New research reveals NI’s cheapest and most expensive supermarkets
Tis the season to be thrifty...or perhaps not.
Shoppers in Northern Ireland are expected to spend an average of just over £72 on essential Christmas food and drink offerings this yuletide.
Some more affluent households will fork out over £364 on their festive feasts but, depending on where you shop, similar items can be picked up for a sixth of that.
A new study reveals the cheapest and the most expensive Northern Ireland supermarkets for festive fayre — and the difference between the totals at both ends of the spectrum is a staggering £311.33.
The ‘Best Value Christmas Dinners Report’ by personal finance experts at money.co.uk looked at our ‘Big Three’ — Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s — plus Marks & Spencer.
Its aim was to determine the real cost of a traditional banquet for families in 2021 — and to illustrate that it was possible to splash the cash, if you can, or make savings to suit your budget while still enjoying the big day.
Researchers bought a basket of 20 festive items which included turkey, pigs in blankets, sprouts, Christmas pudding, mince pies, mulled wine, cranberry sauce, Prosecco, yule log and smoked salmon.
They found M&S to be the most expensive option at £364 for the ‘luxury’ versions of the produce, although frugal shoppers can get away with spending £120.60 on their value brands.
The cheapest option for the Christmas shop was Asda, where a luxury basket will set you back £93.90, although their cheaper substitutes, totalling £52.67, represent the best value for money in the survey.
James Andrews, personal finance expert at money.co.uk, said the festive period is one of the most expensive times of year, so it is always wise to plan ahead and consider how much you are willing to set aside for your grocery items before heading to the supermarket.
“Asda has been crowned the cheapest supermarket in Northern Ireland for shoppers to fill their Christmas food and drink baskets,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.
“For those hosting, Christmas dinner can be one of the most expensive elements of the season when factoring in the price of meat, side dishes, drinks, snacks and desserts.
“This can definitely take a toll on an already stretched December budget.
“To cut down the costs for Christmas dinner hosts, it’s certainly worth bearing in mind that the fewer people you invite, the fewer you will ultimately have to feed.
“However, if you are looking to host a larger Christmas party, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask guests to bring some drinks, desserts, meat or even side dishes with them.”
He added: “For those wanting to splash the cash this year and go all out on a luxury festive banquet, buying an exclusively luxury Christmas basket at Asda (£93.70) can save shoppers £270.30 when compared to buying the finest equivalents found at the most expensive supermarket in the report, M&S food (£364).”
A comparison of average prices between each Northern Ireland based supermarket in the report reveals that purchasing only luxury Christmas items will set customers here back approximately £177.95.
Alternatively, consumers opting solely for own-brand value items will spend £72.36 — a potential overall saving of £105.59 on food and drink compared with their ‘finest’ range.
Furthermore, buying an exclusively luxury Christmas basket at Asda (£93.70) can save shoppers £270.30 when compared to buying the finest equivalents found at the most expensive supermarket in the report, M&S food (£364) — a difference of 288%.
According to the study, Sainsbury's (£129.00) takes second place, with Tesco (£125.10) coming in third position for luxury Christmas basket costs.
Asda ranks fourth as the cheapest supermarket for luxury branded food shops.
Money.co.uk analysed 20 popular Christmas dinner items across all four supermarkets and calculated the total basket price of our shopping for November/December 2021.
The Best Value Christmas Dinners report also analysed the price difference between value and finest food options in each supermarket to reveal where the best deals can be found.
Experts calculated the cost of the Christmas Dinners per supermarket based on feeding between four and eight guests.