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Waitrose is coming to Aberdeen – but how expensive is it?

We put Waitrose to the test comparing the prices of 12 products with M&S, Asda and Sainsbury’s.

Waitrose signage
Waitrose is to open in Aberdeen. Image: Shutterstock

After years of speculation about whether it would open a shop in Aberdeen, Waitrose confirmed it will set up shop in the Granite City this summer.

Waitrose will replace Sainsbury’s within Dobbies Garden Centre on Lang Stracht in June.

Many of the readers comments in response to The Press and Journal’s exclusive story noted how much more expensive Waitrose is compared to other supermarkets.

But is this really true?

Using online prices as a guide, we compared the prices of 12 weekly shop staples across Waitrose and three other supermarkets.

Shopping basket price comparison

Semi-skimmed milk (2 pints)

  • Waitrose: £1.30
  • Asda: £1.25
  • M&S: £1.25
  • Sainsbury’s: £1.25

There’s not many who won’t pick up some milk at a supermarket. And there’s not much to choose from on the first category on a product where margins are notoriously thin.

Beef mince (500g)

  • Waitrose: £3.55
  • Asda: £3.75
  • M&S: £5.25
  • Sainsbury’s: £3

Asda, with its reputation for value for money, surprises as being more expensive than Waitrose and Sainsbury’s. However, M&S is by far the dearest.

Lurpak butter (500g)

  • Waitrose: £5
  • Asda: £3.75
  • M&S: £5
  • Sainsbury’s: £3.75

One of the few branded products M&S carries, allowing for a direct comparison. Current discount promotions at Asda and Sainsbury’s mean they win this category.

Lurpak butter, a popular brand sold at different prices across various supermarkets in the UK.
The cost of Lurpak at Asda and Sainsbury’s is best to stomach. Image: Shutterstock.

Organic apples (six-pack)

  • Waitrose: £2.20
  • Asda: £2
  • M&S: £2.51
  • Sainsbury’s: £1.70

M&S ranks as most expensive again and that’s despite its organic gala apples being discounted from £3.35. Waitrose is close behind.

Cheddar cheese (750g)

  • Waitrose: £4.75
  • Asda: £5.50
  • M&S: £4.75
  • Sainsbury’s: £3.70 (only 400g)

Sainsbury’s is cheapest, but only for a block of cheese about half the size of the other shops. Waitrose and M&S very competitive on price in this category.

Fresh orange juice carton (1 litre)

  • Waitrose: £1.10
  • Asda: £1
  • M&S: £2.10
  • Sainsbury’s: 95p

The M&S orange juice may be tasty – but is it worth double the price?

Woman drinking a glass of orange juice.
The M&S freshly squeezed orange juice is around double the price of rivals. Image: Shutterstock.

Washing up liquid

  • Waitrose: 70p
  • Asda: £1.15
  • M&S: £1.50
  • Sainsbury’s: 55p

Waitrose has an essential range for many of the weekly staples and ranks second cheapest in this category.

Lasagne for two

  • Waitrose: £5.50
  • Asda: £4
  • M&S: £5.50
  • Sainsbury’s: £4.25

That’s Asda price – a whole £1.50 cheaper than Waitrose.

Bag of frozen chips

  • Waitrose: £2.55 (1kg)
  • Asda: £2.45 (1.5kg)
  • M&S: £2.65 (1kg)
  • Sainsbury’s: £1.85 (1.5kg)

You’ll get most chips for your coins at Sainsbury’s – the cheapest price and a big 1.5kg bag.

Cheapest bottle of prosecco (75cl)

  • Waitrose: £7.99
  • Asda: £7.50
  • M&S: £8
  • Sainsbury’s: £6

Again, Sainsbury’s is the slightly surprising winner if you’re looking for something to wash your lasagne and chips down with.

Kellogg’s cornflakes (720g)

  • Waitrose: £2.50
  • Asda: £3
  • M&S: £3.30
  • Sainsbury’s: £2.25 (500g)

A tasty surprise for Waitrose, a clear winner on this morning staple (when accounting for the smaller box size at Sainsbury’s).

Loaf of bread (400g)

  • Waitrose: £1.10
  • Asda: 70p
  • M&S: 80p
  • Sainsbury’s: 85p

Only the second category where Waitrose is more expensive than any other competitor.

Is Waitrose most expensive overall?

This is a very unscientific test. Despite our best to compare like-to-like there’s no doubt there might be differences in quality between the supermarkets’ own brands.

However, rather surprisingly, Waitrose ranked only as the highest price in two categories – bread and milk – and was joint highest in another two, butter and lasagne.

This is largely due to its “essentials” range, which aims to compete on price on core products.

So which supermarket has the most expensive shopping basket?

When the baskets are added together, it’s perhaps no surprise that M&S has the highest total, at £43.21 for our 12-item shopping basket.

Waitrose was next at £38.64, followed by Asda at £35.90 and Sainsbury’s notably cheaper on shopping essentials at £30.50.

Table showing the prices of 12 shopping basket essentials across Waitrose, Asda, M&S and Sainsbury's.

Sainsbury’s pledges to offer “a wide variety of quality products at affordable prices” and our test shows this to be true.

However, the Waitrose prices within Dobbies in Aberdeen could end up being higher than the online prices.

The firm explains: “The price in our core Waitrose stores would be the same as those which are seen online.

“We have agreements to supply convenience shops run by third parties who will determine the prices depending on the market which they’re operating in.”