Updated: May 17
You’ve probably seen the newspaper articles talking about the inflation rate in Ireland.
Or you may have seen TV ads from supermarkets claiming to have reduced prices across a huge range of products. Or they've suggested that families have saved hundreds of euros by switching their weekly shop to them.
We wanted to see for ourselves what savings are out there by switching from one supermarket to another.
Since the year 2000, the Consumer Association of Ireland (CAI) have been doing a study designed to track the price of an average basket of well-known goods. Goods that are Irish staples (Brennan’s, Kerrygold etc) to see how they change over time. For our study, we thought using this this same basket of goods would be a good place to start.
It looks at the average cost across Tesco, Dunnes and Supervalu and gives an overall indicator of whether prices are increasing each year.
As we started our study Covid restrictions were still in place. So we decided to keep our study online only. As per the CAI study, we compared the cost of the basket of goods across Tesco, Dunnes Stores and Supervalu.
We also looked at Lidl (via the Buymie app) however they did not they did not stock enough of the brands to be included in this part of the survey.
So we did an additional study which compared a basket of each supermarket’s own-brand goods mirroring the Consumer Association of Ireland as best we could. For our study we looked at prices across Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Supervalu and Lidl*.
Tesco, Supervalu and Dunnes price comparison - what we found:
In line with the Consumer Association of Ireland study, we didn’t include short-term promotional prices. Many of the promotions didn't apply to one item anyway - for example multibuy offers like 2 for €2.50.
when comparing prices across well-known brands, Supervalu, Dunnes Stores and Tesco prices were closely matched.
overall there isn’t too much between them when short-term promotions were excluded. As per the graph below, Tesco was the cheapest for this basket.
Supermarket price increases:
the items within our study that increased by the greatest % over the past 5 months have been Heinz ketchup which is up 14% across all three supermarkets.
the big 3 supermarkets have all increased their own-brand milk price by 13%. By contrast none of them increased the price of Avonmore Supermilk.
Kerrygold (+7%) and Irish Pride (+9%) also increased by the same percent across all supermarkets. It appears the big supermarkets close watch each others prices for big brands.
Which supermarket has the cheapest own-brand prices?
for our own-brand review we aimed to look at a similar basket to goods as the branded study. We had to narrow the study to include own-brand products that were available across Dunnes Stores, Tesco, Supervalu & Lidl.
when comparing the prices of own-brand products, Supervalu, Tesco, Dunnes Stores and Lidl were all evenly matched. Similar to the branded study, Tesco was marginally the cheapest based across the items in our study.
Own brands 50% - 60% cheaper than branded goods.
the biggest surprise for us, was just how much of a differential there is between branded products and own-branded products. Across the goods that we looked at Tesco was 60% cheaper for own-brand vs branded goods. Supervalu (52%) and Dunnes Stores (54%) own-brand items were also significantly cheaper.
we also compared the costs of own-brand household washing / cleaning products versus branded goods. Our study suggests that buying own-brands can save you 50 - 70% versus discounted branded cleaning products.
over the course of the year, the average shopper could save about hundreds if not thousands per year by switching from an all-branded shop to an own-branded one.
*As Aldi prices in Deliveroo are higher than in-store we didn’t include them.