waitrose and partners trolleys

Asda held off the challenge posed by rival loyalty-based pricing in this week’s price comparison survey, thanks to a basket that was 9% lower year on year, the latest example of how the supermarket price wars is driving down inflation.

Official figures out this week from the British Retail Consortium/NIQ showed food price inflation almost halved in March, down from 2.5% to 1.3%.

But in our first spot check of April, Asda’s £68.14 basket – £5.76 cheaper than last month and £6.10 cheaper than last year – helped push down average prices by 1.8% month on month, while the overall basket was just 0.2% more expensive year on year.

In total eight items were cheaper than a year ago, including the Magnum ice creams which fell 20% (see right). Of the few major increases Ben’s Original sauce was the biggest – up 14% vs April 2023.

But the biggest shock was that Waitrose also proved competitive – at least based on shelf-edge prices. With aggressive price cuts of its own – including nine price-only promos offering £3.40 in savings month on month – the upmarket grocer’s £75.02 basket was £6.88 more expensive than Asda’s but still good enough for runner-up, and cheapest for seven items and exclusively so for the Sheba catfood, watermelon and Weetabix.

It was 17p cheaper than third-place Morrisons’ £75.19 total, which included the lowest price for 11 items.

Tesco’s Clubcard Prices would have shaved £3.85 off its £76.55 total, making it cheaper than Waitrose and Morrisons but still £4.56 dearer than Asda.

Sainsbury’s loyalty prices had more of an impact, but it needed it. Factoring in Nectar Prices would have taken its total down from £77.70 to £70.66, leaving it in second place but still £2.52 more expensive than Asda.