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Which supermarket is the winner of our gluten free basket comparison?

Brace yourselves. The results are in...

Supermarket logos

Table of Contents

⏪ Let’s recap

Our gluten free basket comparison series looked at the price of 9 gluten free products across 8 of the UK’s major supermarkets; Aldi, Asda, Lidl, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose.

The aim was to work out which supermarket was the cheapest for shopping gluten free and how the prices at each supermarket compared to the matching gluten containing products. We looked at own branded items only and the products we compared were: oats, cereal, bread, rolls, pasta, spaghetti, flour, digestive biscuits and gravy granules.

If you want to read more on why we came up with the idea then click here.

📖 Before we divulge the findings, make sure you’ve had a read at what we found in each supermarket:

Click on the supermarket logo to see their basket prices 🛒

Morrisons logo

Sainsbury's logo

M&S logo

Waitrose logo
Tesco logo

Asda logo

Aldi logo

Lidl logo

🏆 Results

Leaderboard showing Tesco in 1st place

Looking at the basket price per 100g (so that we get a fair comparison with cost per weight) the supermarket that came up the cheapest was Tesco with their basket costing £4.26 per 100g. Waitrose came in £2.19 more expensive per 100g with the basket totalling up to £6.45!

When you look at the leader per basket price, Asda beat Tesco by 5p with their basket coming to £13.50 for the 9 items. Waitrose was again, the most expensive basket at £20.30 for the same 9 products!

Unfortunately, we’ve had to completely exclude Aldi and Lidl from the comparison because they didn’t have any of the gluten free substitutes for us to compare. 👎🏼

Tesco shop

So, big shout out to Tesco who priced their own branded gluten free products cheaper than the other supermarkets. Tesco were actually the first supermarket to include free from products years ago and they’ve recently been awarded the ‘Christmas Range of the Year’ in the 2023 Free From Christmas Awards so it’s clear that this is something they take seriously.

Keep those pasta prices down and the free from sections fully stocked! 👏🏼

🧠 What we've learnt from doing this

1️⃣ Cheap isn’t necessarily everyone’s first priority, especially when it comes to gluten free

The study was a great way of demonstrating price differences across the supermarkets and I’m really glad we looked into it because it shed a lot of light on some major price concerns like digestive biscuits! But actually, a lot of people out there would opt for a more expensive product or brand if they know it’s going to taste nicer so maybe we need to do some brand comparisons…

2️⃣ Availability and range > price

Similarly to above, availability and range also has a huge impact on where we shop for gluten free. If you know that one shop is the cheapest but it’s not reliable for having the products in stock or the range of gluten free products is minimal, but another slightly more expensive supermarket will have everything available to you, then you’re probably going to opt for that one. And this ties in the Aldi/Lidl issue well, because if they may or may not have gluten free special buys, you won’t risk it and you’ll likely choose to go somewhere else to do your weekly shop.

3️⃣ Is a bigger price difference between gluten and gluten free in the same supermarket better or worse than all products being equally as expensive?

For example, we all know that M&S is a more expensive supermarket to do your food shop. Their normal basket price per 100g came to £2.83 and their gluten free basket came to £5.62. That means that the gluten free basket was almost double the cost with a 99% price increase. However, somewhere like Sainsbury’s had a much bigger difference between the baskets. Their gluten basket per 100g came to £1.59 but their gluten free basket was almost 3x the price at £4.38 with a percentage increase of 175%!
So yes, the Sainsbury’s gluten free basket was still cheaper than M&S but there’s a far bigger price jump between their normal products and their gluten free range. Is that fair? Are they purposely keeping gluten free items at a much higher price point?

4️⃣ At what point does the gluten free price increase become unacceptable?

We know that gluten free items will probably always have a higher price tag because of specialised ingredients, dedicated facilities and additional certification and testing but where do we draw the line and what’s seen as acceptable? 50% increase? 100%? In this study, we’ve seen up to a 554% increase on a gluten free product compared to its gluten containing equivalent. Personally, I think that’s completely unacceptable.

5️⃣ Prices are constantly fluctuating

Remember not that long ago when a few supermarkets made a big song and dance about bringing their gluten free pasta prices down to match the price of their gluten containing pasta? Well, not all of them have kept their promise and it feels like some supermarkets jumped on the bandwagon of doing good for gluten free whilst it was hot in the news, but now have put their prices back up. Asda I am looking at you.

6️⃣ I’ve changed where I shop for gluten free

So even though Morrisons is my local supermarket, I’m actually making a conscious effort to shop elsewhere for gluten free. Their gluten free basket came out more expensive than Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s and if I can save myself money shopping gluten free then I’m going to. Saving 45p each time I buy pasta might not sound like much but it adds up!

7️⃣ Let’s take a minute to note that the normal basket at Waitrose was actually cheaper than Morrisons and almost the same as Sainsbury’s!

Obviously, this doesn’t help us gluten free guys and gals but I always had Waitrose down as being super expensive. But their normal basket actually came out cheaper than Morrisons? So maybe it’s worth visiting them every now and again to see if you can spot some good deals in their gluten free section!

8️⃣ All those added ingredients…

This week, I actually made my own bread and I kid you not, it was nicer than ANY store bought gluten free bread I’ve tasted. Obviously, we don’t all have the time to whip up a homemade loaf every week for our beans on toast but if you can, I would really recommend giving it a go every now and again. If you look at the ingredients of gluten free supermarket loaf, there’s a lot of random stuff in there but making it at home can be as simple as using 5 ingredients?! Try it!

🛑 It doesn’t stop here

We’re going to be keeping track of the prices of these gluten free staples to monitor whether the leader board changes over the next few months. We’ll probably add a few more items in there too so keep an eye out for our updates on where the cheapest supermarket to shop is!

So let’s end on this. Humans are creatures of habit and we get used to shopping in the same supermarket, but sometimes it’s worth visiting another one to compare the prices and see just how much you could be saving…