The bad news this week is that, according to research by Asda, families are £11 a week worse off now compared to last year. And all thanks to a 7.4 per cent jump in the cost of living. The good news, though, is there seems to be a proliferation of supermarket budget brands that could help us all save a few pennies if we switched to them.
But would we sacrifice quality? I’m carrying out my own experiment to test some of these low price products, and determine whether I could see myself switching to them for the longer term.
Shopping in my local Asda I stocked up on an array of Smart Price products, the chain’s own low price brand. My trolley was a sea of plain green and white labels. Here is my shopping list:
Orange squash 16p
Peanut butter 55p
Bourbon biscuits 18p
Baked beans 20p
Tea bags 31p
Hot chocolate 55p
Tomato soup 18p
Chopped tomatoes 21p
Porridge oats 59p
Toilet roll 37p
Washing up liquid 44p
Shower gel 8p
I was pleased with my purchases, especially the shower gel – normally 23p but cut to a credit crunch-busting 8p!
So far I’ve sampled the orange squash, peanut butter, butter, porridge oats, tea bags, bourbon biscuits and hot chocolate. I have to say, I was unimpressed with the 55p peanut butter. Tucking into some on toast, I thought it smelt a bit funny and tasted horrible. It didn’t have enough sugar or salt for my taste, and later on I felt a bit sick. So I think it’s worth spending another 23p to get the Asda crunchy nut brand for 78p.
After that, I had my doubts about the 16p orange squash but was pleasantly surprised. It’s fairly mild in flavour although there’s a slight aftertaste, but it’s not bad at all with no added sugar and or preservatives. The hot chocolate was ok too. Slightly insipid in flavour – I probably needed more than my 3 teaspoons – but good for 55p. Although not necessarily for those watching their weight – at around 141 calories per mug.
I love tea, so I was wary of the 31p tea bags. As a student I bought cheap Happy Shopper tea bags that made grey cups of tea and tasted disgusting. The Smart Price tea looked slightly grey in colour too and lacked flavour but was drinkable. The 18p bourbons were a bit dry but improved when dunked in the 31p tea. The butter and porridge oats, however, stand up to other brands I’ve bought elsewhere.
I’ve yet to test out all the toiletry products and the other food products, so I’ll report back later in the week.
Do you buy supermarket budget items? How well do you rate them?