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Tuesday 24 November 2015

Supermarket Swaps

Supermarket Savings: Simple switches to save money on your shopping

Every time I go to the shops I find myself buying the same old things and then being surprised at the same old same xpensive bill at the end. Sound familiar? Well, there are some simple ways to save the pennies and pounds each week, and one of them is to shop smarter. I always shop around for the best bargains, and places like Home Bargains, B&M and Poundland/PoundWorld are brilliant places to do top up shops. However, as they aren't always close by, and don't always stock everything you need, I have decided to make some supermarket swaps (focusing on Asda to keep things simple) to see if buying cheap really does mean sacrificing on flavour...

1) Tomato Ketchup
Okay, I thought I'd start with the big one. 'It has to be Hein....' yes yes, I know. I thought so too. But just bare with me here. When I first picked up the 42p bottle (compared to £1.48 for Branston or £1.50 for Heinz equivalent size) I was dubious. I thought it would be watery and tasteless and just...not ketchup. Now, I am one of these people who can eat ketchup with just about anything so this was an important one.

That night as I cooked up my chips (a classic with ketchup, right?), I was still doubtful. However, when I squeezed the tomato-ey goodness out of the bottle, I was pleasantly surprised at how thick it was! On top of that, the flavour is really pretty similar to Heinz. There are no great differences, and certainly none worth paying over a pound more every time!

Saving: £1.08

2) Diluting Juice

Time for another BIG BRAND, and another one that I consume a lot. Like, every day, a few times a day. So a saving on this one would be brilliant! I felt safe with my favourite flavour (apple and blackcurrant) and pleased to see that for a similar amount of double concentrate squash the Asda Smart Price came in at just 42p (they seem to like that price) or 5.6p/100ml compared to my usual Robinsons at £1.49, or 14.9p/100ml. I was hopeful, I really was. But deep down I knew, as soon as I diluted that juice and it came out more of a pink than a purple, this wouldn't be the same. And I was right.

I am sorry Asda. But Robinsons wins. The Asda Smart Price just didn't quite get that rich flavour correct, opting more for sweetness to flavour it than, well, flavour! However much I wanted to save on this, Robinsons is worth the money.

Saving: £0.00

3) Marmite/Yeast Extract

Now, I know this one will divide readers, not because I used an Asda Own Brand, but because of the Marmite controversy. Any readers who wish to skip this section purely because they dislike Marmite so much they can't cope with me describing its rich, luscious flavour, you may. I won't hold it against you. Too much.
Anyyyyyway, back to the savings. I have only recently tried Marmite (I know, have I been living under a rock?) but have quickly fallen in love within our 4 month relationship. So was I going to cheat on Marmite so soon into the relationship? Well, just for you dear readers, yes. Yes I was. 
With Marmite coming in at a hefty £2.35 for 250g, no wonder it's got the nation split down the middle. I instead decided to try the Asda Chosen By You 'Yeast Extract' (apparently Smart Price Marmite isn't a thing) at £1.88. The difference I noticed was the consistency, but this was a good difference. The Asda Yeast Extract was far, far easier to spread, and was much less sticky than Marmite, something which I much preferred. Other than that though, no real differences, and I have decided I actually prefer this to Marmite. So all you Marmite haters out there, there's hope for you yet...try Yeast Extract, it's toooootalllly not the same thing (mwa ha ha).

Saving: £0.47 

4) Beans - Reduced Salt and Sugar

If you are a regular blog reader of mine (hello, you lovely lot, comment below so I can express my thanks) you will know about my slight love of baked beans. No it's not weird, it's just a life choice, okay? I have, however, been trying to cut down on the amount of salt and sugar in my diet and so have been trying the Heinz 50% less sugar variety of beans. Now, these do taste different from normal beans, but not horrendously so, and I quickly got used to the difference. If you are wanting to know the best normal bean to try, check out my blog on baked bean recipes

For some reason, and I find this a lot with diet or 'reduced' foods, these are more expensive than normal foods, but fear not, there are still savings to be had. I compared the classic brand Heinz at 
75p a can to the Asda Chosen by You at 32p a can, which is, refreshingly, the same as their normal Chosen By You beans. Thanks Asda for supporting us in our attempts to be healthy!

But the thanks to Asda in this scenario stops there. These beans were overloaded with sweeteners, perhaps to make up for the lack of sugar and salt, resulting in my favourite savoury treat becoming....sweet. I struggle with sweet foods in the morning, and so when I went to have my favourite hangover breakfast of beans on toast, I felt a little worse afterwards due to how sweet it was. So not a win for the supermarket own. HOWEVER, that's not to say that there is a cheaper brand that does it well. Branston comes in at 62p a can, not a huge saving, but a saving all the same, and it comes much closer to the Heinz flavour.

And for all of you who just love normal beans, salt and all, the Asda Chosen By You is a winner, beating the Asda Smart Price beans and even the Heinz in a hidden taste test with my parents (hee hee hee).

Saving: Reduced Sugar: 13p
Saving: Normal Beans: 43p

5) Bran Flakes

As a creature of habit, I eat bran flakes every day (with a sprinkling of muesli on top, in case you wondered), so a saving on this would be a big bonus. For this experiment I tried two types of bran flakes (all 750g): Asda Smart Price (88p), Asda Chosen By You (£1.38), both compared to the classic Kellogs (£2.79):

Asda Smart Price
At just 88p, this was an instant contender, as long as the taste matched up. Now that I am used to the plain and simple packaging, I realise how little of an issue it is. It keeps the food just as fresh, just with less pictures to keep me entertained at breakfast time. I found these a little thicker and crunchier than normal bran flakes, which is an instant bonus. No changes to the flavour at all, I really struggled to find any critique of this one at all. Thumbs up all round!

Asda Chosen By You
As I have said previously, I cannot stomach sweet foods in the morning, and perhaps this has given me an ultra sensitivity to it, as I found these much sweeter than either the Smart Price or the Kellogs. The texture was just the same as Kellogs, but I really wasn't a fan of the flavour at all, and ended up giving the remainder of the box away to my dad, before promptly popping off to buy a box of 88p Smart Price cereal - the clear winner.

Saving: £1.91

The verdict

It just goes to show, a couple of swaps a week can really add up, these 5 examples saved me almost £5 in one small shop, and I will certainly be trying more next time after this success! Just remember, just because it tastes different, doesn't mean that it tastes bad! I found that after a while I git used to the other diluting juice and have added it to my weekly shop! If you have any particular supermarkets you want me to try out, or any opinions on the products I tested, just comment below or tweet me @LaurieBeat

Happy Saving!

(Note: All opinions are my own and all products were bought and chosen by me)


  1. Really enjoyed this one girly! I agree with the ketchup, some own brands are just as good, but our of pure habit I'll always pick Heinz. I usually top up when it's on offer for £1 or so which is a way to save too

    1. Thanks hon :) yeah sometimes it's just about breaking the habits of a lifetime! For sure, I always look out for the best offers, places like Home Bargains and B&M are great for that!