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Sep 05

Battle of the value brand: Which gives the biggest bang for your buck?

Reading Time: 14 mins

Which value brand gives the biggest bang for your buck?

Inflation hit 10.1% recently, pushing food prices to a 40-year high. Buying food and feeding families is a worry hitting many people across the UK, with food poverty and hunger set to become an even more regular occurrence in our society.  

Many supermarkets are working hard behind the scenes to keep the costs of basic essentials as low as possible, ensuring children and adults alike are fed across the nation. We recently wrote about how Iceland are offering interest free loans to pay for food and £30 vouchers for many pensioners across the UK. 

Our founder and CEO Jasmine Birtles also recently worked closely with supermarket giant Asda to launch their new ‘Just Essentials’ range. This range is a new, affordable range which aims to feed families no matter their budget.  

This led us to think; Which supermarket own brands give you the most bang for your buck? Similarly, we wanted to compare their ethical practices to determine their environmental impact.   

We are comparing four large supermarket chains: Asda, Tesco, Aldi and Morrison’s. If you would be interested in seeing a part two to this article, where we compare more value brands, leave a comment below! 

 

Asda

asda value brands

Just Essentials is the brand spanking new value range from Asda. The range replaces the classic ‘smart price’ range which the supermarket sold for many years previously. Not only have they revamped the name, but the packaging is a vibrant yellow, a sleek look. The range itself has also expanded greatly and now includes fresh fruit and vegetables, chilled meat, fish and dairy and frozen and store cupboard items. 

From the fresh meat section, you can choose from a wide variety of items as chicken breast and thigh fillets, beef and pork mince, bacon, pork sausages, gammon, pork chops, a whole chicken and even a beef roasting joint. The chilled section offers apple and orange juices, fishcakes, soft cheese spread, ready meals, soya drinks and even a delicious trifle. 

Good lunch box fillers from the food cupboard section include caramel wafer bars, ready salted crisps and chocolate chip cookies, which will set you back 53p, 82p and 39p respectively. The fresh fruit and vegetable range boasts 600g of easy peeler oranges for 75p, 500g of pears for 45p and 2.5kg of potatoes for just 99p. 

If you look to the frozen section you will find all of the family favourites and more, for just a portion of the usual price. Cheese and tomato and pepperoni pizzas are just 66p, four mouth-watering beef and onion pies are just £1.10 and for a scrummy treat, two litres of vanilla ice cream for only £1.02. Now that is bound to keep the kids happy! 

The cost of the essentials

After doing a little research, we found five of the top items people tend to buy when they go shopping. These items are: Bread, eggs, potatoes, bacon and juice. Here is how much they would cost from the Just Essentials range at Asda. 

  • White or wholemeal bread – 39p 
  • 15 eggs – £1.35 
  • White potatoes 2.5kg – 99p 
  • Smoked or unsmoked back bacon 300g – £1.25
  • Orange juice 1 litre – 69p  

This brings the total cost of these five items to £4.67. 

The ethics 

Meat

  • Beef: Asda’s Welfare statement reads: “We work closely with beef farmers to produce the very highest quality beef for our customers, whilst not compromising on animal welfare or sustainability. All of our beef is sourced from selected farmers that work to some of the highest standards in the world, continually improving animal welfare and working to reduce the environmental impact of our beef production”. They also suggest they maintain high standards of animal welfare throughout the supply chain. 
  • Chicken: The Just Essentials chicken breast portions are Class A, the highest grade in chicken and poultry quality. They also state: “We work in partnership with farmers to produce high quality, farm assured British chicken that has natural succulence and flavour. Our chickens are reared to high welfare standards in natural light by trusted British farmers.” The Just Essentials whole chicken and chicken thighs are also Red Tractor Assured. 
  • Pork: Asda’s Just Essentials pork seems to have no mention of any welfare standards or Red Tractor Assurances. However, other pork items on the website read: “At Asda we are proud to work in harmony with our pork suppliers, ensuring we always offer great quality, improved animal welfare standards and reduce environmental impact.” Whether this applies to the Just Essentials range or not, it is hard to say. We have reached out to Asda for further comment. 

Fish

  • There is no welfare statement regarding the fish within the Just Essentials range. We have reached out to Asda for comment.  

Fruit and Vegetables

  • Much of the fruit and vegetables within the Just Essentials range is Class 2 – this means although it may not be aesthetically perfect, it is extremely fresh and of a high standard. 

Eggs

  • The Just Essentials eggs do come from caged hens. However, they have the Lion Quality Mark, meaning they are laid by British hens vaccinated against salmonella. They are also Class A eggs, meaning they are of a high standard. 

How much would it cost to cook Spaghetti Bolognese?

 If you were to make a quick spag bol (a classic favourite of ours here at MoneyMagpie), here is how much it would cost for the basic, base ingredients of beef mince, Bolognese sauce, spaghetti and a cheeky side of garlic bread. This would feed four people. 

  • Spaghetti 500g: 23p 
  • Bolognese sauce 440g: 39p 
  • Beef mince 500g: £1.69 
  • Garlic bread baguette: 32p 

Total: £2.63 

Per portion: 66p 

Concluding thoughts

Overall, Asda Just Essentials provides a large range of goods, covering all aspects of a healthy and balanced diet. The low prices mean families and individuals nationwide can cook delicious meals on a budget, spending less without compromising on flavour. Whether it is breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks there is something for everyone. 

Although some of the meat may not be Red Tractor Assured, at times like these, every penny counts. Similarly, eggs provide great protein and nutrients to a diet, and although they are from caged hens, the price means many cash strapped people will be able to cook healthy breakfast meals for their children. 

 

Tesco

Tesco value brands

Although Tesco don’t have one specific range, they do have many value brands within their stores under different names. When it comes to fruit and vegetables, they have ‘Suntrail’ and ‘Rosedene’ and ‘Redmere’ Farms items. They also have a huge range price matched to Aldi. 

In terms of food cupboard items, they have Stockwell and The Hearty Food Co., as well as Grower’s Harvest. These are essentially the value brand Tesco items. They are created and sold by Tesco but are given names such as these, so customers are not deterred by the thought of buying ‘budget’ items.  

In fact, this sparked controversy when these brands were first released. Many people said the fictitious farm names were misleading, such as ‘Woodside Farms’, which one customer pointed out had produced from both the UK and Denmark. Thus, Tesco was forced to explain their decision and apologise for any confusion. However, this article is about the food, not the controversy – but context is always important. 

From the fresh meat section, you can find low-cost sausages, bacon, mince and chicken wings, as well as mouth-watering chicken goujons. The chilled section offers a large range of items, such as natural yogurt, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and even some delicious Brussels pate. The fruit and vegetables section has a range of fresh produce, including oranges, plums, grapes, onions, blueberries, kiwis, green beans, courgettes and garlic. 

Looking to the frozen section, you can choose from scrumptious treats, like a Ms. Molly’s Lemon Swirl Cheesecake for 65p, A Hearty Food Co. Thin Pepperoni Pizza for 66p, or a 700g bag of potato croquettes for just 90p. For dinners, you can get 1kg of mixed veg for just 79p! 

The store cupboard items will not disappoint, with a range just as big as that of the frozen and chilled sections. Tinned baked beans, chopped and plum tomatoes and gravy granules are all price matched to Aldi. 500g Penne Pasta is just 32p, with other cupboard staples such as kidney beans just 33p. For lunchboxes, you can get 8 Chewy Caramel Wafer Biscuits for just £1.15, again price matched to Aldi, or Stockwell’s 6 pack of crisps for 85p 

The cost of the essentials

As with Asda, we will be looking at five of the most bought items at Tesco and the cost of them. These items are bread, eggs, potatoes, bacon and orange juice. Here is how much these would cost from the value ranges at Tesco. 

  • HW NEVILL’S White or wholemeal bread – 36p  
  • TESCO 15 Eggs – £1.35  
  • REDMERE FARMS Baby potatoes 1kg – 95p
  • WOODSIDE FARMS Smoked or unsmoked back bacon 300g – £1.25
  • GROWER’S HARVEST Orange juice 1 litre – 69p  

The total of these five items is £4.60, 7 pence cheaper than Asda. 

The ethics

Meat

  • Beef: In terms of their value brand, there is no statement from Tesco regarding the welfare of their beef, except the mention that it is British and Irish beef. Tesco’s lowest price beef mince, price matched to Aldi, is ‘from trusted farms’, according to the Tesco website. 
  • Chicken: From ‘Willow Farm’ – the value brand of chicken from Tesco – the chicken wings, thighs, breasts, drumsticks and whole chicken are all Class A – the highest grade in chicken and poultry quality. 
  • Pork: As with the own brand beef, there is no welfare statement from Tesco about the ‘Woodside Farms’ pork chops, loins and belly – only the suggestion it is pork from the UK and Northern Ireland.  

Fish 

  • The Hearty Food Co. at Tesco is responsible for much of the value brand fish. Thei statement reads as follows: “Tuck in This product comes from a fishery that has been independently certified to the MSC’s standard for a well-managed and sustainable fishery.” 

Fruit and Vegetables

  • There is no statement regarding the quality or class of the produce from Redmere Farms, Nightingale Farms, Suntrail Farms or Rosedene Farms. However, many of the products have varying countries of origin, suggesting not all of it is grown or produced within the UK. 

 Eggs

  • The product description for eggs reads: “The Lion Mark is your guarantee that these are quality eggs laid by British hens vaccinated against Salmonella.” The eggs are, however, from caged hens. 

How much would it cost to cook a Spaghetti Bolognese?

As with Asda, we want to know how much it would cost if you were to make a quick spag bol using ingredients from Tesco. Here is how much it would cost for the basic, base ingredients of beef mince, Bolognese sauce, spaghetti and garlic bread to feed four people. 

  • Spaghetti 500g: 23p
  • Bolognese sauce 440g: 39p 
  • Beef mince 500g: £1.69 
  • Garlic bread baguette: 32p 

Total: £2.63 

Per Portion: 66p 

Concluding thoughts

Tesco’s value brand offers a wide range of food, with the total to cook a spaghetti bolognese costing the exact same as Asda – £2.63 for a meal for four people. The standard of some of the meat is unclear, however. The prices of the essentials are very affordable, with many being price matched to Aldi, and much of the value brand being a very good price. Overall, this is a great range and does not differ much in price from Asda.            

 

Aldi

aldi

The Everyday Essentials range is a large part of Aldi’s appeal for many shoppers and has paved the way for many other supermarkets when it comes to providing customers with high-quality, low-cost food. This range is the one many other large supermarket chains have price matched with, to ensure their customers are getting the most bang for their buck in a highly competitive market. 

Although it can often be hard to distinguish Aldi’s value brand from the rest of their low-cost and affordable items, they are there, ready to help you make delicious meals on a budget. As with Asda and Tesco, we will be comparing the prices of five different most-bought items in British supermarkets and how much it will be to make a meal to feed four. We will also be discussing the welfare statements of the meat, fish and eggs available and the quality of the fresh produce. 

Aldi is well-known for offering a large range of chilled and frozen items, as well as cupboard items and lunchbox fillers. They offer lots of great value items, from sausages, chicken and beef to snacks and frozen foods. 

The cost of the essentials

As with Asda and Tesco, we will be looking at five of the most bought items and the cost of them. These items are bread, eggs, potatoes, bacon and orange juice. Here is how much these would cost from the value brand at Aldi. 

  • White or wholemeal bread – 36p  
  • 15 Eggs – £1.35  
  • Wonky potatoes 2.5kg – 99p 
  • Smoked or unsmoked back bacon 300g – £1.25 
  • THE JUICE COMPANY Orange juice 1 litre – 69p  

The total of these five items is £4.64, three pence cheaper than Asda and four pence more expensive than Tesco. 

The ethics

Meat

  • Beef: The beef from Aldi’s value range is Red Tractor certified, meaning it has upkept rigorous standards from farm to store. 
  • Chicken: As with their beef, Aldi’s chicken is Red Tractor certified. 
  • Pork: The fresh pork items from Aldi are also Red Tractor assured and most items are British. 

 Fish 

  • The Everyday Essentials tinned tuna does not have much information, except a ‘responsibly sourced’ sticker on the tin. Other fish and seafood products such as The Fishmonger fishcakes and coldwater prawns are MSC certified. This means the Marine Stewardship Council have approved the fish as sustainable. 

Fruit and vegetables

  • A majority of the fruit and veg within the Everyday Essentials value range is Class 2. This means it is reasonably good quality produce. But, there may be some visual defects or changes in colour. 

Eggs

  • The Everyday Essentials eggs are Class A, with a British Lion stamp on them. They are however from caged hens. 

How much would it cost to cook a Spaghetti Bolognese?

value brands spag bol

Here is how much it would cost for the basic, base ingredients of beef mince, Bolognese sauce, spaghetti and garlic bread to feed four people. Let’s see how Aldi compares to Asda and Tesco. 

  • Spaghetti 500g: 23p 
  • Bolognese sauce 440g: 39p 
  • Beef mince 500g: £1.75
  • Garlic bread baguette: 32p 

Total: £2.69 

Per portion: 68p 

Concluding thoughts 

Aldi provides great value across all of its ranges, including the Everyday Essentials value range. Surprisingly, the cost of the five essentials – bread, eggs, potatoes, bacon and orange juice – it came to £4.64. This was 4 pence more than at Tesco, but fell behind Asda by just 3 pence. 

 There are plenty of options to choose from for delicious and nutritious meals from Aldi. Many other supermarkets are competing to ensure their value brand matches Aldi’s prices. When comparing how much it would cost to cook a spaghetti bolognese dish to feed four people, Aldi cost £2.69. This is six pence more than both Asda and Tesco. 

You can find everything you need to do your food shopping on a budget with this range. From yummy treats like crisps and snacks to lunchbox fillers, Aldi allows you to get it all without breaking the bank.  

 

Morrison’s

Morrisons value brands

Next on our list of value ranges is Morrison’s Savers. Morrison’s promises to ‘Feed the family for under £6’ with this range, and has expanded over the last few months. They also have a 50p and £1 section on the website, allowing you to browse the best bargains the Savers range has to offer. 

The chilled section provides a wonderful range of goodies. These include cheese and bacon quiche, cheese and tomato pizza and 12 pots of forage frais, 55g each, for just 80p.You can also find the daily essentials, like cheddar cheese, at just £.299 for a 625g block. Mayonnaise, honey, marmalade and jam can all be found within the Savers range, so you are covered for sandwiches and lunches.

Of course, there are meat products such as a pack of 8 pork sausages for just £1, chicken fillets, beef and pork mince and beef steaks. These fresh meat items offer all you need for a warming casserole or stew.

Look into the frozen section, and the selection is just as good. You can find frozen mince, as well as fish fingers and a selection of great ready meals for those days you are in a rush, or on the go.

There are some delicious treats too. You can get your hands on a 100g bar of milk chocolate for just 36p, or an mouth-watering assortment of biscuits, 700g of them in fact, for just £1.49. Muesli, long grain rice and long life milk are also included in the Savers range. For the food cupboard, you can find tinned spaghetti, sweetcorn, potatoes, peas and custard.

The cost of the essentials

As with Asda, Tesco and Aldi, we will be looking at five of the most bought items and the cost of them. These items are bread, eggs, potatoes, bacon and orange juice. Here is how much these would cost from Morrison’s. Please note, many of these items were not available as part of the Savers range, so we went for the next cheapest option. 

  • MORRISON’S White or wholemeal bread – 85p (Saver’s option no longer stocked)  
  • MORRISON’S 12 Medium Eggs – £2.05 (Saver’s option no longer stocked) 
  • Wonky potatoes 2.5kg – £1.05 
  • SAVERS Smoked or unsmoked back bacon 300g – £1.25 and £1.15 respectively 
  • Orange juice 1 litre – 99p 

 The total of these five items is £6.09. This is £1.42 more expensive than at Asda, £1.49 more expensive than Tesco and £1.45 more than Aldi. 

The ethics

Meat 

  • Beef: The Savers beef products are Red Tractor Certified to a high standard. 
  • Chicken: The Savers chicken breast pieces are Red Tractor certified, Class A chicken breast. 
  • Pork: The pork sausages and bacon in the Savers range do not mention the welfare standards under which they are packaged and made. 

Fish

  • There is not much fish in the Savers value brand, however the tinned tuna and prawns are responsibly sourced. The fish fingers, however, do not mention a welfare statement. 

Fruit and vegetables 

  • Much of the lowest price fruit and veg at Morrison’s comes under their ‘Wonky’ range. The Wonky range comes from farmers across the UK, meaning Morrison’s buys whole crops from them, preventing waste and paying them fairly. You can read more here. 

Eggs

  • Morrisons no longer stock their Savers range eggs. However, they were British Lion Quality, although from caged hens. The next cheapest option for a large pack of eggs is the 12 pack of medium eggs. These eggs are free range and British Lion Quality. 

How much would it cost to cook a Spaghetti Bolognese?

Yes, it’s time again to compare the price of making a spaghetti Bolognese to feed four people. How much would it cost to buy the ingredients from Morrison’s? These ingredients are; Spaghetti, Bolognese sauce, Beef Mince and Garlic Bread. Please note, in the absence of certain products from the Savers range, we have opted for the next cheapest item. 

  • Spaghetti 500g: 89p 
  • Bolognese sauce 440g: 85p 
  • Beef Mince 500g: £2.19 
  • Garlic Bread Baguette: 32p 

Total: £4.25 

Per Portion: £1.06 

Concluding thoughts

Overall, the Morrison’s Savers range not offer as many items as other value ranges. However, the items they do offer are enough to create delicious, budget-friendly meals. Plus, some scrumptious lunchboxes for the little ones. Although the cost of the essentials was slightly more than that of Asda, Tesco and Aldi, the price did not differ too greatly, meaning it is still an affordable option. 

Similarly, the cost of a spaghetti bolognese totalled at £4.25 for four people. Although this is slightly higher than Asda, Tesco and Aldi, £1.06 per serving is still an affordable, low-cost meal. The Savers range is definitely nothing to be sniffed at. You can rest assured you are still getting brilliant bang for your buck! 

 

Overall conclusions

value brands

Overall, each supermarket offers a great range of affordable products in their value ranges. They all offer items from different sections of the store – chilled, frozen, fresh produce and food cupboard items.   

At a time where inflation has hit 10.1% and food prices are soaring, it is more important than ever to find affordable and nutritious food that can feed your whole family, whilst sticking to your budget. Feeding yourself, your children or your loved ones shouldn’t break the bank. 

Our winners

For us, the winner for ethics is Aldi’s Everyday Essentials range. Pretty much the entirety of the fresh meat and fish in their budget range is Red Tractor Certified, the eggs, although caged, are Class A and British Lion Quality stamped, and much of the fruit and veg is British or locally sourced.

The winner in the overall cost category is a tie, between Asda’s Just Essentials range and Tesco’s value brands. Although the five essentials cost 7 pence more at Asda than Tesco, the overall prices within both ranges are brilliant and affordable. The cost to make a meal for four was exactly the same for both brands, and the prices across the ranges remain budget friendly.

Overall, our winner in the category for best range is Asda. The Just Essentials range is huge, covering all bases. Asda’s value brand meets the criteria for all shoppers – whether you are shopping for one, feeding a family or hosting a low-cost party. They have items in every corner of the store – fresh, frozen, chilled and store cupboard, ensuring fresh meat, fish and poultry is available, as well as snacks, non-perishables and yummy goodies are available to all.

Asda, Tesco, Aldi and Morrison’s are all doing brilliant work to ensure the nation is fed during this extremely unprecedented time. We cannot wait to see how these ranges continue to grow and change as time moves on and applaud these corporations for ensuring as many happy, full tummies as possible. 

Have you tried items from a value brand mentioned? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! 

 

 

*All prices are correct at the time of publication. 

**MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only.  

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Teodora
Teodora
12 days ago

I think that the new government in England would make enough for make the life of the people there easier.
That would be the principal goal of the another European governments too.
Bulgaria is also included in that group of countries.

That theme would be discussed for a long time in the future.
Kind regards,
Teodora
18.7.2022
Sofia

Tom
Tom
22 days ago

An interesting article. Thanks.

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