Prices of supermarket own-brands and budget ranges have gone up more than premium and branded foods during the cost of living crisis, according to new Which? research that reveals hikes of up to 175 per cent over 12 months.
The consumer champion’s supermarket food and drink inflation tracker shows huge price hikes on everyday budget and own brand products at a time when many households will be relying heavily on basic supermarket ranges to feed themselves and their loved ones.
Which? tracked the annual inflation of tens of thousands of food and drink products across seven months at eight major supermarkets – Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose – to see how inflation is impacting everyday products.
The new monthly tracker is unique in that it shows how inflation is affecting individual product prices month on month, as well as ranges such as budget and own brand and even by supermarket to give the first publicly-available overview of what consumers are facing when they reach the tills.
The first wave of data from the tracker reveals that supermarket own brand and budget ranges have shot up on average by as much as 18 per cent year or year compared to around 13 per cent for premium own brand ranges and 12 per cent for branded foods.
The biggest price increases on supermarket budget food and drink for the quarter ending October 31 between 2021 and 2022 were on Creamfields Soft Cheese ( 200G) at Tesco, which went from 49p to 84p – an increase of 72 per cent and Sainsbury’s Simply Muesli (1kg) which went from £1.20 in 2021 to £2.03 in 2022 – a 70 per cent increase.
When Which? experts looked at the 20 worst budget products for inflation across the supermarkets for the same period, it found other Tesco products including Hearty Food Co. 2 Garlic Chicken Kievs (260G), Growers Harvest Orange Juice( 3X200ml) and Rosedene Farms Small Pear Pack (550G) all soaring above 60 per cent in price over the year.
Sainsbury’s groceries also featured in this list of the worst inflation of budget items with its bottled water – Hubbard’s Foodstore Sparkling and Still Waters (2L), J James & Family Fresh British Chicken Breaded Kyiv With garlic Butter x2 (240g) and Mary Ann’s Dairy Soft Cheese 200g all going up in price by over 50 per cent over the 12-month period.
Mid-priced own-brand products tended to be where supermarket prices had risen the most. The most striking increase for this period was on Waitrose chocolate chip shortbread 200g which almost tripled in price going from 82p in October 2021 to £2.25 in October 2022 – an increase of 175 per cent. However Waitrose had some of the lowest inflation overall.
The second biggest increase on a single mid-priced own-brand product was Asda’s chilli con carne ready meal 400g that went from £1.20 to £2.79 – a 132 per cent increase.
Also at Asda, two versions of its Free From cream cheese products (ASDA Free From Soft Cheese Alternative 170g and ASDA Free From Garlic & Herb Soft Cheese Alternative 170g) saw the next most significant increases from 93p to £2.12, an increase of 128 per cent.
Interestingly the worst supermarkets for overall inflation on food and drink year on year were Aldi (19.6%) and Lidl (19%). However both discounters still tend to be the cheapest of the big supermarket chains to shop in overall.
The discounters were followed by Asda(15.2%), Morrisons (14.4%), Waitrose (14.2%), Sainsburys (13.7%) and Tesco (12.6%). Ocado had the least inflation overall (10.3%)
Despite overall supermarket inflation hitting a shocking 15 per cent, according to Which?’s tracker typically cheaper own brand and budget items may have risen much more sharply.
However, these budget lines still tend to be cheaper than branded and unbranded food and drink so Which? believes supermarkets should do more to ensure they are widely available throughout all branches – including in smaller convenience stores. They should also provide targeted promotions to support people in the areas that are struggling most with access to affordable food.
Sue Davies, Which? Head of Food Policy, said
“Our inflation tracker lays bare the shocking scale of soaring food and drink prices – including on budget and own-brand products. While the data paints a bleak picture, we hope the tracker will help millions of people find the best possible value with their weekly shop during the cost of living crisis.
“We know the big supermarkets have the ability to take action and make a real difference to people struggling through the worst cost of living crisis in decades. That’s why we’re calling on them to ensure everyone has easy access to basic, affordable food lines at a store near them, can easily compare the price of products to get the best value and that promotions are targeted at supporting people most in need.”
Notes to editors:
Which? Supermarket food and drink inflation tracker
- As part of its Affordable Food For All campaign, Which? has today launched a new monthly tracker which tracks tens of thousands of products across eight major supermarkets. The tracker shows rates of inflation overall as well as by supermarket, product category and range.
- Which? will be publishing this data each month in order to showcase how inflation is really hitting customers and putting pressure on the supermarkets to do a better job of supporting customers to keep food on the table during the worst cost of living crisis in over 40 years.
- Which?’s tracker looks at 20 popular categories of food and drink at eight supermarkets — Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. It compares average prices across the same three-month and one-month periods year-on-year, including discounts but not multibuys or loyalty card offers. Figures are then weighted based on supermarket market share and the sales volume of each product category.
- While some minor price variation may exist due to different prices at different stores across the country, this is unlikely to impact overall inflation figures.
Biggest price increases on supermarket food and drink budget range items in the three months to October 31 in 2021 to the same period in 2022
|Retailer||Retailer product name||Average2021||Average2022||Diff_%|
|Tesco||Creamfields Soft Cheese 200G||£0.49||£0.84||72%|
|Sainsbury’s||Sainsbury’s Simply Muesli 1kg||£1.20||£2.04||70%|
|Sainsbury’s||Hubbard’s Foodstore Water 2L||£0.17||£0.29||69%|
|Tesco||Hearty Food Co. 2 Garlic Chicken Kievs 260G||£1.19||£1.99||67%|
|Tesco||Growers Harvest Orange Juice 3X200ml||£0.40||£0.66||65%|
|Tesco||Rosedene Farms Small Pear Pack 550G||£0.57||£0.94||64%|
|Sainsbury’s||Hubbard’s Foodstore Sparkling Waters 2L||£0.17||£0.28||64%|
|Tesco||Growers Harvest Apple Juice 3X200ml||£0.40||£0.63||58%|
|Tesco||Creamfields French Brie 200g||£0.79||£1.25||58%|
|Sainsbury’s||J James & Family Fresh British Chicken Breaded Kyiv With garlic Butter x2 240g||£1.21||£1.88||55%|
|Tesco||Stockwell & Co. Ready Salted Crisps 6X25g||£0.55||£0.85||54%|
|Lidl||Milbona Light Vanilla Yoghurt 160g||£0.28||£0.43||53%|
|Sainsbury’s||Mary Ann’s Dairy Soft Cheese 200g||£0.55||£0.84||53%|
|Tesco||Creamfields Greek Style Natural Yogurt 500G||£0.45||£0.68||52%|
|Tesco||Creamfields Fat Free Greek Style Natural Yogurt 500G||£0.45||£0.68||51%|
|Sainsbury’s||J.James & Family New Zealand Lamb Chops 700g||£4.00||£6.00||50%|
|Tesco||Eastmans Ardennes Pate 175G||£0.45||£0.66||48%|
|Tesco||Eastmans Brussels Pate 175G||£0.45||£0.66||48%|
|Tesco||Woodside Farms Unsmoked Gammon Steaks 300G||£1.50||£2.18||45%|
|Sainsbury’s||Lovett’s Digestive Biscuits 400g||£0.31||£0.45||45%|
Biggest price increases on supermarket food and drink items overall in the three months to October 31, 2021 to the same period in 2022
|Retailer||Retailer product name||Average2021||Average2022||Diff_%|
|Waitrose||Waitrose Chocolate Chip All Butter Shortbread 180g||£0.82||£2.25||175%|
|Asda||ASDA Chilli Con Carne 400g||£1.20||£2.80||132%|
|Asda||ASDA Free From Soft Cheese Alternative 170g||£0.93||£2.12||128%|
|Asda||ASDA Free From Garlic & Herb Soft Cheese Alternative 170g||£0.93||£2.12||128%|
|Sainsbury’s||Sainsbury’s Loose Potatoes, Taste the Difference 1 kg||£1.33||£2.84||114%|
|Asda||ASDA Free From Special Flakes 300g||£0.62||£1.29||108%|
|Sainsbury’s||Sainsbury’s Italian Pepperoni 100g||£0.71||£1.48||108%|
|Morrisons||Morrisons Takeaway Tadka Dal 300g||£1.73||£3.41||97%|
|Waitrose||Utterly Butterly Spread 500g||£1.00||£1.95||95%|
|Morrisons||Morrisons Italian Mozzarella 125g||£0.49||£0.94||93%|
|Morrisons||Morrisons Pineapple Cottage Cheese 300g||£0.81||£1.54||91%|
|Morrisons||Morrisons Free From Gluten Free Oats 1kg||£1.28||£2.45||90%|
|Morrisons||Morrisons Onion & Chive Cottage Cheese 300g||£0.81||£1.54||90%|
|Morrisons||Morrisons Low Fat Cottage Cheese 300g||£0.81||£1.54||90%|
|Waitrose||Stork Baking Spread Alternative To Butter 500g||£1.28||£2.40||88%|
|Morrisons||Morrisons Special Flakes 500g||£1.05||£1.97||87%|
|Ocado||Utterly Butterly Spread 500g||£1.00||£1.85||85%|
|Waitrose||San Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water 500ml||£0.65||£1.20||85%|
|Waitrose||Duchy Organic Homogenised Semi-Skimmed Milk 1 pint 568ml||£0.65||£1.20||84%|
|Waitrose||Duchy Organic Unhomogenised Whole Milk 1 pint 568ml||£0.65||£1.20||84%|
|Morrisons||Morrisons Free From Special Flakes 300g||£0.75||£1.36||81%|
|Asda||Stork Baking Spread alternative to Butter 500g||£1.28||£2.30||80%|
|Ocado||Stork Baking Spread alternative to Butter 500g||£1.28||£2.30||79%|
|Morrisons||Morrisons Whole Honeydew Melon||£0.96||£1.72||80%|
|Sainsbury’s||Utterly Butterly Spread 500g||£1.00||£1.80||80%|
|Sainsbury’s||Utterly Butterly Lightly 500g||£1.00||£1.80||80%|
|Asda||ASDA Diet Indian Tonic Water Bottles 6×250||£1.12||£2.00||79%|
|Morrisons||Morrisons Shortbread Fingers 210g||£0.47||£0.85||79%|
|Sainsbury’s||Cathedral City Snack Bar Original Cheese 24g||£0.65||£1.15||77%|
|Sainsbury’s||Sainsbury’s British Semi Skimmed Milk, SO Organic 568ml (1 pint)||£0.65||£1.15||77%|
Which? sent the specific products and prices featured in this release to the supermarkets. Their responses can be found below”
An Aldi spokesperson said its price rise for milk was “in part due to it paying more to its milk suppliers which benefits British dairy farmers”.
An Asda spokesperson said: “We have a long-standing reputation for providing customers with outstanding value and it’s more important than ever that we deliver on this for them. We’re focused on keeping prices on branded and own-label products in check to ensure that Asda remains the lowest-priced traditional supermarket.”
While Lidl has disputed figures provided to it by Which? for yoghurts and pears, it has failed to provide Which? with any alternative figures, despite Which?’s requests. Instead it claims “Prior to the press release being issued to media, we made Which? aware of multiple discrepancies within the data concerning Lidl prices. This included over 100 separate pricing inaccuracies, which were clearly highlighted to Which?. Despite this, they have chosen to mislead consumers by reporting data that they know to be incorrect.”
A Morrisons spokesperson said: “This is an unprecedented period of inflation and we are working hard to keep prices down and competitive for our customers while maintaining high standards and availability in all our stores.”
Ocado declined to comment
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “With costs going up, we are working hard to keep prices low. We offer over 40,000 products in our supermarkets and are investing £500 million over two years to ensure the items people buy most often are on the shelves at the best prices. Customers can find low prices on everyday staples in stores and online – including spaghetti, bread and washing up liquid, which are all available for less than 50p.”
A Tesco spokesperson said: “With household budgets under increasing pressure we are absolutely committed to helping our customers, by keeping a laser focus on the cost of the weekly shop. So whether it’s price matching Aldi on the basics, locking the price of more than a thousand household staples until 2023, or offering exclusive deals and rewards through thousands of Clubcard Prices – we’re more committed than ever to providing our customers with great value.”
A Waitrose spokesperson said: “With the increase in production costs for primary products and the war in Ukraine, no retailer is immune to inflation, however we’re working very hard with our suppliers to ensure we offer great value, while continuing to deliver industry-leading animal welfare standards, fresh produce grown with care and fair deals for farmers.”
Which? is the UK’s consumer champion, here to make life simpler, fairer and safer for everyone. Our research gets to the heart of consumer issues, our advice is impartial, and our rigorous product tests lead to expert recommendations. We’re the independent consumer voice that influences politicians and lawmakers, investigates, holds businesses to account and makes change happen. As an organisation we’re not for profit and all for making consumers more powerful.
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