Supermarket Price Comparison

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

I'm not much of a cook - my boyfriend is often the guinea pig as I attempt to produce something edible. My cookbook bible is one aimed at students - simple instructions I can do!  I've had some good results with it and I delved into it again a few days ago, looking for something new to try.

So, this week I shall be attempting chicken satay skewers with rice, served with a beansprout salad.

I then got thinking.  How much would this cost me if I had to purchase all the ingredients from my local Tesco?  By local, I mean that mine is literally down the street, it takes me less than five minutes to walk there.  Now, my usual supermarket is Lidl, followed by Aldi.  They are also pretty convenient - OK, it's a longer walk but it's doable in about 20-25 minutes.  Even better when they're practically next door to one another.

I've been shopping at Lidl and Aldi for a while now for a couple of reasons: my mother does the weekly shop there as they're generally cheaper than Tesco, plus it's not as crowded and stressful (we've all been there, trolley-rage, can't-find-this-product-where's-it-been-moved-to-now!? rants).   Admittedly, it's slightly less convenient having to go the extra distance.

But just how much would I be paying for the convenience if I chose to shop at Tesco?  Is there really all that much difference?

Out of curiosity I am conducting some research on this, basing it on my current shopping needs of purchasing all the required ingredients for my chosen recipes.

For the purpose of this exercise, I am going 'shop' as if I do not have any of the ingredients available at home. In reality I do have a few to hand already, but for the sake of a fair comparison this exercise shall assume that I require to purchase every item I need to make the meal.

Armed with a list, I have just paid a visit to my local Tesco and sourced the cheapest available option for each ingredient.  In most cases, it was Tesco's own brand - where it was not the cheapest, I have noted the brand.
  • 1 Bell Pepper - one large pepper: 80p
  • Spring onions - 60p for a small bunch (marked down from 72p)
  • Beansprouts - 50p for a 350g bag
  • Olive oil - 98p for a 250ml bottle
  • Wine vinegar - 54p for 350ml
  • Soy sauce - 89p for 150ml of Amoy sauce (marked down from £1.14)
That's everything for the beansprout salad.  The soy sauce is required in the main dish too, so moving on!
  • Sunflower oil - £1.58 for 1 litre
  • Onion - 39p for a lb (awkward that I can't price a single onion so I'll compare it lb for lb in both shops)
  • Garlic puree - 69p for Gia's 90g tube
  • Smooth peanut butter - £1 for 340g jar
  • Lemon juice - 60p for Consumers Pride, 250ml
  • Honey - 99p for 340g jar
  • Chili powder - 70p for 50g
  • Milk - 48p for 1 pint of semi-skimmed
  • Diced chicken breast - £3 for 377g
  • Long grain rice - 45p for 1kg bag
And finally, I shall require some wooden skewers to complete the dish.
  • Wooden skewers - bag of 100: £1.75
[saving 37p with the two discounted items, 4 items out of 17 were £1 or more]

As I was going round, noting the prices, I did wonder whether Lidl and Aldi could actually match the prices and come out cheaper overall.  Some of these items did not cost as much as I would have expected, so it'll be very curious come Thursday when I make my weekly trip to find out how much I'll save.

Not only that, but can Lidl and Aldi provide me with all the necessary items?  Will they have the skewers I need?  Can I buy a single bell pepper when I can only recall ever seeing bags of three?  Perhaps I have simply not noticed single peppers but it remains to be seen.  A few items I'm certain I can get for less, but there's a nagging doubt in my mind as to whether between the two cheaper supermarkets, can I in fact get everything I need?

I shall be posting the results early next week - I probably won't have enough time on Thursday and I'm off camping over the weekend.  Check back Monday / Tuesday for part two!

[I'm also pondering whether I ought to pay a visit to Waitrose, just to see the differences there as well!  We shall see.]


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