LIDL has beaten its German rival Aldi to be named the cheapest supermarket of 2020, according to new analysis.
A new analysis involving tracking the price of 45 popular branded and own-label products such as Hovis bread, Knorr stock cubes and free-range eggs in eight major supermarkets found that Waitrose and online grocery trader Ocado provided the poorest value.
It revealed there is a 60% saving to be had between the most expensive and the cheapest food shopping trolley.
In a year when saving money became more important than ever for many households the analysis set out the average price of each item over the year and the total average cost of all 45 items in a supermarket trolley. Lidl was the cheapest, with the basket costing £42.67 on average.
The tracker covering at least 100 days between January and December 2020 found that the same basket with Aldi, cost £43.01 on average, the second cheapest – with just 34p separating them from their German rivals.
The analysis carried out by the consumer organisation Which? found that Asda was the third-cheapest supermarket with the same basket of items costing £48.71 on average – but still over £5 more than Aldi and Lidl.
Supermarkets impose new rationing rules after lockdown panic buying
And Waitrose was the most expensive supermarket in 2020. The average cost of the 45 items on Which’s shopping list was £68.69, around 60 per cent (£26.02) more than a similar shop at Lidl.
The study found there were stark price differences between popular own-label products at Waitrose and Lidl. For example, Waitrose’s own-label cooked and peeled cold water prawns would set customers back £4.60 on average, however the equivalent at Lidl only cost £1.99.
But neither Aldi nor Lidl offer a full delivery service and Which? says they would have struggled to compete with supermarkets who ramped up their delivery service at the start of the pandemic.
However Aldi offered food parcels for home delivery to help vulnerable people get essential goods.
Natalie Hitchins, head of home products and services at Which?, said: “Many households have been under financial pressure due to the pandemic, so getting value for money on their weekly shop has become more important than ever. Our analysis shows that customers do not have pay over the odds for their groceries.
“Customers looking to save money this new year and cut down on the cost of their weekly shop should consider shopping around for the best prices.”
Ocado was the second most expensive supermarket of 2020 (£66.83), while Sainsbury’s was the third-priciest retailer (£56.38). Asda (£48.71), Morrisons (£53.61) and Tesco (£53.30), as well as the discounters, all came in cheaper.
The pandemic caused a huge upheaval for supermarkets as they had to adapt quickly to supply issues caused by panic buying, staff absences in stores and further up the supply chain, and expanding online delivery services.
Two days ago Britain’s four major supermarket chains announced that they will ban shoppers who refuse to wear face coverings.
It comes after the vaccines minister said there were concerns about behaviour in stores.
Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco all said entry would be denied to those not wearing masks unless they had a valid medical reason.
John Lewis Partnership, which owns supermarket Waitrose, said it too was making face coverings mandatory and that it was also suspending click-and-collect services within John Lewis department stores.
Sainsbury’s also said it would use security guards to challenge those shopping in groups.
It was estimated by the Scottish Retail Consortium that the Scotland-wide lockdown from Boxing Day will see shops miss out on an estimated £135 million for each week they are closed.
Nicola Sturgeon announced all of mainland Scotland will be put under Level 4 coronavirus restrictions on December 26 for at least three weeks.
The SRC called for additional financial support for shops and an extension of business rates relief into 2021-22.
Which? also conducts a monthly price analysis for all the major supermarkets. In 2020 Aldi was the cheapest supermarket for six out of the eight months it was included in the price analysis, whereas Lidl was the cheapest supermarket twice. However, Lidl narrowly beat Aldi to be crowned cheapest supermarket of the year as the methodologies differed.
For the monthly price analysis, Which tracks the price of a range of products, which vary each month, and uses an average to find the cheapest supermarket for the month. To determine the cheapest supermarket of the year, Which tracked a selection of 45 items available for at least 100 days in 2020 and added the individual averages.