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?
I compared the cost of various fruit* in Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Ocado, using MySupermarket, and here’s what I found:
|Bag of Apples
|£1.37 (Cox)||99p||£1 (Cox)||94p|
|Banana||17p||15p||17p (approx.)||19p (approx.)|
|Grapefruit||28p (Yellow)||28p (White)||38p (Red)||50p (approx. Red or White)|
|Grapes||£1.29 (white seedless)||£1 (white seedless)||£1.98||£1.49|
|Melon||£1.68 (Galia)||£1.17||£1.68 (Galia)||£1.49 (Galia)|
|Bag of Pears||£1.66 (Conference)||88p||£1||99p|
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!
How about vegetables*? Which is the cheapest supermarket in this regard?
|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|
|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|
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!
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:
- The Fool’s very own Recipes & Cooking discussion board
- Healthy living recipes from Tesco.com
- Healthy recipes from AllRecipes.co.uk
- Low-fat recipes from UKTVFood
- Healthy packed lunch ideas from the British Nutrition Foundation
(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!
* 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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