The products you could be overpaying for in your grocery shop

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·3-min read
A woman walks past a grocery store in Loughborough, central England, January 10, 2013. Up to half of all the food produced worldwide ends up going to waste due to poor harvesting, storage and transport methods as well as irresponsible retailer and consumer behaviour, a report said on Thursday. REUTERS/Darren Staples   (BRITAIN - Tags: AGRICULTURE ENVIRONMENT FOOD BUSINESS)
Research carried out by consumer champion Which?, comparing the price of different items in supermarkets, revealed UK shoppers could be overpaying by up to £3 per item. Photo: Reuters/Darren Staples

Persil laundry detergent, Andrex toilet paper and Kenco Millicano coffee have topped the list of products that consumers are likely to be overpaying for in their grocery shop.

Research carried out by consumer champion Which?, comparing the price of different items in supermarkets, revealed UK shoppers could be overpaying by up to £3 ($4.06) per item.

The research analysed thousands of prices across six months at major UK supermarkets – Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons, Ocado (OCDO.L), Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L), Tesco (TSCO.L) and Waitrose – including both own label and branded items.

Groceries are one of the UK’s biggest household expenses. According to the Office for National Statistics, Brits spend an average of £61.90 per week on food and non-alcoholic drinks; that’s 11% of household spend.

Persil non-biological washing liquid had the biggest price difference of any branded product in the investigation, and was on average £2.98 more at Morrisons than at Lidl.

Andrex Supreme Quilts toilet tissue had the second biggest average price difference, costing £2.60 more at Waitrose than at Morrisons, which offered the cheapest average price, according to Which?.

Alongside these, Waitrose and Ocado were the most expensive on average for Kenco Millicano coffee, which was £2.06 less on average at Aldi.

Waitrose also charged the most for Hellmann’s Real Squeezy Mayonnaise, which was £1.87 less at Sainsbury’s, and PG Tips Pyramid Tea Bags, which were £1.87 less at Asda.

Out of all the products Which? included in its pricing analysis, Persil non-bio also had the biggest price variation within the same supermarket chain – alternating fairly regularly between £5 and £10 at Morrisons across the six month period.

Which? found the price also varied at several other supermarkets – by as much as £4 at Tesco, £3.50 at Asda and £3 at Ocado.

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When it came to non-branded items, the consumer champion found price differences that were even more stark. Own-brand prawns were on average £3.28 more at Ocado and Waitrose than at Aldi – the biggest price difference across supermarkets of any product in Which?’s investigation.

There were also yawning gaps between the supermarkets on prices for own-label salmon fillets which varied by £2.26 on average between Waitrose and Aldi.

Natalie Hitchins, head of home products and services at Which?, said: “While prices will inevitably vary between different supermarkets, shoppers might be shocked to see that they could be overpaying by such significant margins for exactly the same products.

“Most supermarkets use some sneaky pricing tactics from time to time, so pay attention to the prices of your favourite products – and don’t assume you’re getting a good deal just because the item is on offer.”

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