Easy shopping mistake at Tesco and Sainsbury’s cost consumers £818 each a year – how to avoid it


SHOPPERS opting for convenience instead of bigger supermarkets are likely paying hundreds of pounds extra.

Consumers buying the same 75 items at Tesco Express instead of a larger Tesco spend an extra £15.73 a week, Which? has found.

It pays off to shop in bigger supermarkets and online, if you can

The selection of items checked by Which? included Anchor Spreadable Butter, Hovis white bread loaf and own-brand milk.

The difference between the stores adds up over a year to £817.91.

Meanwhile, a comparison of 69 items at Sainsbury’s found that customers using a Sainsbury’s Local instead of shopping online or going to a larger store would spend an extra £477.93 over the year.

The selection at the Tesco rival included Heinz tomato soup, McVitie’s biscuits and Birds Eye Potato Waffles.

It’s important to note that supermarket prices regularly fluctuate, but Which? found steep markups at both Sainsbury’s and Tesco convenience stores on individual items.

For example, own-label sweet potatoes were 95p on average when bought online or at a larger Tesco, but £1.30 on average at Tesco Express – a difference of 37%.

Mr Kipling Bakewell slices were £1.27 online or at larger stores, but cost 28% more, at £1.62, at Tesco Express.

At Sainsbury’s the worst offender was Heinz Cream Of Tomato soup, which was £1.15 online and at the bigger store, but £1.37 at Sainsbury’s Local, a 19% markup.

Similarly, Birds Eye Potato Waffles were £1.71 at Sainsbury’s online and in larger stores, but £2.01 at its Local outlets.

However, not all items were more expensive at convenience stores.

Anchor Spreadable Butter Tub (500g), Colgate Total Original Toothpaste (125ml) and Magnum Almond Ice Cream (4 pack) were all 3% cheaper on average at Sainsbury’s Local compared to supermarkets and online.

Tesco’s own-label unsalted butter block (250g) was 2% cheaper on average at Tesco Express than at larger stores and online.

The price differences are likely to particularly affect those who are more vulnerable to food insecurity. do not travel to supermarkets for larger shops, do not shop online or do not have easy access to a larger supermarket.

Tesco has 1,966 convenience stores compared to 798 larger superstores according to its 2022 annual report.

While Sainsbury’s has 813 convenience stores and 598 larger superstores.

Sue Davies, head of food policy at Which?, said: “The big supermarkets have the ability to take action and make a real difference to people struggling through the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades.

“That’s why we’re calling on them to ensure everyone has easy access to basic, affordable food lines at a store near them, can easily compare the price of products to get the best value and that promotions are targeted at supporting people most in need.”

A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said the price differences are “because our Sainsbury’s Local stores are located in city or town centre locations and their operating costs, for example rent and rates, are higher”.

While a Tesco spokesman said: “We work hard to ensure our customers get great value at Tesco, whether they shop with us online, in a large store or in an Express store.

“Our Express stores offer a range of extremely competitive own brand products, as well as offering great value deals through Clubcard Prices.”

How to cut cost of your grocery shop

You should always check what you need and make a list before you go.

Prices always vary by supermarkets and it can pay to change up your shop.

One shopper ditched going to supermarkets altogether in favour of their local wholesaler, meaning they could stock up in bulk, at lower prices.

You can also cash in on reduced foods like yellow sticker bargains.

These are reduced because they’re about to meet their best-before date.

They’ll still be safe to eat or freeze to make them last longer, but it means you can pick up the same products at an even cheaper price.

Sometimes even timing your shop to stock up just as items are discounted on the shelves can help you get the best bargains – lots of shoppers have said this is in the evening typically.

Most supermarkets have their own loyalty schemes which customers can sign up to earn points and get discounts on products.

Tesco offers personalised coupons to its loyal customers through its Clubcard scheme.

Asda Rewards allows customers to collect “Asda pounds” every time they buy Star Products and complete Missions in store.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s revamped the Nectar loyalty scheme in 2019 to also offer personalised discounts.

Customers can see the deals on the website or app each week, and then collect the extra points if they buy the item in store or online.

Morrisons shoppers can no longer collect points through the My Morrisons loyalty scheme after the scheme was overhauled in May 2021 and points collecting scrapped.