Sainsbury's Nectar Prices 008

The Grocer 33 ranks retailers based on price paid, loyalty cards included

Starting this week the Grocer 33 methodology is switching to allow so-called ‘loyalty prices’ in ranking the cheapest supermarket each week, and the first winner – thanks to its Nectar Prices initiative – is Sainsbury’s.

Including Nectar Prices,  Sainsbury’s was 35p cheaper than runner-up Tesco this week with an £80.80 basket. Sainsbury’s offered Nectar cardholders a £7.93 (or 9.1%) discount on its shelf-edge prices.

Its basket was £6.79 (8.4%) cheaper versus last month and £2.71 (3.4%) cheaper than last year. It was also cheapest on 15 items, more than any other retailer, six exclusively so (see the figures in green to track who’s cheapest by SKU).

The sharp price cuts from these deals meant average annual inflation fell 1.7% – way lower than the official figure of 2.9% reported by the Office for National Statistics for April, and  were down 2.7% on last month.

Tesco’s basket also delivered negative inflation: down 3.2% month on month and 3.5% year on year, its 6.7% Clubcard Prices discount equated to a saving of £5.45 off the total shop. It was cheapest for a dozen items and exclusively so for four.

Tesco would actually have been cheapest based on our ‘all-inclusive’ price, which combines all single-price promotions plus the unit price of all multibuy deals, You can compare these by clicking on the buttons at the bottom and top of the table below.

Asda would have been cheapest based on the regular shelf-edge (or ‘display price’), which we used previously to compare prices, but under our new system it only managed third place. At £83.84, it came in £3.04 dearer than Sainsbury’s. This was despite offering the lowest price for 14 items, exclusively so for seven. Inflation was also negative year on year.

Morrisons also offers loyalty prices via its More card, but with that scheme in its infancy there were none available, and despite being exclusively cheapest for the pak choi and plums, it ended up £4.28 pricier than Sainsbury’s at £85.08.

Waitrose actually offered the biggest £ saving of any grocer at £8.85 thanks to eight price-only promotions (with three multibuys also) but was still just shy of a tenner more expensive than Sainsbury’s at £90.74. It matched the lowest price for five items but was not exclusively cheapest for any of the products on our list.

WATCH MORE: How grocery can use data to win shoppers’ loyalty.