Tools and clothing is and have been told by many others as well that they are so cheap that half the stuff is useless, clothes you wash them a couple of times and are useless afterwards. Cycle clothes I have bought in the past is so bad zips plastic rubbish & and water proof clothes are shower proof for about 5 minutes in a heavy rain. I find now that big stores own brands now are much better than they used to be and quality ain’t to bad either , plus you can always look for offers and use online vouchers to use in them so brings the price down. No more fines for me ever in Aldi & I know that Lidl & Waitrose fine car drivers as well , so no way will I ever go in them ever again till the car parks are free for at least 2 hours plus as I am disabled and takes me ages to get in & out of the car .

The only reason I go to Aldi is the prices on salad items and the length of time the salad leaves last before going too soft to eat. I can and do buy a few packs as they are all edible. In contrast my multibuy salad leaves from Waitrose and M&S (my local walk to stores) only last a couple of days so I end up throwing out half of the multibuy. I regularly complain to both stores on their multibuy policy on fresh fruit and vegetable produce but they seem to think I’m bonkers complaining about ‘offers’. I don’t buy milk at Aldi after a 4 pint carton turned to yogurt in a couple of days. I recently bought chicken thighs there and they were £1.99 for 750g (£2.65 per kilo) which is a good price but I don’t see a red tractor symbol on the packaging. I normally buy chicken when it’s on offer in any store and freeze some until I need it.

If I lived within walking distance of Aldi I would use the store regularly and put up with the inconveniences and stress of shopping there but I have to drive there and they only have a small underground parking area which is shared by nearby residents and other companies. You have to drive around looking for free Aldi designated spaces and often have to drive out and return again. So the start of the shopping experience is a bit frought as well as the end at the poorly designed checkout.

Perhaps there should be a happy medium between low prices and reasonable facilities and service. Do the Germans pack their groceries super quickly at unsuitable cashier points?

Not when I was last in Germany – it was very civilised and well-ordered. Here, Aldi expect you to let the groceries pour off the conveyor belt straight into the shopping trolley so you can whizz off and tip it all into your car boot. With any luck the detergent will land on top of the teabags so that the teapot cleans itself while brewing the tea. They’ve thought of everything.

John, I didn’t realise just how effecient the Germans are. Not surprising they are a leading economic power. You should be writing scripts instead of making me laugh on here. I thought it was Friday afternoon again with the above post and an earlier one.

So if it’s all very civilised in Germany, why are we treated like second class consumers here in the UK? Why Aldi, and why Which??

Andrew Mitchell says:
2 November 2013


Store manager won’t help
Ring customer services and they don’t help!

Don’t bother shopping at asda…..use sainsbury’s, tesco or the other better supermarkets!

I agree with what you are saying about ASDA customer services Andrew you cannot blame the front line persons they really have no power.ASDA electrical department young manager was arrogant unhelpful had I not been forceful i would have been fobbed off with no refund.I suggest though that ASDA are not alone because a lot of highly paid staff with actual power never face the music yet are paid vast amounts.I rarely shop at Asda because i have a more Local Aldi and Sainsbury now. With the high price of Fuel everyone should factor in this when shopping and i find unless one has an extremely fuel efficient car it is better to shop more local.A member of staff at Sainbury made an error at my local when i phoned in to ask if they had an item in he/she did not check and told me they had none.I was angry when i discovered they had item in store after e-mails and phone calls to Sainburys customer services my dispute was happily settled by a manager given a full apology and i am always happy to go to Sainsbury but they really have to improve their prices.Just 2 examples Sainsbury Frozen own brand Family Steak or Chicken pies were 50p more expensive than Asda £1.00 now 90p more than most other Supermarkets.1KG Frozen of mixed veg 15p more expensive than close rivals Frozen Peas sliced Green beans much more expensive than others.I rarely go in Tesco as they are Top price and often low quality. All supermarkets could do better if they used transparent inexpensive packaging instead high priced very expensive colour packaging.All customers Rich or Less well off are condoned by this ploy.A large box that contains only less than half frozen fish is a con.No customers Rich or Less well off deserve this.Even a transparent front cover would be great for the consumer to be able to see what you are buying should be mandatory enforced legislation would soon sort out those who are pulling a fast on over Consumers.I would love to shop at local co-op but they are to small and very pricey even factoring high price Fuel.I am surprised not one supermarket has broken ranks abandoned the high price colour packaging you cannot complain to Customer Services that i am
not getting what i thought i was buying as they have item weight in a much larger box.

Anglosaxon says:
27 November 2013

Why use any of them? The majority of these multies import their goods. Buy less but better quality food from your local food shops. After all where does `British milk/butter/ etc come from? and who wants salmon imported from Scotland or Welsh lamb or cheese imported from whales.

That’s great if you have local shops, etc. My local butcher did not last very long when Tesco opened its doors and the greengrocer closed before that. At least the supermarkets are stocking some local produce, particularly vegetables, if the labels are to be believed.

Better we have salmon from Scotland than Norway and lamb from Wales rather than New Zealand. I’m not sure about the cheese from whales. 🙂

Hampshireresident says:
18 December 2013

In January 2013 a bottle of Tesco Finest Fresh Orange Juice exploded all over my kitchen within an hour of buying it splattering the ceiling, walls, units and pile of ironing with orange juice.

I claimed against Tesco for redecorating and produced the offending bottle. Another new bottle of which the cap was also at great risk of exploding. A set of photographs showing damage caused and a decorators quote for £850.

On the 11th October 2013 Tesco admitted liability stating the £850 would be in my account within ten days.

By the 18th December 2013 it still had not been paid and Tesco continued to say – the payment is still being processed.

Which year are they actually intending to pay the debt they owe me?

Orange juice is sold in plastic bottles, so that build up of pressure should be very obvious from feeling the sides. I am very surprised that Tesco has admitted liability when the problem is so obvious. If the bottle had exploded and covered your clothes with juice when you picked up the bottle in the store, then a claim would be justified.

AlanD says:
5 January 2014

I ordered a bottle of Chablis Premier Cru from Ocado in early December: I fancied a nice bottle for Xmas day and it had 33% off if I ordered it by 17 Dec. I updated my trolley on 16 December and noticed that the discount had disappeared, thus increasing the value of my trolley by £6 without informing me. I complained to the helpdesk, who said that the offer had been a mistake and it should have been for delivery by 17th, which was a lie as there was no offer on it on 16 Dec. So I wrote a letter of complaint, and received a £7 voucher with no apology or explanation, so I wrote another letter to the management asking them to address the real issue of messing with the pricing of the goods in your basket without advising you – no reply.
Ocado also have the habit of offering products in their “flash sales” section when checking out, which in fact are more expensive than if you buy them in the main shop! There has to be a law against that? And each time I have left a comment in an attempt to warn other customers, it has been deleted by the Ocado Gestapo.

AlanD, why not get a Twitter account and post your problem there. Only you can delete your tweet and others can see it. You may have difficulty with the 140 characters but do as the media do all the time and post headlines only. If Ocado wish to sort out the matter you can both go to Direct Messages. I have a Twitter account, but in a made up name, and if I wish a company to sort out a problem for me I use Direct Messaging. You will need to ‘Follow’ Ocado and they ‘Follow you to send a DM. Also select ‘Connect & Interactions’ to easily see replies. I keep Facebook for private use and never mix business with pleasure but some people use it to communicate with companies.

https://twitter.com/Ocado they use this for their own marketing and PR as many companies do.

AlanD says:
10 January 2014

Thanks for your help.

I decided to ‘out’ Ocado on Twitter by finding the Stuart Rose/Ocado feed and asking very politely of Mr Rose whether he found this practise to be acceptable. I had a very speedy reply from someone from Ocado asking me for details, although why they couldn/t see this for themselves I don’t know.

Anyway, I took another look at the 8 products I had made a note of on Wednesday, and all of the Flash prices had been lowered to below those of the shop prices, except one, which had either been withdrawn or sold out. One product’s sale price had been reduced from £11.99 to £7.99 (£9.99 in the shop.) As my weekly shop is due tomorrow (Saturday) there were a great many more flash sale offers today. I have been through them all, and none of the prices are higher than in the shop.

It’s a pity their customer services couldn’t have dealt with this without me having to go public. Have no fear, if I have a problem that affects all Ocado shoppers again, I will go straight to Twitter, and avoid customer services altogether.

Stephen Mcbride says:
27 January 2014

How does Aldi’s or any other supermarket become a best supermarket –
one of the key issues in this climate should be thier comitement to our ever overloaded enviroment. Aldis does give a big rant on their website about their concern for the enviroment but when contacted about my concerns they just brushed it off and were surprised Id contacted them But pick up most of their products and youll find that very little of the packaging besides cardboard can be recycled most of the plastic from crisp bags to cat food pouches, sweet packaging have the label –NOT CURRENTLY RECYCLABLE. Its not just Aldis the coop Morrisons tesco etc etc Most Own brand packaging whether its whiskers or walkers crisps bouty bars etc etc-can be recycled.

Seems to be most of their own brand product That cant -Why not is it cheaper? to package stuff in plastic that goes to landfill! SCANDALOUS
Most shoppers wont be aware of this or if they are they ignore the fact cause its cheaper
Why is this allowed to happen!!!!!
All packaging should be recyclable!!!!

I wondered how Aldi got Supermarket of the year when it has confusing prices in the fruit section. One cannot compare unless you have the brains of Carol Vorderman or Rachel Riley.I agree most products should be in cardboard but with a recyclable see through plastic window so the customer can actually see what he/she is buying. Aldi wins on prices because it does not have shareholders to pay and satisfy hence lower prices. Aldi works for me good quality at a reasonable price with the exception of their Medion Computers which are of poor build quality.

Massimo Rowse-De Franco says:
19 March 2014

Yet another disappointment visit at Morrison Bodmin, on my first visit on Monday at the petrol station I bought a Deodoriser for my car, the package looked very old and dusty, the first one I couldn’t work out how it works, the second one the plastic disintegrated in my hand, still told by staff that it wasn’t all that old. Today at the self service till, the first till I went to had a spillage on the top of the scanner, tried to get the attention of the staff standing at the till but she was too busy chatting to a friend. I had to tell the following customer to be careful about the spillage.
At the petrol station after having a new points card at the till on Monday that same card wouldn’t collect points at the pump. The staff inside the petrol station was very helpful in telling me that the reader on the pump was not reading the card but the card was fine, a bit strange though that my debit card worked fine at the pump. Not impressed. starting to dislike Morrison.

I have Just done a shop at Aldi it appears they have got into the smaller size higher price now fresh carrots were 75p per 1.5Kg bag they are now 65p for 1Kg.bag the manager said the 1.5Kg bags are winter bags humm yes like all the rest they think we are all stupid.
Next 2 weeks ago Hollands invidual pies were 1 pack for £2.00 2 packs for £3.00 today only 1 pack for £2.75p so I never bought any the best way when you see inflation busting rises is not to buy and find an alternative as a Senior I have the time to do that those in full time work are hit because of the time factor.

Sorry I forgot to mention the Hollands Pies were in Iceland.

Leeonthesolentresident says:
3 March 2015

Be careful and check your receipts at the Lee on the Solent Co-ops, both the main store in the High Street and the ‘corner shop’ on Cherque Farm. We have been ripped off so many times, mostly the price on the shelf being less (sometimes considerably) than the price at the till. We haven’t shopped at either of them for quite a while now, preferring the honesty of Lidl, but went in today out of necessity – £2 greetings card, charged £2.25 at the till. I new there would be something wrong and said this to the till staff! I also mentioned that there are a lot of items which end up dearer at the till, to which the staff member replied: ‘It’s because it’s changing over’. Oh, ok, and has been doing every other time I’ve been ripped off?! I got my 25p but that’s not the point – the point is that the unsuspecting public who don’t check their receipts are constantly being ripped off and the Co-op is making a nice little (?!) earner, thanks very much. So-called ‘offers’ which aren’t so good at the till, being charged twice for bottles of wine are other examples we’ve experienced. We won’t be shopping there anymore, so don’t bother sending me any more ‘Share of the Profits’, Co-op and I probably don’t deserve them for correcting my change every time I’ve been overcharged!