Ever wondered how much money you could save by shopping from supermarket value ranges?
One way to cut food costs is to ‘downshift’ brands and supermarkets. Ditch Ocado for Aldi. Switch big brands for supermarket own brands or value range foods. If you don’t mind the difference, you can lock in savings every time you buy cheaper items in future. If you prefer the old version, you’ve spent very little and it’s easy to switch back.
I’m out and proud about buying from the value ranges. The super cheap rice, pasta and marmalade rode to the rescue when I was taking part in the Live Below The Line campaign or trying to cut our food bills. But I’m aware that some prices have crept up, and many value ranges have shrunk in recent years.
So how much can value ranges actually save right now?
Battle of the own brands vs value range at Morrisons
Faced with rising food prices and the current cost of living crisis, I schlepped to Morrisons to snap up value items, then worked out how much they cost compared to Morrisons own brand.
Feast your eyes on this table of my top 30 favourites from the value ranges, compared to own brand alternatives. I aimed to compare identical pack sizes wherever possible.
Morrisons no longer does Savers versions of fresh fruit and veg, so I compared to the wonky alternatives instead. Click through to see all the rows.
|Value range||Price||Own brand||Price||Saving with value range|
|Savers chopped tomatoes 400g||32p||Morrisons Italian chopped tomatoes 400g||45p||29%|
|Savers red kidney beans 400g||30p||Morrisons red kidney beans 400g||55p||45%|
|Savers baked beans 410g||22p||Morrisons baked beans 410g||39p||44%|
|Savers penne pasta 500g||30p||Morrisons penne 500g||75p||60%|
|Savers spaghetti 500g||20p||Morrisons spaghetti 500g||75p||73%|
|Savers long grain rice 1kg||45p||Morrisons easy cook long grain rice 1kg||£1.20||63%|
|Savers tuna chunks in brine 145g||59p||Morrisons responsibly sourced tuna chunks in brine||79p||25%|
|Savers sardines in tomato sauce 120g||39p||Morrisons sardines in tomato sauce 120g||49p||20%|
|Savers sweetcorn 326g||35p||Morrisons sweetcorn in water 326g||70p||50%|
|Woodheads unsmoked back bacon 250g||£1.15||Morrisons unsmoked back bacon rashers 300g||£1.69||32%|
|Savers wheat biscuits 24||74p||Morrisons wheat biscuits 24||£1.69||56%|
|Savers long life skimmed milk 1 litre||50p||Morrisons long life British skimmed milk 1 litre||90p||44%|
|Savers low fat natural yogurt 500g||45p||Morrisons low fat natural yogurt 500g||85p||47%|
|Savers salted butter 250g||£1.65||Morrisons salted British butter||£1.75||6%|
|Savers soft cheese 250g||70p||Morrisons full fat soft cheese 250g||£1.10||36%|
|Greenside Deli Greek style salad cheese 200g||75p||Morrisons Greek feta 250g||£1.30||42%|
|Greenside Deli mature white cheddar 400g||£1.79||Morrisons mature cheddar 400g||£2.00||11%|
|Greenside Deli Italian hard cheese 170g||£1.70||Morrisons grana padano wedge 170g||£2.75||38%|
|Greenside Deli mozzarella 125g||45p||Morrisons Italian mozzarella 125g||60p||25%|
|Stephenson's brown medium bread 720g||33p||Morrisons wholemeal medium bread 800g||59p||44%|
|Savers orange marmalade 454g||30p||Morrisons fine cut orange marmalade 454g||65p||54%|
|Savers strawberry jam 454g||30p||Morrisons strawberry jam 454g||89p||66%|
|Savers clear honey 340g||69p||Morrisons pure clear honey 227g||79p||13%|
|Savers crunchy peanut butter 340g||85p||Morrisons crunchy peanut butter 340g||£1.35||37%|
|Savers peach slices in light syrup 410g||33p||Morrisons peach slices in light syrup 411g||80p||59%|
|Wonky apples minimum 5||69p||Morrisons British Apples x 6||£1.29||47%|
|Wonky white potatoes 2.5kg||89p||Morrisons white potatoes 2.5kg||99p||10%|
|Wonky carrots 1kg||29p||Morrisons carrots 1kg||39p||26%|
|Wonky lemons x 4||55p||Morrisons unwaxed lemons bumper pack x 4||99p||44%|
|Wonky frozen peas 900g||59p||Morrisons British garden peas 500g||69p||14%|
Prices correct as of 22 March 2022
How much can you save with value ranges?
So (drum roll please):
Total for value range products: £18.81
Total for own brand alternatives: £30.12
That’s a chunky saving 38%, worth more than £11, by opting for value ranges rather than own brands.
And the savings would be even bigger if you normally bought big brands or premium own brand products (think Morrisons The Best or Taste the Difference at Sainsburys).
Was I comparing like with like? Well, I was actually surprised at how many of the value range versions came in identical sizes to own brand products. There were only a few differences on my shopping list – a bit more own brand bacon, bread and grana padano and a bit less own brand honey and fewer frozen peas.
The timing of my comparison, with Mother’s Day offers on white potatoes (down from £1.19 to 99p) also favoured own brands.
Tips for saving with Morrisons value range
Here are my top tips on buying from the value ranges:
Look out for different brands.
Sadly gone are the days when you could just search online for Tesco Value, Sainsbury’s Basics or M Savers and see the whole product range laid out.
As you can tell from the table, Morrisons for example sells value range items under several different brands: as Savers, Greenside Deli, Stephensons and Woodheads. The giveaway is super simplified graphics on the packaging, with lots of white space
In store, not online
However hard I tried, I couldn’t find a bunch of Morrisons value products listed on the website – although they did show up on the supermarket shelves. Savers chopped tomatoes, kidney beans, baked beans, penne, bread, marmalade and jam were all mysteriously missing online but available to buy in store.
Moral of the tale: you might need to hit the supermarket in person to find the cheapest products, rather than relying on internet deliveries or click and collect.
Beware of low stocks
Even if you shop up in store, resign yourself to stuff being out of stock. I seemed to find more gaps for value range items than other more expensive stuff. Bring back Savers rice!
Supermarkets stock the most profitable products at eye level – and that’s unlikely to be value ranges. Scour the bottom and top shelves to find the tiniest prices.
As you can see from the table, the price difference between Morrisons value range and own brand wasn’t consistent.
The biggest saving was a whopping 73% on spaghetti, down from 75p for a 500g a bag of own brand to just 20p for the same amount of value range spaghetti. The smallest was just 6%, due to the 10p difference between own brand and value range butter.
Yet overall, I was surprised how 10p here and 20p there added up to save almost 40% in total.
Pick your products
I compared prices on my 30 favourite value range products, which focus on tins and jars, dairy products, carbs like pasta, rice and bread and wonky fruit and veg.
I don’t tend to buy much processed food from the value ranges, partly because I like cooking from scratch, but also because I reckon you can taste more of a difference when it comes to ready meals and stuff like curry sauce. The cheaper prices on value range products are often driven by altering the quantities of cheaper vs more expensive ingredients, or including more varied sizes. I’d rather hang on for a yellow-stickered cut price version of premium sausages, for example, than buy a value range alternative that contains a lot less meat.
However, with some value range products, I can’t tell the difference from own brand, apart from the packaging. With others, maybe there is a difference – but not one where I’m willing pay 60% more.
I also focused on food, though you can find value versions of lots of household products such as kitchen towel, loo roll, bleach and washing powder.
Now – over to you. Do you stock up from the value ranges or steer clear? What are your favourite products? Do share in the comments, I’d love to hear.
Check out my post on 80+ ways to save money on your food shopping