Budget retailer Aldi has been named the best supermarket by shoppers - knocking Waitrose off the top spot for the first time in three years.
Waitrose was knocked into fourth place as Aldi shot to the top in the Which? survey of 6,800 shoppers, with Marks & Spencer and Lidl, in second and third place.
A key factor in Aldi’s climb to the top was its value for money - despite some customers complaining stores were “untidy” and looked like “a jumble sale.”
Shoppers were surveyed over their experiences of in-store and online supermarkets in the past six months, and in the in-store category were asked about the appearance of stores, queuing time, staff availability, the range and quality of products and value for money.
While Aldi gained a five star rating for value for money, Waitrose scored just two. Aldi fans loved the supermarket’s “fantastic prices” with many also praising an “always improving” selection of food, Which? found.
Which? said Aldi’s special offers also rated well, as did the quality of its fresh and own-label products and the ease of finding items on its shelves.
One customer said Waitrose is “a bit pricey - which is why I don’t do my main shop there”, while others praised its “top quality” produce and “polite customers”
Aldi last came top in Which?’s annual survey in 2014.
Chief executive Matthew Barnes said: “We’re over the moon to be named the best supermarket in the Which? annual customer satisfaction survey voted for by UK shoppers.
“At Aldi, we’re proud to offer fantastic quality products at amazing prices and to be named the UK’s favourite supermarket shows just how much we are resonating with shoppers.”
A Waitrose spokesman pointed out that Which? had awarded its shops more categories with a five-star rating for customer satisfaction than any other retailer in the study and that its score for its online grocery service had also improved.
Five star ratings were not directly linked to Which?’s overall scores. The Waitrose spokesman said: “As Which? itself says, many customers praised our top quality produce.”
A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said it was “confused by the methodology” used to create the rankings, pointing out that its stores had outperformed the top-ranked in-store supermarket in the star ratings system on measures such as store appearance, queuing time, staff availability and range of products and had matched it on quality of own-label products and fresh products.
Meanwhile, in the online category, people were asked about the convenience of delivery slots, the choice of substitute items and drivers’ service as well as quality, product ranges and value for money.
Among the online supermarkets, Iceland claimed the top spot for the third year running, which it shares with Ocado for the first time.
Iceland received five stars for its drivers’ service and the availability of delivery slots - with three-quarters of shoppers saying their most recent order was delivered on time.
Asda was bottom of the online table, where Which? said it has been for more than a decade.
Alex Neill, managing director of Which? home products and services, said: “With food costs rising it seems as though shoppers have felt the pinch and are voting with their feet and wallets.
“Aldi and Lidl have won over their customers with value for money, knocking Waitrose off the top spot.”