/ Money, Shopping

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

Tesco price check logo

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?

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.


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 😀


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.


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.


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.

Buyer says:
12 March 2011

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?

Stizy says:
14 March 2011

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.

Buyer says:
14 March 2011

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 y