Sheila Eggleston Asda has trounced its rivals to become the best value supermarket chain for the fifth consecutive year, according to The Grocer 33 shopping basket survey. The company checked in 26 of the cheapest full baskets between June 2001 and May 2002. Tesco, its nearest rival, could manage only eight. Asda also improved its out of stocks record this year and staff earned the most praise from our team of mystery shoppers. But the supermarket chain to watch is Morrisons, which checked in five of the cheapest full baskets over the past year, despite receiving fewer visits than the top five chains. The lowest-priced full basket supplied by Asda was £37.59 ­ 30p more than a year ago ­ while nearest rivals Tesco and Morrisons were £37.85 and £38.64 respectively. On the fifth anniversary of the launch of The Grocer 33, survey, leading retail bosses praised it for being an independent source of information on what is happening in their stores regarding pricing, stock availability and shop floor activity. "It is the first page I turn to," said Somerfield group chief executive Alan Smith, while Morrisons senior trading director Martyn Jones asked: "Who in our industry doesn't read it with interest?" Every June we ask our shoppers to purchase the original shopping list, which made its debut in 1997. In the past Tesco and Asda have vied to be cheapest on this anniversary, but this year only Somerfield and Safeway checked in full baskets. Safeway took the honours, being the cheapest with a basket that cost £37.52. Price increases on Hovis wholemeal, Kellogg's Corn Flakes, Diet Coke and fruit and veg, coupled with the fact there were only two full baskets, helped to push up the basket to £37.24, £1.05 more than in June last year. l Turn to p28 {{NEWS }}