Consumer: Discount sellers deliver festive cheer

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Christmas dinner really doesn’t have to cost the earth this year, as long as you stay savvy.

The cost of Christmas dinner is set to fall thanks to the rise of the discount supermarkets, bringing some welcome news for consumers bracing themselves for the traditional expense of the festive season.

New research by Good Housekeeping has revealed it would be possible to provide the festive feast for just £2.66 per guest by shopping around various supermarkets for the cheapest ingredients.

The consumer magazine said the drop in cost was a direct result of the battle between the discounters and the traditional supermarkets pulling prices down for all consumers.

The magazine’s sixth annual survey found the cheapest Christmas basket is down three per cent on last year.

It found that all the ingredients to feed eight on Christmas Day could cost as little as £21.31, the third cheapest basket since the survey began in 2009.

A like-for-like comparison across all 10 leading supermarkets found Iceland was the cheapest, with dinner for eight people costing £27.84, including fresh vegetables.

Fellow discounter and last year’s winner Lidl came second at £28.13, followed by Morrisons (£29.12) and Aldi (£32.06).

Good Housekeeping consumer director Caroline Bloor said: “It’s a constant struggle for many to keep family food bills under control, but the current battle between the traditional supermarkets and the discounters is pulling prices down for everyone - and will continue to do so.

“Even at the most expensive supermarkets there are still bargains to be found, for example Waitrose’s Christmas cake is 49p cheaper than Aldi’s and the cost of potatoes and carrots is broadly the same across all retailers.

“It’s a real time of change, and we’ll be monitoring it closely to see who’s really focused on the customer.”

The Good Housekeeping £2.66 Christmas dinner ingredients across all supermarkets are:

Turkey: Lidl Braemoor (£9.99);

Potatoes: The Co-operative Maris Piper 1.5kg (£1.50);

Sage and onion stuffing: Morrisons, Asda, Tesco 2x85g (30p);

Sprouts: Aldi 750g (49p);

Carrots: Aldi 1.2kg (49p);

Parsnips: Tesco 750g (90p);

Cranberry sauce: Tesco Everyday Value 185g (50p);

Christmas pudding: Sainsbury’s Basics 2x454g (£2);

Brandy butter: Aldi, Lidl 200g (£1.49);

Mince pies: Sainsbury’s Basics Mince Puffs x 8 (65p);

Christmas cake: Large Iced Fruit Bar 800g (£3).

Meanwhile a separate piece of research has found that households in Leeds will be spending on average £381.96 this festive season, more than £100 less than the UK average of £482.37.

When it comes to the big meal of the year, Leeds families are expecting to spend £93.54. Tellingly, nearly half of respondents in the city said they would be buying their holiday food and drink from a value supermarket such as Aldi or Lidl.

The findings of the new nationwide consumer spending index conducted by Travelodge revealed that the UK economy overall will get a welcome boost of £13 million this festive season.

The survey of thousands of British adults revealed that Welsh households will be the biggest spenders, as their average spend this Christmas will be £522.93, followed by Scots who will be splashing out £467.25. Across England, households will be spending £464.14 on average, and in Northern Ireland it is £407.53. The report also found that the spirit of giving is alive and well in Leeds this Christmas, as people will be buying on average 11 presents at an average cost of £26.22 per gift.

The most generous folk, however, are in Wrexham, where households will buy 17 presents on average at a cost of more than £30 per present.

The index also revealed that 55 per cent of people in Leeds will be travelling to spend their holidays with family and friends – with almost a third of respondents travelling late on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day morning.

On average locals will travel 61 miles to get to loved ones this Christmas. Just two per cent of people are going abroad this festive season.

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