Simple supermarket mistake adding over £800 to grocery bills – and how to avoid paying more | The Sun

Simple supermarket mistake adding over £800 to grocery bills – and how to avoid paying more | The Sun


SHOPPERS could be making a simple mistake at the supermarket that's pushing up grocery bills by hundreds of pounds a year.

That's because the main supermarket chains almost always fail to stock their cheapest own-brand products in local stores.

Buying your essential groceries from Tesco Express will set you back £811 more over a year than doing the same shop at Tesco, according to Which?.

The consumer group's mystery shoppers also found the same groceries bought from Sainsbury's are £477.93 cheaper than if you buy them at Sainsbury's local.

Figures from Kantar out today showed that food inflation is now over 17%, with milk and dairy items seeing the biggest price hikes.

But Which? mystery shoppers looking for basics including pasta, fruit and veg, tinned fish and tomatoes and minced meat found local supermarket stores didn't stock the cheaper essential budget ranges.


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Tesco Express, Sainsbury’s Local and Morrisons Daily almost never had own brand options for basic groceries, Which? said.

Instead, the cheapest ranges can only be found in the large supermarket stores, which are often out of town.

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But some shoppers don't have a choice when it comes to where they buy their groceries.

People who have low mobility or no access to transport are often forced to buy more expensive foods in their local supermarket convenience store – or go without.

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Which? said it's those with the lowest earnings who are hardest hit.

It found that two out three shoppers who earn £21,000 or less shop in a convenience store at least once a week.

It's worst in the Don Valley in Yorkshire, North West Durham in the North East and Rhondda in Wales where food poverty is the highest in the UK.

More than half of supermarkets in these areas are small stores.

And Which? found none of the items on the list of budget essentials in any of those stores.

Sue Davies, Which? head of food policy, said: “At a time when millions of people are struggling to put food on the table, it’s shocking that budget range foods are not available to people who can’t get to a large supermarket.

"Everyone should have access to affordable nutritious food no matter where they live."

But supermarket giant Tesco called the study "highly flawed".

A spokesperson said: "Our Express stores do not have the shelf space to accommodate all the product ranges available in our larger stores.

"We use our expert knowledge of local customers’ shopping habits to make sure the ranges in each store best meet local tastes and needs."

The spokesperson said Tesco is committed to giving customers consistent, reliable prices in all of its stores.

Both Asda and Morrisons said their own brand budget ranges were popular and available in store and online.

Sainsbury’s declined to comment.

How to keep grocery costs down

  • Check labels for the price per item or by weight as you often get things cheaper if you go for bigger packs.
  • You can check where items are cheapest using which compares the prices of 130,000 products across 14 major supermarkets.
  • The Latest Deals app also lets you search items and lets you compare prices at several supermarkets to see where it's cheaper.
  • Look for store cupboard essentials such as rice, pasta, tinned tomatoes and dried herbs in the world food aisle as it's often cheaper than in other sections.
  • Sign up for loyalty cards at all the supermarkets and take advantage of the offers they give access to.
  • Buy frozen fruit, veg, fish and meat as it's often a lot cheaper than buying fresh.
  • Plan your meals before you shop and buy only what you need.
  • Buy own brand and budget ranges rather than the luxury versions some supermarkets offer.

If you are worried about the cost of living or debt, then a number of charities offer free advice or help:

  • National Debtline – 0808 808 4000
  • Step Change – 0800 138 1111
  • Citizens Advice – 0808 800 9060

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