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We bought the same 7 items from 8 supermarkets – and there was a big difference

With households facing rising prices for food, energy and petrol, we are all keeping a very close eye on our spending, especially as we move towards winter and Christmas.

The boss of Heinz recently warned that the company was increasing prices of products including ketchup and baked beans – and said consumers would need to get used to paying more.

He blamed it on the lack of truck drivers in the UK, labour shortages and an increase in logistics costs in the US.

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And the owner of the UK’s biggest poultry supplier said the cost of chicken is expected to rise by more than 10 per cent in response to supply chain issues, the Mirror reported.

Ranjit Singh Boparan, the owner of Bernard Matthews and 2 Sisters Food Group, said: “The days when you could feed a family of four with a £3 chicken are coming to an end. We need transparent, honest pricing. This is a reset and we need to spell out what this will mean.

“Food is too cheap. In relative terms, a chicken today is cheaper to buy than it was 20 years ago.”

So where does that leave us as we dash out to get our groceries every week?

Our sister title the Manchester Evening News decided to take a look at the prices of seven items in eight different supermarket chains, to see how the checkout bill varied. Does this give us any clues on saving money, or where we might be spending more than we need to on essentials?

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The M.E.N.’s parents editor Emma Gill decided to compare the prices of a Warburtons Toastie loaf, butter, baked beans, beef mince, eggs, Heinz Tomato Ketchup and Pringles.

In the majority of cases, she did a like-for-like comparison, though not all stores had 5 per cent fat mince available. And as Aldi and Lidl do not sell individual cans of Heinz beans, she went for their own-brand versions instead and then adjusted the comparison accordingly.

It’s only when you scrutinise products in this way that you see the slight differences that hit us all in the pocket, such as the packs of mince from the Co-op and Iceland being smaller than your typical 500g pack, at 450g and 425g retrospectively.

And who knew that large packs of Pringles come in different sizes? Every supermarket had 200g packs, except for Lidl, where the pack was 165g.

Not all products were in stock either – we’re becoming quite accustomed to seeing empty shelves due to ongoing supply issues. Where items weren’t available, we included the current prices anyway.

How do prices compare at different supermarkets? We decided to find out

Here’s the shopping list and total for each supermarket

Aldi

Warburtons Toastie loaf 800g – £1.10

Butter 250g -£1.48

Beans – 30p (+55p for true comparison with Heinz) – 85p

Beef mince 500g pack – £2.59

Eggs – six large free range – 99p

Heinz Tomato Ketchup – £2.79 for larger 800ml, cost for 500ml equates to £1.74

Pringles – £1.49

Total – £10.24

Tesco

Warburtons Toastie loaf 800g – £1.10

Butter 250g – £1.48

Beans – 85p

Beef mince 500g pack – £2.59

Eggs – six large free range – £1.10

Heinz Tomato Ketchup – £2

Pringles – £1.49

Total – £10.61

The items bought from Lidl in the supermarket price comparison
The items bought from Lidl in the supermarket price comparison

Lidl

Warburtons Toastie loaf 800g – £1.10

Butter 250g – £1.48

Beans – 30p (+55p for true comparison with Heinz) – 85p

Beef mince 500g pack – £2.29 (only 10% fat available)

Eggs – six large free range – £1.59

Heinz Tomato Ketchup – £1.99

Pringles – £1.49

Total – £10.79

Iceland

Warburtons Toastie loaf 800g – £1.10

Butter 250g – £1.49

Beans – 85p

Beef mince 425g pack – (only 12% fat available) £3

Eggs – six large free range – £1

Heinz Tomato Ketchup – £2

Pringles – £1.50

Total – £10.94

Asda

Warburtons Toastie loaf 800g – £1.10

Butter 250g – £1.48

Beans – 85p

Beef mince 500g pack – £2.79

Eggs – six large free range – £1.50

Heinz Tomato Ketchup – £1.99

Pringles – £1.50

Total – £11.21

Sainsbury’s

Warburtons Toastie loaf 800g – £1.10

Butter 250g – £1.48

Beans – 85p

Beef mince 500g pack – £2.79

Eggs – six large free range – £1.10

Heinz Tomato Ketchup – £2.40

Pringles – £1.50

Total – £11.22

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Morrisons

Warburtons Toastie loaf 800g – £1.69 (out of stock)

Butter 250g – £1.75

Beans – £1.20

Beef mince (slightly larger 525g pack) – £3.75

Eggs – six large free range – £1

Heinz Tomato Ketchup – £2.70

Pringles – £1.65

Total – £13.74

Co-op

Warburtons Toastie loaf 800g – £1.20 (out of stock)

Butter 250g – £1.70

Beans – £1

Beef mince 450g pack – (only 12% fat available) £2.75

Eggs – six large free range – £1.85 (out of stock)

Heinz Tomato Ketchup – £2.55

Pringles – £3.30

Total – £14.35

Perhaps unsurprisingly Aldi came out as being the cheapest, with the seven items costing £10.24. Tesco, which price matches many of Aldi’s products, followed closely with a total of £10.61.

But what was surprising was the price difference to the most expensive, the Co-op, where the £14.35 bill was a staggering 40 percent higher.

This was due in part to the most expensive Pringles of them all – at £3.30 for a tube, more than double the £1.50 price from other retailers.

Their eggs were the dearest too, at £1.85 for six large free range – 85p more expensive than the majority of places.

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What’s clear is there are still offers to be had if you can shop around – and ones that make a big difference to your overall bill.

And while the Co-op doesn’t fare particularly well in our comparison, it also has some great offers, with the £5 frozen meal deal always a big hit with families.

A spokesperson for the Co-op said: “We always aim to provide convenience alongside value for money to our members and customers, and we are overall competitive, leading the way in Fairtrade, 100% British meat in all our products, cruelty free and many other ethical and sourcing policies.

“However, we’re a convenience store, not a superstore or discount retailer, which means we have higher running costs, especially due to the urban locations of most of our stores.

“Equally due to our urban and residential locations, delivery costs can be higher. We don’t claim to always be the cheapest, however we do regularly invest to help cut the cost of everyday food, run market leading promotions throughout the year and our Honest Value range consists of many everyday essentials at low prices.”

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