Map reveals how supermarkets sell the same product at different prices just metres apart
SUPERMARKET shoppers can save big by heading down aisles they wouldn't typically browse where shops often stash products for less.
World food and baby aisles are two key supermarket departments where shoppers can typically find the same or similar items for less.
According to new research by the Daily Mail, Morrisons, Sainbury's, Tesco and Waitrose sell items including cotton buds, apple juice, and chickpeas for varying prices depending on where you pick them up from in store.
And sometimes these differing prices can be just metres apart.
Deborah Shanahan, deals and features editor at consumer site MoneySavingExpert.com, told The Sun: "If you know where to look, you can often bag grocery items cheaper somewhere else in the same supermarket, sometimes even the same shelf.
"This is just one of many tactics supermarkets employ to help us part with our cash."
To help you better navigate your grocery shop, we've used the Daily Mail and MoneySavingExpert.com's research to highlight where you're most likely to find bargains in stores.
Head to the baby aisle for beauty buys
Baby aisles seem to be the best bet for cut-price beauty products.
The Daily Mail's investigation found a packet of 200 cotton buds in the beauty aisle at Morrisons for 70p but head to the baby aisle and the same sized item was 20p less at 50p – a 28% saving.
Consumer site MoneySavingExpert.com had similar results when it checked the price of cotton buds, cotton wool balls, and cotton wool pads at Boots and Tesco in 2017 and then again in 2018.
How to cut the cost of your grocery shop
MONEY.CO.UK has shared some top tips with us to help you keep your supermarket spend down to a minimum.
- Write yourself a list – Only buy items that you need. If it isn't on your list, don't put it in the trolley
- Create a budget – Work out a weekly budget for your food shopping
- Never shop hungry – You are far more likely to buy more food if your tummy is rumbling
- Don't buy pre-chopped veggies or fruit – The extra they'll charge for chopping can be eye watering
- Use social media – Follow your favourite retailers to find out about the latest deals
- Be disloyal – You may want to go to different stores to find the best bargains
- Check the small print – It’s always worth checking the price per kg/lb/litre when comparing offers so you’re making a like for like decision as a bigger box won’t necessarily mean you get more
- Use your loyalty cards – Don’t be afraid to sign up to them all. They all work slightly differently – work out what bonus suits you better and remember to trade in your points for additional rewards
Of course this research is now dated but in each case it found that items in the baby aisle cost less than elsewhere in stores.
The consumer site also found you could save by swapping related items to those found in the baby aisle.
For example, own-brand petroleum jelly in the baby aisle was cheaper than Vaseline found in a different aisle, while nappy sacks in the baby aisle were cheaper than dog poo bags found elsewhere in the shop.
Ms Shanahan told The Sun: "Supermarkets often charge a premium for items in the beauty aisle versus near identical items found in the baby aisle."
World foods is your best bet for tins, herbs and spices
When it comes to non-perishables it seems the world food aisle is your best bet for tins, herbs, and spices.
The Daily Mail found Sainsbury's was selling an own-brand 400g tin of chickpeas for 55p in the tinned food aisle, while you could snap up a different 400g tin for 45p in the world food aisle – a 10p (22%) saving.
The supermarket also had 100g of ground coriander for £1 in the world food aisle, while a 36g jar cost 90p – so £2.50 for 100g – in its spice section.
Again, this is backed up by MoneySavingExpert.com research carried out in 2017 and again in 2018, which found cooking sauces, dried herbs, spices and more up to 80% cheaper in the world food aisle.
Ms Shanahan added: “For herbs and spices, check out the world food aisle first as you’ll often get bigger packs offering better value."
Avoid grab and go aisles at the front of stores
Grab and go sections at the front of supermarkets and around tills are notorious for ripping shoppers off as you're paying for the convenience of not having multiple items to carry and store, or for items to be chilled.
But if you're not fussed about this and you have a bit more time on your hands to delve deeper into stores then you're likely to save.
The Daily Mail found a 120g packet of dried apricots in Waitrose, for example, was £1.60 in the meal deal section (or £13.34 per kg).
But head to the baking section and you'd pay £5.25 for 500g – a cheaper £10.50 per kg. That's a 22% saving based on 1kg.
Supermarket loyalty schemes – which has one?
MOST UK supermarkets have loyalty schemes so customers can build up points and save money while they shop.
Here we round up what saving programmes you'll find at the big brands.
- Iceland: Unlike other stores, you don't collect points with the Iceland Bonus Card. Instead, you load it up with money and Iceland will give you £1 for every £20 you save.
- Morrisons: Morrisons' More gives customers five points per £1 spent in store. When customers earn 5,000 points they receive a £5 voucher.
- Sainsbury's: While Sainsbury's doesn't have a personal scheme, it does own the Nectar card which can also be used in Argos, eBay and other shops. You need 200 Nectar points to save up £1 to spend on your card. You need to spend at least £1 to get one Nectar point.
- Tesco: Tesco Clubcard has over 17million members in the UK alone. You use it each time you shop and build up points that can be turned into vouchers – 150 points gets you a £1.50 voucher. Here you need to spend £1 in Tesco to get one point.
- Waitrose: myWaitrose also doesn't allow you to collect points but instead you'll get access to free hot drinks, and discounts off certain brands in store.
Meanwhile, pineapple chunks in the meal deal section of Waitrose cost £1.35 for 150g (90p per 100g), but head to the chopped fresh fruit aisle and it would cost £2 for 275g (73p per 100g) – a 19% saving based on 100g.
On a similar vein, a litre of chilled apple juice from concentrate in Waitrose was 95p in the chilled drinks section compared to just 90p if you delve into the non-refrigerated soft drinks and juice aisle. That's a 5p or 5% saving.
Waitrose says some products used in the Mail's comparison are slightly different, while its larger pack sizes can offer customers better value.
Swap health foods for the bakery shelves
You're also better off hunting for healthy treats in the bakery aisle compared to the health foods section.
In Sainsbury's, the Daily Mail found walnut halves for £1.50 for 100g (£15 per kg) but these were £4 for 300g (£13.33 per kg) in the bakery aisle – an 11% saving based on the price per kg.
The supermarket told The Sun that sometimes bigger packs offer better value for customers, as is the case for its own-brand walnuts.
But bear in mind the bakery section didn't come up top trumps every time.
The research found cocoa powder priced at £1.80 for 200g (£9 per kg) in the baking aisle, for example, compare to £2 for 250g (£8 per kg) in the hot drinks aisle – an 11% saving.
Be wary of the 'free from' shelves
Ms Shanahan told The Sun that shoppers should also be wary of the "free from' shelves for those suffering from certain food intolerances.
She said: "If you’re gluten-free, don’t make the "free from" aisle your first stop as you could pay a premium.
"Gluten-free products are dotted all around the supermarket, often without the hefty price tag – just remember to always read the labels carefully.”
Check the bottom shelf
Another tip from MoneySavingExpert.com is to check the bottom shelf as you could find larger versions of the same product that are better value.
It found ten branded items, including Heinz and Yorkshire Tea, that were better value based on grams on the bottom shelf compared to items at eye-level.
Again, its research is now slightly dated as it's from 2018 but it says the principle still stands stand.
Ms Shanahan said: “Stores tend to place more expensive items at average eye-level height, hoping we’ll grab and go. Crouch down and you could find bigger packs of the same brand, meaning more for your money per 100g/ml."
Another trick is to check the ingredients as last year we found supermarkets selling near identical products but charging more than double for own-brand items compared to value ranges.
We also spoke to one mum who's saved hundreds using scanners in Asda and Tesco to find discounts that aren't listed on shelf prices.
The Sun has contacted Morrisons and Tesco.
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