Business was brisk at meat counters across the regions because of the foot and mouth epidemic, but only Asda Wal-Mart, Havant, showed evidence of panic buying. The store had plenty of fresh chicken portions, but no beef, pork, lamb, or sausages.

Other out of stocks on the meat front included frozen chicken at Somerfield and CA packs of bacon at Morrisons. Tesco, Baguley, displayed many empty shelves but only the large eggs on our list were missing. Safeway, Airdrie, had no pints of semi skimmed milk and late deliveries were expected for Kellogg's corn flakes.
Congestion around the fruit and veg at Asda, Gateshead, was put down to a new layout for the section and the crush was aggravated by late deliveries because of poor weather. Another irritation was at Somerfield where staff were loading home delivery boxes at the narrow checkouts.

This week's best buys included Asda's low priced rice, Morrisons' third off Anchor Spreadable and Somerfield's 30p off sausages. Bananas and apples stood out as good buys at Safeway but they were offset by mushrooms charged at £1.11/ 454g instead of the 99p/454g displayed on the shelf edge.

Only Asda, Gateshead, and Waitrose checked in full baskets, and Asda was the cheapest at £38.86.