Asda Xmas 2022 - 3

Every little elfs: Asda’s frozen Christmas 33 special was £3.20 cheaper

Offering the cheapest frozen Christmas dinner has been the big battleground this festive season among the supermarkets as they target shoppers hit by the cost of living crisis.

So we’ve pulled together a special frozen-focused, value-driven Christmas Grocer 33, featuring 11 frozen items, including turkey and all the trimmings, plus frozen profiteroles and strawberries, as well as other Christmas essentials from cranberry sauce and Christmas crackers to Coca-Cola, Quality Street chocolates, mince pies and even Rennie indigestion tablets.

It’s the most comprehensive Christmas price comparison out there. And our survey shows supermarkets have worked hard to keep prices down.

Average inflation on our Christmas 33 was 11.6% compared with last Christmas – well below the latest 14.6% food and drink inflation figure recorded by Kantar this week.

Nonetheless there has been a steep rise on some items, including frozen lines. The sharpest inflationary increase was on the frozen roast potatoes, up 55% vs December 2021. And five further lines were up by more than 40% on average – the frozen parsnips (48%), cheddar (49%), brie (40%), frozen peas (44%) and bread sauce (42%).

There were also very sharp rises on a number of other festive favourites – the Bisto gravy was up 39%, the Paxo stuffing mix was up 31%, while the price of both frozen mince pies and cranberry sauce climbed 29%.

The price of the frozen turkey crown was on average 15.5% higher, however, despite the soaring cost of feed and fuel, and the avian flu crisis, while the price of the chestnuts fell 4%, easy peelers were down 2% and the Advent calendar was 1% cheaper. The Christmas crackers and cava were unchanged year on year.

So how did the grocers fare individually? It was Asda that came out the cheapest. Its £88.16 total was £3.20 cheaper than Tesco’s – though the latter would have closed the gap to £1.83 factoring in Clubcard Prices. 

Asda won despite the basket of goods costing £10.83 more (or 12.3%) than this time last year. But it offered the lowest price for a dozen lines and was exclusively cheapest for the Jacob’s cheese biscuits, pigs in blankets, profiteroles, Rennie tablets and walnuts.

Tesco kept a better lid on inflation, up 9.2%, or £8.43. And at £30.31, it was cheapest overall on the frozen Christmas dinner (Asda’s cost £31.20), including the iconic turkey crown, as well as the mince pies, mixed veg and roast potatoes, and matched the cheapest price on a further six.

Sainsbury’s joined the Christmas dinner value-fray this week with a Christmas dinner for six for less than £24 – including a fresh turkey. While it was £7.77 more expensive than Asda in our frozen Christmas 33, it kept the tightest lid on inflation with its £95.93 total up £6.50 or 6.8% – helped by the cheapest price for the brie, cheddar, Coca-Cola, easy peelers and frozen peas.

Inflation was more than double that on the Morrisons Christmas basket, up £13.76 or 14%, and it was over a tenner more expensive than Asda despite being cheapest for 13 products and exclusively so for eight, including the cranberry sauce and frozen sprouts. One reason for trailing its rivals was the price of its turkey crown, £25.29 – the most expensive of all the grocers in our survey, and up 26% year on year.

But the most rampant inflation overall was at Waitrose – £26.52 pricier than Asda at £114.68, and with a basket £17.89 (or 15.6%) more expensive than this time a year ago. Waitrose was exclusively cheapest for the Heroes Advent calendar and frozen strawberries, but only offered the lowest price for three lines in total.