Consume: Asda - saving you money every day?

Consumer reporter Sophie Hazan with her ASDA receipt at the  Killingbeck store.
Consumer reporter Sophie Hazan with her ASDA receipt at the Killingbeck store.
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A TV supermarket advert shows a group of women excitedly checking their latest shopping receipt to see how much they have saved.

SOPHIE HAZAN took to the shopping aisles to put the Asda Price Guarantee to the test.

leeds’s own supermarket Asda has pledged to be 10 per cent cheaper than all its competitors – or refund the difference.

If the superstore is not exactly that much cheaper than Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose on your next shop, then you win cash back.

All you have to do is buy eight or more items and log on to the morning after your shop to find out how it compared.

Consumerwatch grabbed a shopping trolley and took to the shopping aisles at Asda Killingbeck to put the money back guarantee to the test on a weekly shop.

I bought 94 different items such as chicken, eggs, washing powder, cereal and apples, including plenty of Asda-own items and a couple of multibuys that instantly saved me cash.

Back at the office the following day I logged on to reveal the results.

But first I had to fill in some details, including whether I had shopped online or instore.

Opting for the latter, I was presented with an online form requesting six sets of figures that could be found on the till receipt such as the store code and till number, time and date of visit.

I carefully typed in the details, using the online guide that outlined precisely where I would find the digits on my receipt.

Once done I avoided an offer to submit an email address for future offers, and was directed through to the results page.

I was greeted with a congratulatory message boasting that “Asda was cheapest!” But the next line of text conceded that the store was not 10 per cent cheaper than all competitors, and that I could redeem a voucher for £2.70 to be used within 28 days against my next shop at the same Asda store.

It was a minor victory, but one that spurred Consumerwatch to dig a bit deeper.

Underneath the table showing you how much cheaper Asda is, in tiny writing, is a “view details” tab that if pressed brings up a column of prices of how much your goods were at Asda, and a second column showing how much they were at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons or Waitrose.

Immediately I noticed that many of the products that I had bought had not been compared against the competing supermarket - only 39 per cent of the products were priced against Morrisons, 41 per cent against Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, and 51 per cent against Tesco. Yet Asda claims to compare 70 per cent of all grocery items – 15,000 such products whether branded or non branded, fresh or frozen.

Consumerwatch pressed Asda for an explanation.

A spokeswoman said: “In order to be compared, the comparison has to be absolutely direct. For example, if you bought 10m of Asda’s own 380mm greaseproof paper unless another supermarket sold its own brand of greaseproof paper in the exact same dimensions, it cannot be compared.

“This also applies to materials. So if you were to buy a mug or tea towel in Asda, they couldn’t be compared as the other supermarket’s version may be made of another material.

“And, also, this applies to weight. If Asda were to sell 1.2kg of Aunt Bessie’s frozen roasties but another supermarket sold 1.5kg of the same product, it could not be compared.”

On closer inspection it also appeared that only 80 of the 94 items on my till receipt had been listed for possible comparison. Peeking even closer I saw that this was partly explained by the fact that I had bought several of the same item -– such as two tins of tomatoes at 74p a time and two jumbo garlic bulbs at 47p each.

Although these counted as four items at the till, they counted as two for the purpose of comparing on price. Six items – cereal (£1.87), almonds (£1.59), prawns (£2.47), cod fillet(£2.75), yoghurt (£1.30) and some spice (£1.48) – simply disappeared.

The Asda spokeswoman added: “Anything on your receipt considered not to be a grocery will vanish altogether from APG [Asda Price Guarantee] proceedings, as Asda only promises to be 10 per cent cheaper on grocery items.”

Online price comparison tool is used to compare the prices independently.

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