An online price-tracking website that’s constantly monitoring price increases and decreases across six major UK online supermarkets can now reveal that Asda has again retained its title as the least expensive option for British consumers looking to keep their grocery costs down.

The results have been determined by carefully tracking how each online retailer prices the 42 items outlined in the Government’s Consumer Price Index ‘shopping basket’ on a week-by-week basis by the team at www.alertr.co.uk. The latest research found that Asda is still the reigning champion – found to once again be the most affordable supermarket with an average basket cost of £108.72, with Sainsbury’s coming in second once again with an average basket cost of £113.34.

Looking into price changes across the board, Morrisons started the month selling its cheese at £3.50 per block, and then for the remaining three weeks of September the price dropped by £1 to £2.50. However, at Waitrose cheese was £3.50 for the first half of the month and then went down in price to £2.75 for the last half.

The price of gin and vodka fluctuated for Asda during the month, varying between £13 and £15.50. This cost bracket rang true for all six stores, except for Morrisons whose gin and vodka started the first half of the month at £13 before jumping up to £16 for the second half.

For the month of September, the cheapest supermarket for Prosecco was Waitrose at £6.99. However, it was the most expensive for Whole Milk at 90p, 10p dearer than at most of the other supermarkets analysed.

Looking at coffee specifically, Waitrose joined Asda, Tesco and Sainsburys selling the product at £4, then at week three increased steeply to end the month being the most expensive for coffee at £6.50. Meanwhile, Tesco remained the cheapest supermarket for Tea Bags throughout the month.

The research highlights that price changes are most common in the middle of the month for most of the stores analysed, with the average trend being that prices then start higher then decrease.

The biggest weekly increase in grocery prices was found at Asda, whose prices shot up by 6.3% between the week commencing the 3rd September and week commencing 10th September. The biggest weekly decrease on the other hand occurred at Morrison’s, whose prices dropped by

4.4% between week commencing 10th September and week commencing 17th September.

Andy Barr, co-founder of www.alertr.co.uk, said:

“It is interesting to see that the six supermarkets have stayed in a similar price order to previous months. There definitely seems to be similar price across the board, with a relatively large difference between the top and bottom spots on the leaderboard of £18.05. Dropping their prices, Sainsbury’s are becoming one to watch as they have stolen second place from Tesco, who was regularly second most cost-effective earlier in the year. Ocado and Waitrose have continued to compete with each other to not be named the most expensive of the largest supermarkets.”

The online price-tracking website has been tracking the prices of 42 everyday items from the shopping basket on the Office for National Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI) since 2019. Included within the list are items such as eggs, milk and bread, as well as non-perishables such as pasta, rice and cereal. The prices across six of the largest supermarkets are analysed, with discount retailers Lidl and Aldi not included due to the inability for customers to shop full ranges online and not having the same like-for-like branded products that other supermarkets stock.

Own-brand items (or their equivalent) were monitored in the research to give the most unbiased comparison of goods and their prices, with the exception of branded items that all six supermarkets stocked (e.g., Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s Cornflakes, etc.).

The full breakdown of each supermarket’s average basket costs, from lowest to highest over the four-week period in September, were as follows:

  1. ASDA – £108.72
  2. Sainsburys – £113.34
  3. Tesco – £113.92
  4. Morrisons – £117.54
  5. Ocado – £122.57
  6. Waitrose – £126.77

To ensure the results across the stores are fair, if an item is unavailable or out of stock in one of the six online stores for a whole week, then the product is dismissed and not analysed within the final basket costs for the month. Items can also be replaced with another like-for-like item, as long as it is in stock across all six retailers. However, for the month of September, no products that were being tracked had to be swapped or were out of stock.

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