shopping

M&S - Gluten vs Gluten Free Basket Comparison

Marks & Sparks basket prices are put to the test; how expensive really is M&S in comparison to the other supermarkets?

Visit our blog page to read the introduction to the Glee gluten free basket comparison so you know what it’s all about, or click here.

So far, we’ve compared the prices at Morrisons and Sainsbury’s so make sure you check out the blogs below before you read this week’s.

Just a reminder, we’re comparing the price of 9 gluten free products with their gluten containing version across 8 of the UK’s major supermarkets to see where the cheapest place to shop for gluten free is.

Of course, we know that cheap isn’t always best (especially for gluten free) but this comparison will allow us to clearly highlight the price differences between basic gluten and gluten free items and see how prices vary between the supermarkets.

We’ve created a dedicated comparison page on our website to keep track of the supermarket prices we’re reviewing. Click here to see the leaderboard 🏆

Up this week, it’s Marks & Spencer!

Porridge oats

Porridge Oats 500g
£1.65
33p per 100g

Made Without Porridge Oats 500g
£2.40
48p per 100g

M&S normal porridge oats are £1.65 for a 500g pack vs gluten free oats which are priced at £2.40 for the same amount, 500g.

By shopping at M&S, you would be paying  75p  more for the gluten free oats which is a  45%  increase in product price. Not too bad for M&S so far…

Because the two items both weigh the same, if you work our the price per weight, then gluten free oats are  15p  more, which is another increase of  45% .

Box of cereal

Special Flakes 500g
£2.00
40p per 100g

Made Without Special Flakes 375g
£2.10
56p per 100g

M&S own special flakes are £2.00 for a 500g pack with the gluten free cereal coming in only 10p more expensive, but for 125g less, at £2.10.

So, looking at the product price only, buying gluten free cereal means you’re only spending  10p  more which is a tiny  5%  increase.

However, this is why we always need to consider the price per 100g, because although the gluten free cereal is only 10p more per product, you aren’t getting the same amount for your money. Per 100g, gluten free cereal is  16p  more expensive which is a much bigger increase of  40% .

Loaf of white/brown/seeded bread

Seeded Loaf 400g
£1.30
33p per 100g

Made Without Seeded Loaf 400g
£3.00
75p per 100g

Back up to the bigger difference now with a 400g seeded loaf at M&S costing you £1.30, whereas a 400g gluten free seeded loaf setting you back £3.00; more than double the price of the normal loaf!

Buying the gluten free loaf means you’re spending  £1.70  more, which is a percentage increase of  131% .

Per 100g, the gluten free loaf costs  43p  more and that’s another  131%  increase.

Pack of 4 white/brown/seeded bread rolls

6 White Rolls 350g
£1.85
53p per 100g

Made Without 4 White Rolls 300g
£2.90
97p per 100g

For the rolls, my M&S didn’t have a 4 pack so the only option was a 6 pack. The 6 pack of gluten rolls cost £1.85 whereas the 4 pack of gluten free rolls cost £2.90.

That’s a price increase of  £1.05  for the gluten free rolls which is  57%  more expensive than the gluten product even though you’re getting 2 less rolls.

So, per 100g, the gluten free rolls cost  44p  more with an  83%  increase.

Pasta

Penne Pasta 500g
£0.75
15 p per 100g

Made Without Penne Pasta 500g
£1.75
35p per 100g

M&S has launched a campaign called ‘Remarksable’ which aims to offer everyday staples at a lower price. The normal penne pasta is included in this range and costs 75p (matching Sainsbury’s price for all pasta) but unfortunately, they haven’t included their gluten free pasta in the lower price range which is priced at £1.75.

The price of gluten free pasta at M&S is  £1.00  more than it’s normal range pasta and that is a  133%  increase.

Considering that the ingredients in the M&S gluten free pasta are exactly the same as what’s in other gluten free pasta, like Morrisons, you’re paying a lot more shopping at M&S.

Per 100g, gluten free pasta at M&S is  20p  more and is  133%  more expensive than the normal pasta.

Spaghetti

Spaghetti 500g
£0.75
15p per 100g

Made Without Spaghetti 500g
£1.75
35p per 100g

The spaghetti prices are exactly the same as the pasta, with the normal spaghetti also included in the M&S ‘Remarksable’ deal which is 75p but gluten free at £1.75, both weighing 500g.

Again, that means that the gluten free spaghetti costs  £1.00  more and is  133%  more expensive than the normal spaghetti.

Per 100g, the gluten free spaghetti costs  20p  more and is a  133%  increase.

Plain flour

Plain Flour 1.5kg
£0.85
6p per 100g

Made Without Plain White Flour 1kg
£2.00
20p per 100g

M&S do have their own gluten free flour which is priced at £2.00 for 1kg but their own branded normal flour comes in more than half the price at 85p for 500g more.

So the gluten free flour is  £1.15  more expensive and that’s  135%  more expensive than the standard flour.

But, when you consider the prices per 100g, it get’s even more expensive; the gluten free flour is  14p  more expensive which is a large 253%  increase.

Digestive biscuits

Digestive Biscuits 400g
£0.80
20p per 100g

Made Without Digestive Biscuits 150g
£1.50
£1.00 per 100g

If there’s anything I’ve learnt from this supermarket comparison so far, it’s that the price of basic gluten free digestive biscuits are so much more expensive than the normal gluten range. A normal 400g packet of digestive biscuits will cost you 80p but for a 150g pack of gluten free digestive biscuits, you’ll be spending £1.50.

That means that you’re spending  70p  more having to buy gluten free digestive biscuits which is an  88%  increase on price per product.

That might not seem so bad, but like always, when you consider how much you’re getting for those two prices, it’s clear that there’s an unfair price difference. For the normal digestives, you’re getting 400g worth but for the gluten free digestives, you’re only getting 150g. That’s less than half the amount and means that per 100g, the gluten free biscuits are  80p  more expensive with a big percentage increase of  400% . Not quite as bad as Sainsbury’s, as that was a 554% increase, but still a big one!

Gravy Granules

Gravy 350g
£2.40
69p per 100g

Made Without Gravy 300g
£2.90
97p per 100g

Searching M&S, I didn’t find any gravy granules for normal or gluten free but they did have pre-mixed packaged gravy for both, so that’s what we’re comparing. They also didn’t have an image of the gluten free gravy online, so we’re stuck with mine!

Whilst the 350g packet of gravy containing wheat will cost you £2.40, gluten free gravy will cost £2.90 for 300g.

For gluten free gravy, you’re having to spend  50p  more for the product which is a  21%  increase on the gluten containing pack.

Per 100g, that’s  28p  more expensive and an increase of  41% , when you’re buying gluten free.

THE RESULTS!  

Gluten Basket
Total cost £12.35
Per 100g £2.83

Gluten Free Basket
Total cost £20.30
Per 100g £5.62

So, the baskets have been filled and the total price for each basket has been calculated. At M&S, the basket containing all of the normal gluten containing products comes to £12.35. It will cost you  £7.95  more however, to buy the gluten free basket, which has totalled up to £20.30. That’s an increase of  64% .

If we look at the baskets in quantity/weight, the total price per 100g for each item in the gluten basket comes to £2.83. The gluten free basket however, is just under double the price that at £5.62 which is  £2.80  more expensive and an increase of  99% .

As expected, M&S has come out the most costly for the supermarkets we’ve compared so far for both total basket price and the price per 100g. Compared to Sainsbury’s which was last week’s supermarket, the M&S shop cost £6.44 more for the gluten free basket and per 100g it was £1.24 more expensive which is quite a big difference.

Unlike Sainsbury’s, however, it doesn’t look like the gluten free products are ridiculously more expensive than the gluten free products. Now, that doesn’t mean that M&S gluten free range is cheap or that there’s not still a frustrating price increase, but that the prices in general are higher for both gluten and gluten free. As we saw in last week’s blog, there was a staggering 175% increase per 100g between the two baskets at Sainsbury’s but the M&S difference was much less, at 99%.

Does this price breakdown put you off shopping at M&S or do you accept the increased price if you prefer the taste or overall quality?

Or are you like me and just enjoy feeling super fancy shopping at M&S!?

Waitrose is next so keep an eye out for M&S’ biggest price competitor for this study!

Gluten Free Glee © 2023