A guide to supermarkets’ value ranges

One of the flats I shared with friends while at uni was close to a Sainsburys, and my four flatmates all lived on that supermarket’s ‘Basics’ range for the year – the Basics rose wine even made a few appearances at parties, as I remember.

I was a bit of a foodie and way too snobby to buy the value range so generally used to trek the extra few minutes to get my shopping in the local Morrisons, complaining at how expensive Sainsbury’s was.  It’s still not my supermarket of choice but had I been willing to downgrade a brand I wonder if I’d have found it comparable to Morrisons – maybe I should test it out at some point to find out.

Putting aside Sainsbury’s, I’ve now tried out various ‘value’ products from Morrisons (Savers range, think this used to be called Value), Asda (Smartprice) and Tesco (now Everyday Value).  There are many, many things that I’m willing to buy, that are just the same and are a fraction of the price of the expensive brand – but there are a few areas where I won’t go, so I decided to summarise these below.

Things I always buy from the value range

  • Chopped tomatoes and passata
  • Butter – Tesco is my favourite as you can get value unsalted butter there
  • Plain and self-raising flours
  • Mayonnaise – buy from Morrisons, as this uses free range eggs
  • Ketchup – when I buy from Asda, which is in glass bottles, I decant into the previous batch’s cleaned squeezy bottle
  • Onions and garlic
  • Peppers – sometimes the green/red & yellow pepper ratio is disappointing with these
  • Courgettes, carrots, cabbage and any other veg they do!
  • Tinned kidney beans – works out the same price as dried
  • Ice cream – not for eating on its own but a good standby for serving with desserts
  • Cereal – bran flakes and cocoa pops.  The value wheatabix are no good as they are ridiculously small and cardboardy
  • Dried pasta (penne in Asda and Tesco, fusilli in Morrisons), spaghetti and lasagne sheets
  • Food bags, tin foil and cling film
  • Bio laundry liquid and washing up liquid
  • Vegetable oil
  • Feta cheese and mozzarella (but will upgrade for guests or special meals)
  • Tinned tuna (dolphin friendly in Morrisons)
  • Apples usually, but I like to get fancier ones every so often
  • Biscuits, like bourbons and jaffa cake
  • Frozen peas and sweetcorn
  • Morrisons stirfry mix
  • Lemons & limes
  • Cat litter

Things I don’t buy

  • Meat.  I’ve spoken about this before but I only eat free range poultry and pork, so value range meat is a total no-go.  Plus the idea of value mince just freaks me a out a bit.
  • Stock cubes.  Bought some of the Tesco vegetables ones last week and have to say I am not a fan.  Once I’ve used the pack I have, I won’t be buying more.
  • Value cheddar just tastes weird, though I will buy it upon occasion when the budget is running low.
  • Salad leaves.  I don’t know about anywhere else, but the Morrisons ones have way too much cabbage in them rather than lettuce.
  • Bread (though pittas/wraps are fine) – I much prefer homemade anyway.  Occasionally I buy a value loaf for Dave’s lunches but he’s not keen either.
  • Eggs – only free range ‘happy’ eggs for me!
  • Toilet roll – we used to use this as students, but needless to say I’m quite happy to have upgraded since.
  • Bin bags – the value ones tend to split too easily,

As you can see, there are more products that I do buy than ones I don’t!  I’m sure there are others I’ve forgotten, too.  What value products do you buy?  Is there anything you wouldn’t buy?


5 thoughts on “A guide to supermarkets’ value ranges

    1. Jess Post author

      Hi! I usually just get meat from the supermarket – I’ve been trying to get up the courage to try out a butcher though! I buy free range poultry and organic, free range or outdoor bred pork (depending on what I can get) – usually I have to buy the pork at Waitrose as I can’t get it elsewhere. The only exception is Dave’s bacon and sandwich ham as he doesn’t share my standards. When it comes to beef, I tend to just buy British, but I get organic if it’s on offer. Neither of us like lamb and I haven’t bought anything else like game since stopping being a veggie. Hope this helps!

  1. Pingback: Mealplan and Spending Update 03/06 | Chilli, Sage and Lemon

  2. Maria

    Hi, I’m a feta cheese fan & sainsburys value brand is the nicest I’ve tasted and so cheap -think its about 85p. I’m like you with my meat, you should give your local butcher a go, I’m lucky enough to have 2 good ones where I live and I like certain things from each of the, I find that it costs me around the same as the supermarkets as I only buy what I need and the quality is loads better. I never buy meat from the supermarket now. I’m a big believer in meal planning but I usually visit my butcher first, see what meat is on offer and then plan my meals around that.

    1. Jess Post author

      Oh I’ll have to try the butcher thing – just need to find a good one, I live in a city and there’s a few, but I think some are just places they sell pre-packed meat as opposed to employing really skilled butchers. Will ask around for recommendations! Ps thanks for the Sainsbury’s value feta tip 🙂


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