/ 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

Loading ... Loading ...
the dragon. says:
22 February 2013

On the subject of value, I have just read an article about the lady with a lot of children who is in the news over free housing. She says that she likes to shop in Iceland because they do ‘large meals’.
Disregarding her situation I think it is fair to say that over the past few years the space given by the supermarkets to prepared meals has vastly increased to the detriment of fresh meat and vegetables. I think a lot of people could manage better if they learned to cook for themselves. Please don’t tell me how busy people are today, our parents worked harder, longer and managed on a lot less. In Tesco yesterday I saw a special offer in the freezer, four ready cooked baked potatoes for two pounds. (Sorry, this computer has no ‘pound sterling’ key). Value added or what? Do I make my point?

Once a week we shop at 99p & £ shop for tinned & Jar products as well as cleaning products.
Our local corner shop sells milk at 99p.
I still shop at Sainsbury for Fish & Meat & Veg/Fruit. However my bill at Sainsbury’s has reduced considerably & my overall shop is down in price.

There is no doubt that Tesco is fast becoming the dearest supermarket, especially on their own name products. They have been rising prices since before Christmas, and are still doing so, by anything upto 60%. If there is a genuine price rise they will be the first to do so, they certainly lead the way where I live in putting up their fuel prices.
Ironically I received an email from their chief executive regarding the horseburger scandel saying that putting it right would not result in food prices rising. I assume he has his head in the sand, I found three substantial price rises the next day, just doing a small shop.
‘Every little helps’, well it certainly helps Tesco.

Clive Smith says:
22 February 2013

I am so pleased that the need for ‘straight forward discounts’ featured so highly in your survey. My blood boils every time I shop at our local (Sainsbury’s) store with hundreds of glaring offers. Do they think the public are simple? How can they offer one item for £1.50 and two for £2.00? I am reasonably well off and can afford the two for £2.00 deal but, someone poorer can’t afford the extra 50p and therefore lose out. How daft is that? Also, by tempting us to buy more perishable food than we need, so much gets wasted. Ugr! Why can’t supermarkets wise up to the merits of a simple pricing strategy, discounted if possible, that will endear the public to them? I do wonder if their marketing ‘experts’ know what they are doing. When I eventually find a chain that has a simple pricing policy with no two for one deals, etc, that is where I will be doing my shopping!

This is one of the main reasons I prefer to shop at Aldi – if you want one loaf, or one bottle of milk, or one packet of mince, or one box of detergent, that’s all you need to buy – the price is the price.

I loathe BOGOFs, & make a point of saying so (loudly) on the rare occasion when I do shop at Tesco for the few things I can’t get at Aldi

The answer is shop at Lidl if you have one near or Aldi both have no nonsense Bogoffs 2 fo 1 all the FACTS you have mentioned Clive most of the supermarkets Target the Big Family Shopper.Which is very strange because the UK has many Singletons&Lone Seniors Divorced singles&Students.

I have Aldi next to Sainsburys buy most at Aldi and very little at Sainsbuys (mostly loose apples.) Anyone who thinks Aldi or Lidl is inferior to M&S; Waitrose is badly mistaken.Aldi&Lidl do not offer a big Choice just reasonable food at no-nonsense prices people want.The Singles&Seniors do not want BOGOFFS and more than they want to get discount.Just a sensible pricing.My only dislike of Aldi is no e-mail address where one can make a complaint or sensible suggestion one has have 2 options complain to store manager who reports to Area manager if you get lucky it may reach intended or the old way by Post which i rarely use now postage is the price it is and time to do the letter+taking to nearest posting box.I have a CO-OP near me but only use the post-office inside food is way to expensive.

Mike P says:
23 February 2013

Just wanted to make the point that the Buy One Get One Free offers at M&S are taking on ludicrous dimensions. You now can’t really but one of a lot of things, otherwise you pay a ridiculous amount. It’s maybe OK if you have a family of 4 or 6 to feed, but if you’re on your own, or only one in the household who wants a particular fruit or whatever, it’s hopeless. M&S actually miss out on a lot of custom from us, because we refuse to give in to this approach. We end up just not buying the product and go elsewhere.

Mike P i agree with your comment about Buy One Get One Free.Although i never have shopped at M&S most Supermarkets do the same unfortunately Aldi only do prepacked apples so i have to buy those at Sainsburys.I bought 2 loose Parsnips from Tesco then went into Aldi who were selling a pack of them for just a few pence more i took the 2 Parsnips back to Tesco &bought the packet of Parsnips Freezing them only using 1 at a time.One of the most infuriating offers is 3 for £10 i really do not want to buy 3 chickens i want 1 at a sensible price that’s why i shop at Aldi who just run price reductions on single items.Its taking Supermarkets a long time to Realize that there is a big market of Singles and its set to get even bigger via marital Brake downs owing to Ian Duncan Smiths changes to welfare Bedroom Tax&monthly benefit payments these ill thought out policies will cost the Taxpayer Big time.Just like the Child Benefit Agency they sound good til the Taxpayer finds it is costing more and they have to raise Personal Taxes to pay for the Losses.

errins mum says:
25 February 2013

I have been shopping at lidl for over ten years on a regular basis. I was prompted to use it by reccomendation from my mum. Also by working in germany where lidl is very highly regarded. Their quality is excellent and range suits my needs. I like the simplicity of choice and size of store. The seasonal offers add interest and variety. Xmas foods are a positive delight. I use my local butcher for most raw meats and pies. Lidl fruit and veg are unbeatable. Lidl staff in my store are super, friendly people. The new in store bakery is too good not to use and prices of pastries half those in tesco and sainsburys. On principle i do not use tesco at all. I think it is overpriced, oversized, unfriendly and unethical. On occasion i cannot get ingredients in lidl i use sainsburys which is local and very friendly. We also buy wine here as have great offers we make use of.

I hate shopping – it wastes my time and effort and often money – Having to carry heavy shopping Bags. I’d sooner walk my dogs – Sadly I can’t walk my dogs AND shop (health and safety) – Long Tedious Experience has taught me that the quality I require for my shopping is only available from Sainsburys – I have tried them all. The local supermarkets are not local – I object to spending £5 to park for a few minutes – I object to spending up to four hours going to a shopping area – wandering around the shops trying to find a particular item because the shop has MOVED it – or worse finding they no longer stock it or even worse they have never stocked it.
So I buy on-line now – it is normally fast and convenient – plus cheaper if it has free delivery – I can simply type a line in the search facility and bingo! the item appears if available – I have found that a number of items that HAD disappeared from my local Sainsburys – yet are still available from Sainsburys On line – I once spent three weeks trying to find a particular jug from local shops and supermarkets without success.- searched on-line and found the item – in stock – within 15 minutes delivered in two days – brilliant!!
The delivery by the Post Office is excellent (I receive about five parcels a week) – only one small item lost in Ten Years price refunded immediately by the seller. Often the seller gives a delivery time. Sainsbury in fact has always delivered within the hour time gap stipulated – no waiting around – Often when I went physical shopping I couldn’t even find a parking space for over an hour. At the weekend there could be an enormous queue of cars waiting to get a space All that petrol wasted.
The only fault with the Sainsbury system is it doesn’t show whether the item on display is actually in stock on the day – though it usually is. But far better than going to the shop and finding it not in stock – wasted time and petrol again.
I now buy goods for two weeks – this saves the £5 delivery charge AND the £5 parking charge AND an enormous amount of TIME – AND I can take advantage of the Buy One and get ONE FREE Offers.!! I know I can wait in for under an hour on a specified day and the items delivered on time – so I can get on with doing things I LIKE without all that wasted effort.
. I do go occasionally to the Shopping Mall – but it is now less than once in three months – think of all that time and petrol I’ve saved – It is so much nicer walking the dogs and chatting with fellow dog lovers in the forest. Fresh Air – Exercise – pleasant company – Beats shopping every day!!! The way of the FUTURE!

I cannot understand why Which are always favouring Waitrose or John Lewis group. There is only a small branch of Waitrose in this part of Sussex and it can only be rated poor on choice and very poor on prices. Also, Sainsbury compares badly with Tesco on price choice and layout. Our weekly shop would be £5-6 per week higher at Sainsburys. Tesco are an inovative supermarket that the others try to keep up with, for example the reward scheme which is still streets ahead of the others after several years. Who wants Nectar points or Air Miles ? Tesco’s bogofs and other offers are excellent value, far better than the others, and the choice of well priced wines is hard to beat. The staff at Holmbush, Shoreham by Sea, are friendly and as good as they come. M & S are nothing short of ridiculous on price, choice, and reward scheme and yet you rate them above Tesco. Neither I or my family have any connection with any supermarket other than a satisfied customer of Tesco.

Tom Willis. VOP says:
28 February 2013

As an old seaman, I have shopped in towns all round the coast. I have always found the staffs in supermarkets mainly friendly and helpful. These people who gave their opinion of the stores are not very good shoppers if they only go for cheapness. Aldi, Lidl and Waitrose just leave me cold. There aren’t any branches of Waitrose near enough to compare, but my experience of them over the years left underwhelmed. Capt. Tom.

George Reidford says:
1 March 2013

i don’t know how Waitrose can come top of a national survey when they only have one shop in the whole of Scotland. maybe a Scottish survey would give a better idea

Tom Willis. VOP says:
2 March 2013

I was in the local Co-op for bread and milk this morning. The bread, Warburton’s Danish, was 90d. This afternoon, I decided to go to Morrison’s in Arbroath, where I discovered the it was still at the old price of 75d. Perhaps someone can tell me how they can justify such a vast difference.

Ango-Saxon says:
3 March 2013

We only ever buy produce locally, preferably within 50 miles and marked clearly ENGLISH. It is worth every penny, it`s safe and you know where its coming from, not being hauled from miles away. Surely it is better to know where it comes from rather than risk all these `who knows what additives` Always buy the ones stamped with the St George Cross, that means qualilty.

Has everyone noticed a significant rise in Price of Potatoes i 1st noticed it in Sainsburys they Jumped in Price by a Whopping 50p per bag.Aldi have upped there price to and in Tesco there price expensive and quality very disappointing but its rare i go in Tesco anyway.

I imagine we are seeing the results of a poor harvest in vegetables due to the exceptionally wet weather last year.

Clive says:
13 March 2013

Although the price of food is important also the how ethically it is produced and sourced is important.
Hammering down suppliers on cost and importing the majority from abroad is not great for the UK economy, we have farmers to feed and pay! Sending the profits back to Germany or Sweden or the fat cat bankers. Wouldn’t it be better to shop at groups owned by their memebers like the co-op? Whilst Waitrose is great at ploughing its profits back into its staff etc you have to look to the co-operative who through their community fund support countless small local groups and organisations across the country.

Didn’t the Co-op withdraw products containing horse meat? If they don’t have total control over their food supply chain, I’d rather shop somewhere that did, wouldn’t you?

The Co-op has always been expensive i remember my grandma when i was a child i am 61 she said i only buy cheese from the Co-op because everything else to expensive.No one has mentioned Uncontrolled immigration on food prices? Governments own figures 283;000 stayed more than left the Country it has bound to affect food prices Supply&demand although i doubt the Farmer will see any extra.

woodylaw says:
29 March 2013

With regards to on-line shopping I feel i am almost an expert (which probably makes me quite sad) however we have used Asda, Tesco,Sainsburys and most recently Ocado. Tesco were the dearest with Asda the cheapest however we found the experience best with sainsburys (I shall talk about Ocado in one moment). Non of the websites are that easy to navigate on the first time of use and probably the main reason people do not swap. Sainsburys are not the cheapest but any problems have been resolved quickly and to my satisfaction. With regards to delivery sainsburys drivers ring and keep you up to date with (mostly early i might say) timings. They do not expect to make an early delivery but if you can accept all the better. They are in the main polite and helpful.
We recently used Ocado who were no cheaper than Tesco and a driver that arrived an hour late. No call just an update that kept changing on the website,driver was polite and all produced arrived well bagged (a mark off here for sainsburys who can bring stuff loose in the box). I am unsure to use them again although they have offered a £5 vouched as compensation, i would rather the food arrived on time! Overall Sainsburys for me!

Very important Apples have gone up in price recently slightly OFF Topic but worth a mentioning as apples are stored in Nitrogen some reach stores that are ROTTEN not good for your Childrens Lunch Box you cant blame the store but you can pick your Apples carefully when picking your Apple Check if it has a Dark Spot Top or Bottom of the stalk if it has then its Rotten inside no one
wants to eat Rotten Food least Children at school.I do not know the answer to stop these Rotten Apples getting through if you find any when you shop bag them and take to Customers services they will be pleased if you have the time.I hope WHICH Advertises this issue what your child eats is important!.

After reading that Sainsburys Everyday Sausages represent good value 1st i checked out sell by items they had a pack of Reduced Fat at £1.29p with to-days date previous price 2 packs for £2.50p.
Single pack priced at £1.99 so that sell by pack of Sausages were not reduced in my opinion.Do you consider they were Reduced????

Aldi may be good value for money but it is not good for my temper. Why are their price tickets so badly places for the location of their products and why are the cashiers so fast. I barely get started on popping a few things into a bag before they have scanned a trolley full. A really badly designed cashier point leads to stress and bad temper. I usually go there to buy salad, fruit and vegetables as they are so much cheaper than my local Waitrose plus the salad lasts a few days longer than M&S or Waitrose. I leave there feeling bad tempered and wondering if it is worth the trouble and I return again a few weeks later for another torture session.

Does anybody else feel tortured when shopping in the ‘no frills’ supermarkets?

I have to agree about Aldi on their price tickets and when you do find them they are no use or ornament because e.g.Price per Banana or Apple when one wants to know the price per kilo.I think the cashiers are on incentive based pay.I think we all feel stressed at the til as you say its badly designed they are so quick scanning one cannot keep up packing and getting your money out its an impossible task.Aldi say they do not employ extra staff to help packing to keep prices down.Aldi store Golden way is far to small for the catchment area planers really got location right not store size
so even if they wanted to improve end of til this would be difficult in my local store.At least the likes of Aldi&lidl understand there is a big market for those who do not have a big family to shop for which many of the other big supermarkets cannot seem or want to understand.