The cheapest supermarket is - an off licence

Sarah Coles
Young woman holding a shopping basket walking past isles in a supermarket (blurred)
Young woman holding a shopping basket walking past isles in a supermarket (blurred)

Life used to be straightforward: supermarkets were cheapest, convenience stores were pricier but easier to reach, and off licences were open any time and anywhere that suited you, but you'd pay through the nose for the privilege of buying food and drink there. Now a new report has revealed that all that has changed.

The BeMyEye Grocery report used information from its thousands of app users (known as Eyes) about the cost of a handful of basics (bread, milk and eggs) at thousands of stores.

Astonishingly, it found that the cheapest place to buy these items was in an off licence (£1.46) followed by a supermarket and then convenience stores. The cheapest price in the supermarkets for all three was £1.81 - with Asda and Tesco the cheapest brands.

The most expensive loaves of bread were all in branches of Londis - in central London, Abingdon, and in Beaconsfield.

So should you ditch the weekly shop in favour of a spin around the nearest off licence?

Probably not.

The flip side

Aside from the basics, the researchers also investigated seven other items - to produce a basket of ten items. When you took the entire basket into consideration, supermarkets were cheaper overall.

Convenience stores only came out cheapest for Kit Kats and avocados - and off licences were cheaper for the basics and Pot Noodles.

In some parts of the country, the items were far more expensive in a convenience store. In Oxfordshire, the bread milk and eggs were 58% more expensive than a nearby supermarket and in Buckinghamshire the gap was 75%. In Greater London convenience stores are 23% more expensive, and in Gloucester the difference is just 6%.

What should we do?

This report doesn't quite reveal the cheapest place for you to shop, but it shows how essential it is to shop around. It's always worth using to track down prices at the big supermarkets, Aldi, Poundland and Iceland. It's then worth checking any other local discounters, markets, convenience stores and even the off licence, to see who is offering the best deal.

You'd be forgiven for thinking there's no way you'll get a better deal at a small corner shop than a mega-brand supermarket. However, if you're an avocado fan, you could be in for a pleasant surprise.