United Kingdom

One of the cheapest supermarkets in the UK is now the most expensive

An eye-opening investigation has unveiled a shift in the order of the cheapest and most expensive supermarkets. A tracking probe, which sees a shopper buy essential food items a year apart during the cost-of-living crisis, reveals which giants are hiking their prices by the highest amounts, and which ones are denting the pockets of its customers the most.

The analysis, carried out by sister title the Manchester Evening News, claims the supermarket which ranked as the third cheapest behind budget stores Aldi and Lidl is now the most expensive.

Comparing the six main brands, which includes Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco the reporter endeavoured to uncover which one would set a shopper back the most.

During a cost-of-living crisis, which has continued spiralling throughout the past year, she bought basic items such as bread, butter, mince, a packet of chicken breasts, a two pint bottle of milk, tea bags, a jar of coffee and beans.

At that time, it was Aldi which came out as cheapest overall, with a bill of £9.13 for the shopping basket. Lidl was just a penny more, at £9.14, and it was Asda in third place, at £9.44. 

The bills at the other supermarkets showed Sainsbury’s was the dearest – but Tesco came out at £9.52, Morrisons £9.69 and Sainsbury’s £10.45.

But these prices are now a thing of the past, as to buy these goods today, the basket price has generally increased to £12 or more, the analysis says.

Lidl ranks the lowest, but it’s still not too far behind at £11.88. The bill for all but one of them has risen by 25% since the MEN’s first comparison.

But the most drastic rise of all has been at Asda, where the cost has gone up 32.4% to £12.50 – currently the highest of all the stores.

READ MORE: Mother reduces grocery bill from £547 to £5 thanks to coupons

Aldi is the next biggest increase, 31.4%, followed by Lidl and Tesco’s 30% and Morrisons’ 25%. It’s actually Sainsbury’s which has seen the lowest rise of 17.8%, but it did start out in the unenviable position of the most expensive of the lot.

This week it’s improved its position to fourth cheapest following a price rise at Tesco, which has increased the cost of its cheapest Stockwell coffee to 99p for a 100g tub.

Morrisons, which briefly fared better than Aldi last week, largely due to a price drop on its chicken breasts, is now back in third position following two price hikes, on both bread and teabags.

But it’s a much better position than it was, as it spent more than six months of the last year as the most expensive of all – and faced the wrath of shoppers who accused it of ‘laughing at customers’ with ridiculous price hikes.

The figures showing Asda’s annual hike come just weeks after we reported how it had come under fire for increasing the prices of some of its cheapest items in its Just Essentials range. Shoppers say they have cut back as much as they can and claim it’s unfair to increase prices in the budget range.

An Asda spokesperson: “We launched the Just Essentials By Asda range last year to provide customers with the option of getting all of their weekly essentials from the same low-cost brand range in all of our stores nationwide.

“We’re working hard to keep prices in check for customers despite global inflationary pressures and we remain the lowest-priced major supermarket – a position recognised by Which? in their regular monthly basket comparison which has named Asda as the cheapest supermarket for a big shop every month for the last three years.

“Last month we announced we would be freezing the prices of over 500 popular branded and own label products, more than half of which are fresh meat, dairy, fruit and vegetable products until the end of May.”

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