Lidl pips Aldi as cheapest supermarket of 2020

Lidl pips Aldi as cheapest supermarket of 2020: German rivals top table of UK retail giants with lowest-priced trolley of 45 popular products

  • Researchers tracked the price of 45 popular products in 8 major supermarkets 
  • Which? calculated average price of each item and total average cost of ‘trolley’
  • Lidl was the cheapest supermarket in the study, with basket costing £42.67 
  • 34p put Lidl ahead of rival Aldi, with the latter’s basket costing average £43.01 
  • Waitrose was most expensive with average cost of the 45 items at £68.69 

Lidl has narrowly beaten Aldi to be crowned the cheapest supermarket of 2020 with Waitrose coming in as the most expensive, a study has found. 

Researchers tracked the price of 45 popular products such as Hovis bread, Knorr stock cubes and free-range eggs in eight major supermarkets for at least 100 days between January and December 2020.

The average price of each item over the year and the total average cost of all 45 items in the ‘trolley’ – taking the weight and quality of items into account – was calculated by consumer group Which?

Lidl has narrowly beaten Aldi to be crowned the cheapest supermarket of 2020 with Waitrose coming in as the most expensive, a study has found

Just 34p put Lidl ahead of its discount chain rival Aldi, with the latter’s basket of items costing £43.01 on average (file image)

Cheapest to most-expensive supermarkets 

  • Lidl, £42.67
  • Aldi, £43.01
  • Asda, £48.71
  • Tesco, £53.30
  • Morrisons, £53.61
  • Sainsbury’s, £56.38
  • Ocado, £66.83
  • Waitrose, £68.69

Lidl was the cheapest supermarket in the study, with the basket costing £42.67 on average.

Just 34p put Lidl ahead of its discount chain rival Aldi, with the latter’s basket of items costing an average of £43.01.

Asda was the third-cheapest supermarket with the same basket of items costing £48.71 on average – a difference of more than £5 when compared with Aldi or Lidl.

Waitrose was the most expensive supermarket in the study. The average cost of the 45 items was £68.69 – around 60 per cent or £26.02 more than a similar shop at Lidl.

All items making up the basked have not been revealed by Which? as the watchdog doesn’t want supermarkets to get a head start on what products will be included in their study next year. 

Which? said this is the first time it has included Lidl and Aldi in its annual study – which now includes own-label items as well as branded ones.

The group also found stark price differences between popular own-label products at Waitrose and Lidl.

Waitrose (file image) was the most expensive supermarket in the study. The average cost of the 45 items was £68.69 – around 60 per cent or £26.02 more than a similar shop at Lidl

Britain’s favourite supermarkets – how and when were they founded 

 1869 – Sainsbury’s was founded by John James and Mary Ann Sainsbury as a dairy shop in London. It became popular for offering good-quality items for low costs and had three branches in other market streets by 1882. That same year, their first own-brand product, bacon, came in. It had an operating income of £312million in 2019.

1899 – Morrisons was founded as an egg and butter merchant by William Morrison who had a stall in Bradford market. Its first self-service shop was formed in 1961. It had an operating income of £513million in 2020.

1904 – Waitrose & Partners opened its first high-street shop in 1904. Its founders Wallace Wyndham Waite, Arthur Rose and David Taylor sold groceries from the store in Acton. 

1919 –  Tesco founder Jack Cohen sets up a market stall selling surplus groceries in London. In 1924, he used the name Tesco for the first time when he sold his first own-brand product, Tesco Tea. In 1929, the first Tesco shop was born. Tesco had an operating income of £2,96million in 2020.

1949 – Associated Dairies & Farm Stores – which would eventually become Asda – was set up in Leeds. In 1965, the store became Asda when it merged with the Asquith chain of supermarkets. Asda combines Asquith and Dairies for its name.

1961 – The lbrecht family opened their first Aldi store in 1961 in Germany making it the first-ever discount supermarket in the world. 

1973 – The first modern Lidl store opens in Ludwigshafen, Germany, with just three employees and 500 products.  In the 1990s, Lidl stores popped up across Europe. Now, there are 11,200 Lidls across the world – with 310,000 employees. One of Lidl’s cost-cutting techniques include keeping all its shelves exactly the same size in every store meaning they can calculate exactly how much they need, keeping overheads down. 

2000 – Ocado was founded by bankers Jonathan Faiman, Jason Gissing and Tim Steiner and was initially called L.M. Solutions. In October 2000, it partnered with Waitrose and, in June 2001, the name Ocado was born. It started delivering food orders 2002.

 

For example, Waitrose’s own-label cooked and peeled cold water prawns cost £4.60 on average, while the equivalent at Lidl cost £1.99.

Waitrose’s own-label six pack of very large free-range eggs cost £2.47 on average, whereas a similar product was nearly half the price – £1.27 – at Lidl.

Ocado was the second most expensive supermarket in the study, with its basket costing £66.83, while Sainsbury’s was the third-priciest retailer at £56.38.

Supermarkets had to adapt swiftly to changing customer behaviour in 2020 as the coronavirus crisis took hold, with tight household budgets, panic buying and surging demand for home deliveries playing a part.

Which? said neither Aldi nor Lidl offer home delivery, and they would have struggled to compete with supermarkets who ramped up their delivery service at the start of the pandemic.

But Aldi offered food parcels for home delivery to help vulnerable people get essential goods.

Customers did not get to choose what was in the boxes, which included items such as antibacterial handwash, salted peanuts, tuna chunks and rice. 

In general, supermarkets sales were boosted by the pandemic – with Tesco’s sales soaring by 6.6 per cent in the first half of 2020 to £26.7billion.

While Morrisons saw its like-for-like sales soar by 8.7 per cent for the first half, profit plummeted by a quarter due to £155million costs brought about by the pandemic 

Aldi UK’s sales shot up by at least 10 per cent in the first half of 2020 – compared to 8 per cent the year before.

Asda – owned by Walmart in the US – said it saw a 3.5 per cent rise in like-for-like sales between January and March 2020.  

Sainsbury’s saw a boost in sale over the winter period, leading it to predict £60million more profit. Its like-for-like sales saw an increase of 9.3 per cent between November 1 and January 2. 

Ocado saw its revenue increase by 35 per cent in the three months to November 29 – following its joint venture with Marks & Spencer making its total takings £580million.

Its annual earnings will be over £70million – nearly double what it made last year. 

In the six months to July, Waitrose saw a 10 per cent increase in sales.

Natalie Hitchins, head of home products and services at Which?, said: ‘Many households have been under financial pressure due to the pandemic, so getting value for money on their weekly shop has become more important than ever. 

‘Our analysis shows that customers do not have to pay over the odds for their groceries.

‘Customers looking to save money this new year and cut down on the cost of their weekly shop should consider shopping around for the best prices.’ 


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Tesco founder Jack Cohen sets up a market stall selling surplus groceries in London. In 1924, he used the name Tesco for the first time when he sold his first own-brand product, Tesco Tea. Pictured: Tesco in 1967

Sainsbury’s was founded by John James and Mary Ann Sainsbury as a dairy shop in London. It became popular for offering good quality items for low costs and had three branches in other market streets by 1882. Pictured: A Sainsbury grocer in 1928

Pictured: A typical Sainsbury’s shop interior of 1963. Sainsbury’s saw a boost in sale over the winter period in 2020, leading it to predict £60million more profit

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