Is Your Food Shop More Expensive Than Normal? This Could Be Why!

I spend a lot of my time in Tesco – which isn’t as sad as it sounds; I’m just a student on a tight budget doing a weekly food shop. As inflation rises and the cost of living goes up, I find myself caring more and more about what I buy and where my money is going, trying to save what I can, wherever I can.

On a trip to my closest Tesco, the Tesco Express in the City Centre, I noticed that prices were drastically different to that of the prices found online and in the Tesco Superstores of Roborough and Lee Mill, and I endeavored to find out how much that difference really was.

And just like that, began a note taking adventure around Plymouth documenting the prices of items that you may (or may not) have as a part of your weekly food shop.

However, before I started, I needed to know what items people buy on a weekly shop, as mine may not be representative of the general populace. After putting out a short survey, I received the following:

  • Tesco Luxury Soft Toilet Roll (6 Long Rolls)
  • Tesco 20% Fat 500g Beef
  • Hearty Food Company Spaghetti
  • Tesco White Bread
  • 6 Free Range Eggs
  • 5KG Flour
  • Lloyd Grossman Tomato Sauce
  • 1KG Rice
  • Chicken Super Noodles
  • Heinz Tomato Ketchup
  • Heinz Tomato Soup
  • Heinz Beans
  • 2 Pints Semi-skimmed Milk
  • Tesco Value Washing Up Liquid

After making my way around the many different locations, I discovered some wide varieties in pricing on the items listed and seemed to vary in price based on the size of store, and general price of location – but do the stats corroborate that?

I expected the City Centre branch to be the most expensive but was only marginally more expensive on a few cheaper items than the Superstores and online, whereas Ebrington Street Tesco had some of the most expensive items on the list.

So, why are some items more expensive in different locations?

This could be for many reasons such as:

Geographical Pricing – where items are priced based upon where the person lives, so higher GDP per capita areas will have a higher item cost as on average, they have more money (City Center’s).

Convenience and Captive Market – where the company can charge higher prices due to the lack of competition or the immediacy of the product (Petrol Stations, Train Stations, Airports).

Licenses – some locations may have different suppliers which have different costs, meaning higher/lower prices for the consumer.

Operational Requirements – smaller stores are often more expensive to run, as they have higher rent due to being in high footfall locations and will stock different items based on convenience.

How much will this impact my food shop?

Even missing items, the stores in and around the City Centre were much more expensive than the Superstore locations, meaning travelling to your nearest Superstore may be more cost effective than shopping locally for convenience, potentially saving you £5 or more when compared to shopping in and around the City Centre (depending on stock).

Let us know in the comments below if you’ve encountered price changes between locations and how that’s affected your weekly budget!

Dylan Ramsay

Dylan Ramsay

Writer, filmmaker and storyteller. Star Wars Aficionado, and often spends way too much time cooking.  

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