Product Promotion Network

Shopping, food & drink

Which supermarket was cheapest in February 2018?

Morrisons continues its run as the cheapest supermarket in our monthly grocery price comparison. The average price for our basket of 69 branded items at Morrisons was GBP127.43 in February. Waitrose was the most expensive place to buy the same grocery basket of branded products, with an average cost of GBP141.17 – that’s GBP13.74 more.

Morrisons was cheapest in our monthly grocery basket price comparison seven times in 2017 and again in January 2018. Asda won the top spot three times in 2017, while Tesco was cheapest twice. To see the full results, including figures for Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose, head to our supermarket price comparison[1] page.

Supermarkets in the news in February

Snow caused chaos for shoppers as the so-called ‘Beast from the East’ hit at the end of February.

Many shoppers posted pictures of empty supermarket shelves as the icy conditions made it hard for deliveries to get through. Home deliveries were also affected. Meanwhile, two supermarkets faced criticism from the Advertising Standards Agency this month.

Aldi came under fire for using its mascot, Kevin the Carrot, to advertise alcohol – something the advertising watchdog said was irresponsible as it was likely to appeal to under 18s. And Sainsbury’s was forced to change the way it displays its tea online after a complaint that it misleadingly appeared to be part of the official Fairtrade scheme, rather than a separate fair trade scheme run by Sainsbury’s. Finally, Sainsbury’s announced plans to boost workers’ pay, from GBP8 to GBP9.20 an hour.

For those working in central London, it will be GBP9.80 an hour. It also announced a new contract for all 130,000 store staff. The proposals are due to come into effect from September.

How we compare supermarket prices Each month, we start with a list of more than 100 popular branded products that are likely to be sold in the six online supermarkets we cover (Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose). The products range from PG Tips tea to Warburtons bread and John West sardines.

Using data from the independent shopping website MySupermarket[2], we calculate the average price (including discounts, but not multibuys) for each item across a whole month. We add up those average prices to get the cost of the basket. If a product hasn’t been sold in one or more of the six supermarkets during the month, then it’s removed from that month’s basket altogether to ensure a fair comparison.

This month, we included 69 items in the basket.

Supermarket price-comparison schemes

Many supermarkets have a price-matching scheme, where they compare their prices against other supermarkets and give you a voucher for the difference if your shopping would have been cheaper elsewhere. We’ve summarised the differences between the schemes. Click the links below to find out how each supermarket compared in our customer satisfaction survey:

  • Asda[3] will give you a voucher for the difference if your ‘comparable grocery shopping’ isn’t 10% cheaper than at Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.
  • Morrisons[4] doesn’t have a price-match scheme.
  • Ocado[5] price matches against Tesco and will give you a voucher for the difference.
  • Sainsbury’s[6] doesn’t have a price-match scheme.
  • Tesco[7] checks prices on branded products against Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.

    Tesco will deduct the difference from the price of your shop before you pay at the till or online, so should charge the same as Morrisons for our basket.

    But you need to buy at least 10 items to qualify for the scheme.

  • Waitrose[8] price-matches Tesco on branded items.

    There aren’t any vouchers – it claims to sell these items at the same price.


  1. ^ supermarket price comparison (
  2. ^ MySupermarket (
  3. ^ Asda (
  4. ^ Morrisons (
  5. ^ Ocado (
  6. ^ Sainsbury’s (
  7. ^ Tesco (
  8. ^ Waitrose (

Tomatoes top ‘sauce’ of food price rises

If tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and passata are your store cupboard stalwarts, prepare to be poorer. The price of these essentials has soared by 18% compared with this time last year. And it’s bad news all round for fans of spag bol, as the cost of pasta and noodles has also risen – by 14% between January 2017 and January 2018.

These increases in our Italian food favourites are reported by independent shopping comparison site MySupermarket[1]. It also found that, on average, the price of our supermarket shop has risen by 2% at Asda and Sainsbury’s and 1% in Ocado and Tesco, in the same time period. To find out which supermarket is cheapest, check our our monthly supermarket price comparison[2].

Cakes rising

There’s no consoling yourself over costlier carbs and tomatoes with a slice of something sweet; MySupermarket reports the price of cake has gone up, too, possibly related to the increasing price of flour.

It’s this knock-on effect from flour costs rising that’s thought to have driven the rising price of pasta and noodles. See the table below for the five biggest food price rises year-on-year for January:

Product Average price in January 2017 Average price in January 2018 % difference Tinned tomatoes, puree and passata GBP1.65 GBP1.95 18% Salads and cut vegetables GBP1.72 GBP2.02 17% Flour GBP1.45 GBP1.69 17% Pasta and noodles GBP1.23 GBP1.40 14% Cakes GBP4.11 GBP4.68 14%

Tomato shortage

MySupermarket attributes the hike in tomato prices to a vegetable shortage this time last year, which also affected tomato crops. Google Trends shows a spike in searches for ‘tomato shortage’ in July 2017.

Food price drops

It’s not all rises though.

Some foods have dropped in price compared with January last year. Despite the bad news for tinned tomatoes, fresh vegetables have dramatically dropped in price year-on-year for January. This may be due to an ample supply in 2018 (compared with the shortage of January 2017), or a continued result of the major supermarkets lowering their prices for Christmas 2017.

And there’s an 8% drop in the January year-on-year price of frozen Yorkshire puddings.


  1. ^ MySupermarket (
  2. ^ supermarket price comparison (

Maplin goes into administration: what we know so far

Electronics store Maplin has gone into administration after rescue talks with potential buyers have failed to secure a sale. This follows the news that Toys R Us has also gone into administration[1]. Maplin, which employs more than 2,500 staff at 200 stores will continue to trade as the administration process gets underway.

The store will be working with administrators PwC ‘to achieve the best possible outcome for all of our colleagues and stakeholders,’ boss Graham Harris said.

Why did Maplin go bust?

The company’s boss Graham Harris said in a statement that the company has been struggling for the past few months. Having faced problems caused by the drop in value of the pound since Brexit, weak consumer confidence and the withdrawal of credit insurance (which allows shops to buy stock on credit) Maplin has been forced into administration.

What happens next?

The administrator, PwC, will take over running of the company but the shops will stay open for now. Closures may happen depending on what the administrator decides to do, we can only speculate.

Watch this space as we’ll be updating this page regularly.

What are your rights when a company goes into administration?

During this time it will be business as usual but you may have some issues with your shopping rights. For returns and exchanges your right will depends on what the administrator decides to do but for faulty items you may not be able to get your money back as your right to return is invalid. If you paid for goods with your credit card you are protected by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act[2] which may be the best way to get your money back.

If not you will be better off writing to the administrator to complain[3].

Find out more about your shopping rights[4] on our consumer rights pages.


  1. ^ Toys R Us has also gone into administration (
  2. ^ Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act (
  3. ^ writing to the administrator to complain (
  4. ^ shopping rights (

1 2 3 8