Asda (WMT) was the cheapest UK supermarket in the month of December, according to research by online price tracking website Alertr based on the government-based consumer price index.
The supermarket took the top spot for the eighth month in a row last month.
Results are determined by tracking the prices of 42 items outlined in the government’s consumer price index “shopping basket,” which includes items such as eggs, milk, bread, pasta, rice and cereal, on supermarkets’ websites on a week-by-week basis.
Asda was cheapest overall during the four weeks of analysis in December with an average basket spend of £101.98 — £4.61 less than the previous month.
Morrisons (MRW.L) was the second cheapest with an average spend of £108.04 — £3.71 less than November.
Iceland was at number three with an average spend of £111.78, followed by Britain’s biggest supermarket Tesco (£112.76), Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L) (£119.22), and Waitrose (£122.53).
Online grocer Ocado (OCDO.L) was the priciest UK supermarket in December, coming in with an average basket spend of £123.59.
WATCH: Asda bought from Walmart by UK billionaire brothers in £6.8bn deal
Andy Barr, co-founder of www.alertr.co.uk, said: “As the effects of Brexit begin to emerge and the nation enters the third pandemic-related lockdown in less than a year, we could very well see the return of panic-buying within UK supermarkets, potentially leading stores to limit the number of the same item a customer is allowed to purchase.
“The stay-at-home order put in place will also see the demand for online deliveries surge once more, as those wary of mixing with other households will no doubt wish to avoid the busy aisles and queues of stores.
“A lot of supermarkets like to put deals on specific items such as chocolate and crisps to tempt consumers with, but with the new government laws being introduced in April, the buy-one-get-one free offers will no longer be available on these types of products.
“Asda, well known for its unbeatable deals and offers on such popular items, may find itself in a tough position once this law comes into effect, and will need to pivot to keep customer interest high with alternative, healthier options.
“It is interesting to see from this research that Tesco (TSCO.L) seems to be the only store to run out of items across the month, is this because more people were doing their ‘big shops’ there in the run up to Christmas or is it that they are failing to keep up with demand? It will be interesting to see how the supermarkets cope over the coming month and if we notice any significant price differences throughout this new lockdown.”
The cheapest supermarkets recorded the most fluctuating prices across items throughout December, whereas Waitrose and Ocado prices rarely shifted, according to the research. On one occasion, a 350g block of Cathedral City cheese at Waitrose was £2.62 across four weeks but then went up in price to £3.50 by week five. At Iceland, The Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate bar (360g) was £3.00 for four weeks but went up 50p in week five.
Teabags at Asda were priced at £4.50 in the first week of December, before dropping to £4.25 in week four. Morrisons tea bags — which were £7.00 at the beginning of the month— were reduced to £5.00 in week two, so despite the price cut were still more expensive than Asda. Ocado finished the month with the most expensive teabags at £5.85.
White bread at Morrisons was 55p in week one and two, rising to 59p during week three. A box of Kellogg’s Cornflakes was £2.00 at the beginning of December, rose to £2.70 in weeks two, three and four, and dropped back down to £2.00 by week five.
Discount retailers Lidl and Aldi were not included in the research due to the inability for customers to shop full ranges online and not having the same like-for-like branded products the other supermarkets stock, Alertr said.
WATCH: Will Interest rates stay low forever?