Tesco vs Morrisons: Price Comparison

Post length: 520 words, about 2 and a half minutes.

Back in October last year a new Morrisons supermarket opened as part of the Westgate development in Aldershot about three minutes away from my house. Two minutes further down the road is the town’s big Tesco supermarket. With so little between the two shops, I wondered how I could best choose which one I should shop at. I decided that, because they both sell roughly the same things, the only deciding factor for normal shopping (ignoring things like Tesco being 24-hour while Morrisons is not) is price. So I decided to do a comparison.

I know there are plenty of places which do a standard shopping basket comparison and the supermarkets themselves even track each others prices, but given my shopping is generally pretty fixed (and probably slightly unusual) I decided to put together a shopping list which best reflected my own weekly shop. Most items are standard weekly items, while one or two are less frequent (but still regular) purchases. There are a few notes and places where the shops differ, and those are highlighted in the table below along with the prices. Where I have a preference based on factors other than price the favorite’s price is displayed in italics:

Results

Item Size Tesco Morrisons Diff. (M-T)
Milk 2 pints £0.89 £0.89 £0.00
Canadian Cheddar cheese 250g £2.50 £2.00 -£0.50
Lancashire cheese 250g £1.78 £2.00 £0.22
Hovis thick slice white loaf 800g £1.35 £1.00 -£0.35
Own brand / Kingsmill muffins1 4 £0.75 £0.75 £0.00
Large free range eggs 6 £1.68 £1.68 £0.00
Baking potatoes 1kg £1.30 £1.20 -£0.10
Orange juice from concentrate 1l £1.00 £1.00 £0.00
Appletizer 1.25l £2.49 £2.49 £0.00
Own brand tuna 185g2 £1.09 £0.89 -£0.20
Lurpac lighter 500g £2.98 £1.983 -£1.00
Cadbury’s giant chocolate buttons £2.00 £1.99 -£0.01
Kellog’s Rice Krispies 700g £3.49 £3.78 £0.29
£23.30 £21.65 -£1.65

1 – Tesco don’t sell their own brand muffins in packs of 4 while Morrisons don’t sell Kingsmill muffins. The price here for Morrison’s muffins is for butter muffins.
2 – While the tin weight is the same for these two brands, the drained weight for Tesco tuna is 139g whereas Morrisons tuna is 130g.
3 – Lurpac appeared to be on special offer in Morrisons on the day of survey. While this skews the result a little, it seems like a fair thing to include.

Conclusion

From this sample shopping basket Morrisons win on price. If you exclude the slightly questionable items highlighted above (tuna and butter) the overall result is the same, although the price difference is just 45 pence.

It’s worth noting that the first time I carried out the survey late in 2012 the results were different and Tesco came out on top by a very small margin. I didn’t publish those results and I didn’t keep a record of the date of survey, so the evidence for this is purely anecdotal.

It seems to me, therefore, that it’s impossible to draw a firm conclusion at this stage as to which of the supermarkets is the cheapest long term. Given the two samples taken had different outcomes, and it’s clear that prices do fluctuate for the same items independently at the two shops, it may be that neither of the supermarkets is constantly cheaper. Further research is required.

N.B. All prices correct at the Aldershot branch of each supermarket when surveyed. Tesco 14th April 2013, Morrisons 18th April 2013.

Posted on Friday 19th April, 2013 at 1:40 pm in Obiter dicta.
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