On the campaign trail one of the most common responses to a discussion on sustainable and local/farmer’s markets food shopping is: that it’s all right for people that have got money but that people living in the ‘real world’ have to watch their budgets and that means a trip to one of the big 4 supermarkets.
Let me share my response: if you use the small ‘local’, ‘express’ or convenience stores of the big 4 you could be paying up to 40% more for your shopping!
Yes, in 2013 an orange in a Tesco Express shop cost 40% more than at one of their superstores according to The Daily Mail (13/5/13).
Prices analysis showed that Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Tesco all put hefty premiums on the limited stock in their smaller outlets.
The average consumer doesn’t realise that there can be a routine difference of 11% in pricing between Tesco Express and its superstores whilst a sample basket at Sainsbury’s Local costs 10.2% more than at a larger store and Waitrose downsized branches can be up to 7% more expensive.
What price convenience indeed!
The second way that these giants hit at the pocket of those on a budget is, that they are often the only convenience store on estates, new builds, in poorer areas or in areas poorly served by transport links and so the poorest often find themselves paying the most for their food.
Plus we are changing the way we shop with an increase in ‘top-up’ shops fuelling a surge of almost 10% in the number of convenience stores owned by supermarkets in recent years.
Therefore the perception that these large companies offer the best value is one that is costing us dear.