ASDA retains title as UK’s cheapest online supermarket for one whole year – £16.89 cheaper than Waitrose for Government’s Consumer Price Index ‘Shopping Basket’

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 right now. The supermarket has now held the crown for one whole year.

The latest research found that Asda is still the reigning champion – found to be the most affordable supermarket right now, with Sainsbury’s coming in second, ending Morrisons one-month spell as runner-up, with a current average basket cost of £115.51 (just £1.69 more expensive than Asda).

After analysing prices across all of the six supermarkets, Asda was revealed as the least expensive for the consumer weekly shop for the 12th month running, and by a fair amount still; found to be £16.89 cheaper than Waitrose – the most expensive supermarket right now.

Although Asda retained its title as the overall cheapest supermarket for the month of March (with an average basket cost of £113.72), the winning supermarket battled with Morrisons’ basket shop totals throughout the month, as Morrisons offered the most affordable basket shop for two out of the four weeks of analysis. However, Morrisons costs surged towards the end of the month, whose basket went up by £5.83 from £113.70 in week two to £119.53 in week four – subsequently increasing their total average basket cost, with them failing to retain second place, pipped to the post by Sainsbury’s (just £0.23 cheaper than Morrisons).

Looking into price changes across the board, pizza at Morrisons and Asda started the month at £1.50 and £1.75, and then for the remaining week of March went up to £2.50 at both supermarkets. What’s more, the price of coffee increased by 50% at Morrisons – surging from £4 during the first week of March to £6 at the end of the month, while the celebration of Lent was ongoing.

Interestingly, the price of chocolate also fluctuated throughout the month across all six supermarkets, as the Easter Holidays approached. Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury’s offered the cheapest chocolate in March, with both Morrisons and Asda lowering the price by 50p for the remaining weeks of the month, while Sainsbury’s slashed theirs by a whopping £1.50.

On the other hand, the top two most expensive supermarkets, Ocado and Waitrose, both increased their price of chocolate towards the end of March – Waitrose by just 73p, while the cost at Ocado started at £2.80 before soaring to £4 for the final week of the month.

Asda was also revealed as the cheapest supermarket for alcoholic items at the end of March, followed closely by Sainsbury’s with an overall price difference of just £2. Both Asda and Sainsbury’s were selling Gin and Vodka for £13 each during the final week of the month, compared to the likes of Morrisons and Tesco who advertised the same drinks at £16 and £15.50. For beers specifically though, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose were the cheapest, selling at just £4 per four pack, compared to nearly all other supermarkets selling at £4.50+.

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

“For the weekly shop, as it stands currently, there’s still a stark difference between the top and bottom spots on the leader board of almost £17. However, as we’ve seen since the start of 2022, there is much less disparity across the rest of the board, especially between the top three supermarkets – Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. Morrisons had a promising start to March, as the overall cheapest supermarket for the first two weeks of analysis and then slipped behind Sainsbury’s and Asda when they both lowered their prices across the board in the remaining weeks of the month. 

“As for Tesco, they dropped to fourth place, with a marginal difference of just 23p between runners-up, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – seizing the bronze medal from Tesco, who trailed £2.26 behind them for the basket shop. It was also interesting to see the prices of items like pizza, coffee and chocolate fluctuate throughout the month, as Lent was ongoing and Britons were shopping ahead for Easter. The next few months will certainly be telling in terms of how all six supermarkets react to the battle for the tops spots on the leader board and whether this continues to rotate or stabilise, especially with a summer of consumer spending on the horizon.”

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 current basket costs are as follows:

  1. ASDA – £113.72 (+£1.04 more than last month)
  2. Sainsbury’s – £115.51 (-£3.26 less than last month)
  3. Morrisons – £116.87 (+62p less than last month)
  4. Tesco – £118.00 (+£1.13 more than last month)
  5. Ocado – £128.00 (+£1.08 more than last month)
  6. Waitrose – £130.61 (+60p more than last month)

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 then the product is dismissed entirely and not analysed within the final costs of all stores. Items can also be replaced with another like-for-like item, as long as it is in stock across all six retailers. However, for this current basket, no products that were being tracked had to be swapped or were out of stock.

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