The Cheapest Supermarkets For Fruit & Veg

Donna Ferguson
by Lovemoney Staff Donna Ferguson on 13 January 2009  |  Comments 74 comments

Which are the cheapest supermarkets for fruit and veg? Plus, cut the cost of eating healthily.

So your New Year’s Resolution is to get healthy. But where does your money go furthest on fruit and veg?

Fruit

I compared the cost of various fruit* in Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Ocado, using MySupermarket, and here’s what I found:

FruitTescoSainsbury’sAsdaOcado
Bag of Apples

 

£1.37 (Cox) 99p £1 (Cox) 94p
Banana 17p 15p 17p (approx.) 19p (approx.)
Blackberries £1.50 £1.99 £1 £1.99
Cherries £1.99 £1.99 £1.98 £1.99
Grapefruit 28p (Yellow) 28p (White) 38p (Red) 50p (approx. Red or White)
Grapes £1.29 (white seedless) £1 (white seedless) £1.98 £1.49
Kiwi 25p 35p 25p 33p (approx.)
Lemon 30p 30p 30p 28p
Mango £1.28 49p 76p £1.59
Melon £1.68 (Galia) £1.17 £1.68 (Galia) £1.49 (Galia)
Orange 27p 28p 27p 38p (approx.)
Peaches £1.49 99p £1.58 £3.49
Bag of Pears £1.66 (Conference) 88p £1 99p
Pineapple 98p 98p £1.48 £1.49
Raspberries £2.99 £2.48 £2.48 £2.24
Strawberries £2.98 £1.48 £1.98 £3.49
         
Total:** £20.48 £15.80 £18.29 £22.87

Source: Mysupermarket.co.uk

As you can see, the supermarket charging the least for this wide-ranging basket of fruit was Sainsbury’s, where it cost just £15.80.

Compare this to Ocado, where it cost £22.87 - almost 50% more!

One of the biggest discrepancies I noticed between the two supermarkets was on strawberries, which cost just £1.48 at Sainsbury’s and £3.49 at Ocado. So watch out for this.

I also found that it was harder to buy single pieces of fruit at Ocado and that there were fewer offers on fruit at this supermarket than there were at Tesco, which offered the best value if you wanted to buy large amounts of fruit.

In fairness, Ocado does pride itself on ensuring its groceries are as fresh as they can be, which could explain its higher prices. Is this difference in quality worth paying 50% extra for? Let us know what you think using the comment boxes below!

Vegetables

How about vegetables*? Which is the cheapest supermarket in this regard?

VegetableTescoSainsbury’sAsdaOcado
Asparagus bundle £1.58 £1.59 £1.38 £1.79
Aubergine £1.18 99p 98p 99p
Avocado 65p 69p 37p £1.05 (approx.)
Broccoli 64p £1.01 88p £1.49
Bunch of spring onions 68p 74p 74p 78p
Cabbage 50p (red cabbage) 45p (red cabbage) 76p (Savoy cabbage) 89p (Savoy cabbage)
Bag of carrots 49p 73p 37p 65p
Cauliflower £1.19 £1.38 98p £1.25
Celery 58p 57p 50p 78p
Lettuce 62p (round lettuce) 62p (round lettuce) 68p (curly lettuce) 79p (curly lettuce)
Packet of closed cup mushrooms 69p 79p 74p 1.09
Mixed peppers (Red, green and yellow) £1.38 £1.38 £1.38 £1.55
Bag of new potatoes 89p £1.49 £1.48 £1.79
Bag of onions 67p 50p 89p 99p
Bag of parsnips £1 £1.09 67p £1.25
Bag of Radishes 69p 69p 50p 59p
Bag of sweet potatoes £1.58 £1 £1.58 £1.39
Sprouts 66p £1.29 £1.17 99p
Tomatoes 88p 79p £1.48 99p
Whole cucumber £1 £1 98p 78p
         
Total:** £17.55 £18.79 £18.51
£19.24

 

Source: Mysupermarket.co.uk

This time, Tesco works out the cheapest, at £17.55. Again, Ocado is the most expensive, at £19.24, but its prices are much more competitive this time.

A bag of carrots showed the widest difference in price across the supermarkets, with Asda charging just 37p while Sainsbury’s charged 73p. 

Your local market

You may well be able to find fruit and veg cheaper at a local market. But I think it’s still worth studying the lists above. That way, you’ll be able to judge better how your local stall compares against the supermarket giants.

To save money (and food miles), you might want to consider buying only locally-grown vegetables in season. These are usually cheaper than exotic overseas vegetables. Here’s a guide to the UK’s seasonal vegetables from the Women’s Farmers Union.

Of course, the absolute cheapest way to get your hands on some fresh fruit and veg is to grow your own. If you don’t have a garden, you could try calling your local council to see if they have an allotment free, or you could help to grow a local community garden. Check out the Federation of City Farms & Community Gardens for more information.

Who knows? You might even get fit in the process!

Healthy Recipes

Once you’ve got the ingredients for a healthy lifestyle, why not try out some new healthy recipes? You don't need to buy an expensive cookbook. You can find healthy recipes easily for free on the net. Check out:

(Again, if you know any other good recipe sites, please let your fellow Fools know using the comment box at the bottom of this article.)

Other healthy options

A balanced diet means eating more than fruit and veg. My top tip when you're shopping for other food items is to use Mysupermarket.co.uk. It not only allows you to compare the prices of goods across different supermarkets, it also allows you to compare the amount of calories in each item – and suggests more healthy alternatives.

For example, instead of buying a Muller Fruit Corner Cherry, costing 53p and 187 calories, the site will suggest you switch to the Muller Light Cherry Yogurt, which costs 27p and has 102 calories - a 49% cost saving and a 46% calorie saving!

Obviously a healthy diet is best combined with exercise if you want to feel truly fit and healthy, so I highly recommend reading my Foolish friend Rachel Robson’s excellent article on How To Get Fit For Less - and acting on it!

Good luck!

* To keep things simple, in all cases I went for the cheapest bag of fruit/veg I could find. The bags may differ by weight, but I tried in all cases to compare like-for-like as much as possible.

** These totals were changed following a mistaken calculation. Thanks to Fools for pointing out the correct figures and apologies for the mistake. Note to self: never rely on Excel again!

More: How To Get Fit For Less 

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Comments (74)

  • kybosh909
    Love rating 6
    kybosh909 said

    Anyone wishing to grow their own but do not have the land to do it on should check out rivercottage.net where a land share scheme is going on. its completely free and you never know that bit of waste ground at the end of the road currently housing weeds of all nature could be available to use as an allotment. Besides this there is fantastic information on whats in season and brittish.

    Also, if you want ot find local providers of seasonal and brittish produce try bigbarn.com, not just fruit and veg but meat, cheese etc...worth a look for all you foodies out there.

    Report on 20 January 2009  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • Gratitude
    Love rating 2
    Gratitude said

    If anyone can help me with my survey on Supermarkets, it would be much appreicated

    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=ZMQ3MHloFgs_2fdn_2bND3l55w_3d_3d

    Report on 16 October 2009  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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