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Pricewatch: Some bargains to be found if you shop around for basics



Pricewatch: Some bargains to be found if you shop around for basics

But that doesn’t mean we’re escaping pressure on our pockets altogether, because prices are still going up, though not at the same steep levels as before.

According to the latest report from research company Kantar, grocery inflation for Northern Ireland shoppers has now hit 8.5%, the lowest since December 2022. It said the rate at which prices in our grocers are going up was now in its ninth month of decline.

But business development director Emer Healy cautioned that prices are still high, with household budgets remaining under pressure.

She said that the annual grocery bill would rise by £476 from £5,600 to £6,076 over the next year if consumers don’t make changes to what they are buying, such as buying own-brand instead of branded goods.

This week, we’ve checked out the prices of some basic groceries in supermarkets Lidl, Mace, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

Tesco and Sainsbury’s are the region’s number one and two grocers respectively, while Lidl is the fourth largest, behind Asda in third place.

Lidl consistently offers good value when it comes to most basics. With a pack of 80 Punjana teabags costing £2.85 in Tesco and Sainsbury’s, it seemed at first that the price tag on offer at Mace of £2 was unlikely to be bettered elsewhere.

But Lidl managed to do so, though just marginally, by selling 80 Punjana teabags for £1.99.

It also sells 100g jars of Gold Blend instant coffee for £3.55, and continues to sell two litres of milk for £1.55.

There were no 320ml bottles of Fairy Liquid for sale when we called, though it was selling 654ml bottles for £1.94.

At the three other retailers, we’ve compared the price of 800g loaves of medium Kingsmill Tasty Wholemeal. Lidl doesn’t stock Kingsmill but it does offer comparable brand, Hovis, with an 800g loaf selling for £1.38.

The convenience offered by symbol retailers like Mace, Spar and Centra can’t be bettered, but there’s no doubt there is a premium to be paid for that convenience.

At Mace, an 800g loaf of Kingsmill is £2.05, while a 320ml bottle of Fairy Liquid costs £1.20. Gold Blend instant coffee costs £3.99 for 95g, the weight instant coffee is typically sold in in convenience retailers.

And it continues to charge the highest price for two litres of milk among the retailers we’ve surveyed, at £1.85.

Tesco sells milk for £1.55 for 2 litres, and 320mls of Fairy Liquid at £1. Punjana is sold at the higher price tag of £2.85 for 80 teabags – but there is a sweeter deal available, with 160 bags for £5.10.

It’s also offering decent value for bread, with an 800g loaf of Kingsmill Wholemeal for £1.30 – although a smaller 400g loaf costs £1.15.

At Sainsbury’s, milk is the same price as Tesco and Lidl, and Kingsmill Wholemeal a bit more expensive at £1.39.

It’s selling Gold Blend in 200g jars for £7, or £6 with its Nectar loyalty card. At Sainsbury’s, 80 Punjana teabags is also £2.85.

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