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Cost of living crisis: 36 supermarket value-range food products that have gone up in price recently

While some stores have raised prices for dozens of budget food and drink products since January, we found no increases at one supermarket chain.

Supermarkets have hiked the prices of dozens of value-range foods since January alone, with prices rising by up to 29% in some cases, an investigation by NationalWorld has found.

It comes after food blogger Jack Monroe warned that the cost-of-living crisis was hitting those on the breadline the hardest.

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Food prices rose by an average of 4.9% in the year to February, according to Office for National Statistics (ONS) inflation data.

But the campaigner had raised concerns that official figures measuring the rising cost of living understate the impact on the poorest households, after she documented inflation-busting increases to the cost of many essential supermarket products.

NationalWorld has been tracking price data over the last two months across almost 300 value range products at Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Aldi, to monitor which items are getting more expensive.

A snapshot of prices was taken from each supermarket’s website on 20 January and 25 March.

We found price rises for 36 products across the five stores between these two dates. The analysis is not comprehensive, as not every value range product was included in our sample. Prices may also vary in-store.

What brands are included?

While Asda and Morrisons are home to a single budget product line (Asda Smart Price and Morrisons Savers) Tesco and Sainsbury’s both ditched their value lines in recent years, replacing them with a range of in-house brands in an effort to keep up with German rivals Aldi and Lidl.

At Tesco these include Ms Molly’s (confectionery and treats), Stockwell and Co (food cupboard essentials) and Creamfields (dairy products).

Sainsbury’s meanwhile boasts Hubbard Foodstores (stock cupboard essentials), J. James and Family (fresh and frozen meat and fish) and Stamford Street (chilled products such as ready meals), among others.

Aldi carries an Everyday Essentials value range. However, many products that are not part of this specific value range have a price point similar to budget items at other supermarkets.

Below is a list of items in each supermarket that rose in price between 20 January and 25 March.

Sainsbury’s

There were 20 price rises across 96 value range products being tracked at Sainsbury’s.

The products spanned tinned foods, laundry, fresh meat, biscuits, condiments, toilet paper, frozen meat, and cheese.

The full list of items that saw price rises, ranked by percentage increase is below:

  • Hubbard’s Foodstore chicken soup tin, 400g – 31p up to 40p, 29% increase
  • House 247 biological laundry powder, 3kg – £3.50 up to £4.50, 28.6% increase
  • J. James and Family breaded chicken goujons, 270g – £1.25 up to £1.49, 19.2% increase
  • Hubbard’s Foodstore vegetable cup soup, 4 x 18g – 31p up to 36p, 16.1%
  • Hubbard’s Foodstore vegetable soup tin, 400g – 35p up to 40p, 14.3%
  • Hubbard’s Foodstore mushy peas tin, 300g – 22p up to 25p, 13.6% 
  • Lovett’s digestive biscuits, 400g – 31p up to 35p, 12.9%
  • Hubbard’s Foodstore English mustard, 180g – 40p up to 45p, 12.5%
  • J. James and Family fresh breaded chicken kiev with garlic butter, 2 x 240g – £1.60 up to £1.80, 12.5%
  • Hubbard’s Foodstore sweetcorn in water tin, 325g – 35p up to 39p, 11.4%
  • House 247 superior toilet tissue, 18 rolls – £4.50 up to £5, 11.1%
  • J. James and Family frozen beef burgers, 397g – £1.35 up to £1.5, 11.1% 
  • J. James and Family breaded chicken steaks, 500g – £2 up to £2.20, 10%
  • Hubbard’s Foodstore tomato ketchup, 460g – 40p up to 44p, 10%
  • Hubbard’s Foodstore chicken curry tin, 392g – £1.19 up to £1.29, 8.4%
  • J. James and Family British cooked ham slices, 400g – £1.85 up to £1.99, 7.6%
  • J. James and Family cooked ham slices, 300g – £1.39 up to £1.49, 7.2%
  • J, James and Family British cooked ham slices, 120g – 56p up to 60p, 7.1%
  • Mary Ann’s Dairy soft cheese, 200g – 65p up to 69p, 6.2%
  • Mary Ann’s Dairy hard cheese, 200g – £2 up to £2.05, 2.5%

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s initially said NationalWorld’s comparison was unfair, as many of the products were on a promotion in January.

When pressed, the spokesperson confirmed the promotion referred to was the Aldi price match, where Sainsbury’s matches or beats the price of comparable products at Aldi. Items are frequently moved in and out of this promotion.

They also provided a list of six items that had stayed the same or come down in price between January 2021 and January 2022, including Taste the Difference pork chipolatas.

“We are still investing ahead of our competitors on price, inflating behind the market on the fastest selling 100 lines and focusing on lowering the prices of items customers buy most often,” they added.

Morrisons

Morrisons only increased the price of one item being tracked by NationalWorld.

This was the Morrisons Savers soft cheese (250g), which rose by 12.9% from 62p to 70p.

Morrisons carries a much slimmer value range than other supermarkets. NationalWorld tracked the price of nine items.

Morrisons did not respond to a request for comment.

Tesco

NationalWorld found price rises across 10 Tesco value range items, with the biggest rise a 19.2% hike.

The rises covered fresh meat, tinned products, biscuits, cooking sauces, butter/spreads, condiments, and preserves.

There were 82 items included in the price tracker.

The full list of items that saw price rises, ranked by percentage increase is below:

  • Hearty Food Co breaded chicken goujons, 270g – £1.25 to £1.49, 19.2%
  • Hearty Food Co two garlic chicken kievs, 260g – £1.39 to £1.65, 18.7%
  • Grower’s Harvest mushy peas tin, 300g – 22p to 25p, 13.6%
  • Ms Molly’s digestive biscuits, 400g – 31p to 35p, 12.9%
  • Grower’s Harvest tomato passata, 500g – 35p to 39p, 11.4%
  • Ms Molly’s chocolate digestive biscuits, 300g – 45p to 49p, 8.9%
  • Stockwell and Co soft spread, 500g – 69p to 75p, 8.7%
  • Stockwell and Co tomato ketchup, 540g – 47p to 51p, 8.5%
  • Eastman’s cooked ham 30 slices, 400g – £1.59 to £1.69, 6.3%
  • Stockwell and Co crunchy peanut butter, 340g – 85p to 89p, 4.7%

One product being tracked by NationalWorld saw a price drop. The Grower’s Harvest 2 litre pure apple juice fell from £1.35 to £1.09, a drop of 19.3%.

Tesco did not respond to a request for comment.

Asda

Six Asda value range products being tracked by NationalWorld saw price rises in the two-month period, spanning dairy, frozen fish, fresh deli products, and tinned goods.

More than 50 products were included in our price tracker.

The full list of items that saw price rises, ranked by percentage increase is below:

  • Asda Smart Price long life skimmed milk, 1 litre – 50p to 55p, 10% (Asda said this product was on a promotion in January and the normal price was 52p, meaning the true increase was 5.8%)
  • Asda Smart Price four battered fish portions, 400g – £1.16 to £1.25, 7.8%
  • Asda Smart Price corned beef tin, 340g – £1.45 to £1.55, 6.9%
  • Asda Smart Price cheese and bacon quiche, 400g – £1.30 to £1.35, 3.8%
  • Asda Smart Price cheese and onion quiche, 400g – £1.30 to £1.35, 3.8%

Asda also decreased the price of two products being tracked. These were:

  • Asda Smart Price 10 frozen beef burgers, 496g – £1.62 down to £1.60, -1.2%
  • Asda Smart Price chocolate hazelnut spread, 400g – 99p down to 80p, -19.2%

A spokesperson said: “We know that many customers are worried about rising living costs and we are doing all we can to help keep their grocery bills in check.

“Despite rising inflation, the vast majority of our Smart Price products remained the same price or decreased during this period.

“The handful of examples selected for this survey are not representative of the pricing across the whole range.”

Asda recently announced that it will be replacing its Smart Price range with a new value line called Just Essentials from May.

Aldi

NationalWorld found no price rises across the 46 Everyday Essentials products we tracked.

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