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Price of common household items surge at supermarkets amid cost of living crisis

Prices of common household items have risen at supermarkets during the summer, new analysis has revealed
Prices of common household items have risen at supermarkets during the summer, new analysis has revealed

The price of common household items has risen by nearly two pounds in the past three months, new analysis has found.

An investigation by the Newsquest Digital Optimisation Team has revealed that collective prices for ten common items in the weekly food shop at the UK’s biggest supermarkets have surged amid the cost of living crisis, adding further strain on the budgets of shoppers across the country.

We analysed the prices of these common items as part of our #YourMoneyMatters campaign, launched by us and our sister titles across Newsquest to help readers overcome the surge in the cost of living.

As we have seen a whole host of household price increases this year — from the energy price cap rise to surging inflation and food prices — costing households hundreds or even thousands of pounds extra per year.

We’re making it our mission to look out for your cash, offering money-saving deals, competitions, giveaways and insightful stories from your community on the impact this cost of living crisis is having on our readers like you.

The worldwide energy crisis exacerbated by the Ukraine invasion, the financial impact of the Covid pandemic, record inflation figures and a surge in the cost of goods, fuel and travel means we will all feel the pinch.

The Argus:
The Argus:

What items did we look at? 

Over a 12-week period between June 28 and September 13, 2022, we tracked the collective totals of 10 essential items in the weekly food shop at the UK's five biggest supermarket chains – Aldi, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

The items tracked were as follows:

  • Medium white bread loaf (800g)

  • 2 pints of semi-skimmed milk

  • Block of mature cheddar (350g or 400g)

  • Unsalted butter (250g)

  • Bag of granulated sugar (1kg)

  • Pack of 80 tea bags (caffeinated)

  • Medium whole chicken (uncooked)

  • Tin of chopped tomatoes (400g)

  • Medium Free Range eggs (12 pack)

  • Pack of 4 toilet rolls

To make the comparison as fair as possible, the prices of supermarket own-brand items were tracked across all retailers, such as Tesco’s 800g White Bread loaf and Aldi’s Cowbelle 250g British Unsalted Butter.

What did the findings reveal? 

The findings revealed that Morrisons had the sharpest rise in the collective prices of those ten items – from £16.96 on June 28, to £18.46 on September 13.

Meanwhile, the cheapest shopping basket for the ten items was Aldi, which saw the smallest price rise over the 12-week period – from £14.17 on June 28, to £14.87 on September 13.

Elsewhere, Asda had the second highest collective price increase – from £15.58 on June 28, to £17.12 on September 13.

Sainsbury’s had the third highest collective price increase – from £16.35 on June 28, to £16.94 on September 13.

Tesco had the fourth highest collective price increase on its items – from £15.15 on June 28, to £16.59 on September 13.

Here’s a breakdown of the collective prices at each supermarket: 

What has each supermarket chain said about the prices of these items? 

We approached each supermarket chain for a response to our findings and asked whether prices on household items (such as the ones we tracked) would fall in the coming months.

We also asked what initiatives each chain had to help shoppers during the cost of living crisis.

Here are their responses:

Morrisons  

In response to our findings, a Morrisons spokesperson told us: "This is an unprecedented period of inflation and we are working hard to keep prices down and competitive for our customers while maintaining high standards and availability in all our stores.

“Some of the initiatives we have introduced to help customers save money include our Café ‘Kids Eat Free’ deal which is a permanent offer that runs all day every day.

“For every adult meal purchased that is over £4.99, customers can also get a kid’s meal (served with a piece of fruit and a drink) absolutely free.

“We have also unveiled an improved ‘My Morrisons’ loyalty programme, making it easier for customers to save money.

“My Morrisons isn't a points based scheme, all savings are communicated in pounds and are available to spend immediately.

“Over the summer, our Community Champions partnered with local schools, community groups and HAF (The Holiday Activities and Food Programme) to help prevent holiday hunger and in our stores we run an 'Ask for Sandy' scheme where customers in need can go to any customer service desk nationwide and ask for a package for ‘Sandy’ or a ‘period product pack’. The customers will then be given a free discreet envelope with sanitary products with no questions asked.”

Asda 

An Asda spokesperson said: “We know how much the cost of living is worrying our customers right now and we’re doing everything we can to keep prices as low as possible on their shopping, which is why we are the best value of the supermarkets as shown by independent research carried out by the Grocer and Which? magazines.

“This summer we launched Just Essentials by Asda, meaning customers will be able to choose from a selection of more than 300 everyday products on the tightest budget – and when coupled with our Dropped & Locked price promise means that they can make their money go further as Asda.’’

Sainsbury’s 

A Sainsbury's spokesperson said: “With costs going up, we are working hard to keep prices low. We are investing over half a billion pounds to ensure the items people buy most often are on the shelves at the best prices and we are confident our Sainsbury’s Quality, Aldi Price Match campaign and Price Lock promise are making a big difference to our customers.

“In stores and online customers can now find new, low prices on everyday staples - from chicken breasts to mincemeat, butter, onions and strawberries.

“The bold steps we are taking to focus on value means all our customers will find great deals when they shop with us and do not need to go anywhere else to get the best prices on their weekly shop.”

Tesco 

While Tesco acknowledged the findings, the retailer added they also had other products with cheaper prices, such as H W Nevill's White Bread 800G at 36p, Willow Farm Whole Chicken 1.2Kg - 1.6Kg at £3.08 and Grower's Harvest Chopped Tomatoes 400G at 28p.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “With household budgets under increasing pressure we are absolutely committed to helping our customers, by keeping a laser focus on the cost of the weekly shop.

“We have significantly increased the number of value lines we offer and whether it’s price matching basics to Aldi prices, promising Low Everyday Prices on household staples, or offering exclusive deals and rewards through thousands of Clubcard Prices – we’re more committed than ever to providing our customers with great value.”

Aldi 

An Aldi spokesperson said: “We are the lowest-priced supermarket in Britain and our customers always pay less for their shop with Aldi.

“That’s why this survey has found that the Big Four supermarkets are, on average, 15 per cent more expensive than Aldi on a basket of everyday essentials.

“Value is the number one consideration for most households as they wrestle with rising costs, and our promise to our customers is that we will always provide the lowest grocery prices in Britain.”