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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Christmas dinner – Which leading supermarket came out cheapest?

Find out how Asian supermarkets compared with mainstream chains for a full festive roast.

Rising costs in gas and electricity on top of Christmas gifts for the kids and loved ones means that, for many, December’s payslip needs to stretch further than it ever has before.

Turkeys can be expensive. Research from a retail analysis firm, Assosia, found that fresh turkeys are up by a third from 2020. Tesco’s finest free-range turkey crown rose 33.3% with the bird costing £22.47 in 2020 to almost thirty quid this Christmas.

For the first time, Asda and Morrisons are going after the Muslim pound and have started selling halal turkeys. At £14.50 for a 1.2-2kg turkey, or £16 for 4-5kg, the prices are akin to non-halal frozen crowns. These turkeys have been so popular that they have been taken off their websites, hopefully inspiring the other market leaders to follow suit next year.

Turkey is the traditional meat eaten on Christmas Day. Image: Claudio Schwarz.

Asian Standard has looked at the ‘big seven’ supermarkets – Tesco, Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Lidl, Aldi, and Marks and Spencer to see which one is the cheapest for a turkey roast with all the trimmings.

To compare, I looked at the price of a frozen medium turkey, 2-2.5kg bag of potatoes, 12 frozen Yorkshires, 1kg of carrots, 500g of sprouts, cranberry sauce, gravy, sage and onion stuffing, and a Yule log for dessert, all home brands.

Being based in Bradford, I also looked at the price comparisons of local Asian supermarkets in the area to the mainstream shops. Unfortunately, the four shops surveyed, Al Halal, SaveCo, Manchester Superstore and Kanapeena did not have all ingredients, making the comparison a bit tricky.

Going into this investigation, I assumed, perhaps naively, that the budget supermarkets would come out on top. The results of this study pleasantly surprised me.

German food retailer Lidl scored second place, with a full meal and dessert costing a reasonable £19.84 however, the other discount German shop, Aldi, came in at fourth place with the meat, trimmings and dessert costing £23.12, being a little over £3 more expensive.

Asda came out on top as the cheapest supermarket overall. Image: Shutterstock.

Beating Lidl to the post is Asda, taking first place for the Christmas roast at a respectable £17.45, leaving a few pence spare in a budget of £20 for extras, if you are so inclined.

Despite Asda being the cheapest overall, Lidl stocks the cheapest medium-sized frozen turkey crown at only £12.99. In Asda, a similar-sized bird costs £14, and Aldi stocks it for £17.23. Turkeys from Marks and Spencer’s can set you back upwards of £60, but a medium frozen turkey is a pricey £25.

Coming in third place is Sainsbury’s with the sumptuous meal priced at £22.17, £2.33 more than Lidl.

With just 33p between them, Sainsbury’s snagged fifth place with Christmas dinner costing £23.50 and Tesco, coming in at sixth place, costing £23.50.

Unsurprisingly, the supermarket at the bottom of the list is Marks and Spencer. We all know that food from the Marks and Sparks’ food hall is expensive, but a Christmas roast with all the trimmings costs more than double the price of the cheapest supermarket at an eye-watering £39.50.

A Yule log is arguably the best Christmas dessert. Image: Kisoulou.

Traditional Christmas puddings is a decisive topic, you either love them or hate them or cannot eat them altogether because of the alcohol content. So instead, for our comparison, I chose a Yule log for our after-meal treat, as who doesn’t love chocolate?

The cheapest Yule log can be found at Aldi at £3.29, but most other logs hover at around the £3.50 mark, except for M&S. Marks and Spencer is dependably expensive and a Yule log will make your pockets £7.35 lighter.

We all want to do our bit and shop locally when possible but Christmas food in Asian supermarkets in Bradford is hit and miss, and more expensive.

All four Asian supermarkets sell halal-certified turkey, but the prices are varied. A full turkey from SaveCo, based on Thornbury Road comes in at £39.99 while Al Halal (they have three branches in Bradford) sells the medium-sized bird at £25.

At Kanapeena, a turkey can set you back £27.96, but at Manchester Superstore, it is cheaper than the mainstream supermarkets at £7.20 (although I had to question the labelling on Turkey, which read as sheep, and as a decade-long vegetarian, I had to ask twice about it).

Veg and potatoes are also a bit dearer in the Asian supermarkets than the big seven, but this is because they are not competing on a national scale for Christmas consumers. For potatoes, the best bargain can be found at Manchester Superstore with a 7kg sack of spuds costing only £2.50. Manchester Superstore was also the cheapest for vegetables, with carrots costing 76p and sprouts 86p.

If you have enough time and energy before the big day, it is worth shopping around for your Christmas meal. Perhaps picking up a turkey and vegetables from Lidl, and potatoes and a Yule log from Aldi to maximise savings.

Wherever you choose to shop, the most important thing is getting a good chef to cook it all. Bon appetite and seasonal greetings.

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