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What is the cheapest supermarket in Spain?

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We all know that prices are increasing on most items, having a dire effect on our wallets, but to try and help us cope with the rising cost of living, the OCH consumer association has revisited a previous report to find out what is the cheapest supermarket in Spain.

After collecting prices in 1,180 supermarkets, the numbers show that the shopping basket has risen 13% since 2021 and the Economy Basket, the one with the lowest prices, an astronomical 16.4%.

They are the biggest increases in the 34 years of this price study.

Choosing well where you shop is vital to save, since the average difference between the most expensive and cheapest supermarket in a city is 994 euro, almost a fifth of the annual family spending on shopping.

 

This year, OCU has visited 1,180 establishments in 65 Spanish cities, which include all the provincial capitals plus other large towns.

In addition, they recorded the prices offered by the main chains in their online supermarkets to make purchases online.

The products used for this study are wide ranging, 239 products, both leading manufacturer brands and private labels, and includes fresh food (fruits, vegetables, meat and fish), packaged food and beverages, as well as cleaning, drugstore and hygiene products, giving each product a weight according to the cost estimated by the Institute of National Statistics (INE) for each category.

It is the most representative basket of an average Spanish consumer.

The fresh basket includes only fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables, meat and fish.

The brand basket contains products from leading brands that respond to the same name, weight and type of container, for example, “Carbonell olive oil, 0.4º, 1 litre”.

Its indices correspond to identical products in all stores, so they are fully comparable.

The economy basket is for the cheapest products of the establishment that meet a definition, for example, 1 litre of UHT whole milk.

In total, 173,392 prices of products that make up the most common “shopping basket” in households have been collected.

After collecting prices, OCU prepares an index with the prices collected in each establishment, weighted according to the weight of each product in family spending. The indices allow a simple and quick comparison of the price level of some establishments with others, from supermarket chains, cities or autonomous communities.

The cheapest store or chain receives the base 100 index and the other indices are calculated relative to this.

An establishment with an index of 110 is 10% more expensive than the cheapest for that basket.

After processing the data, the conclusions this year leave no room for doubt: inflation is unleashed. For 34 years, never before has such a sharp rise been recorded in a single year.

The prices of the products in the OCU Basket have increased by an average of 15.2% in the period from May 2021 to May 2022, and the rise does not seem to have peaked yet in some products.

95% of the products collected in our baskets have become more expensive compared to the prices we recorded a year ago.

The largest increases occurred in sunflower oil (+118%) and olive oil (+53%), flour (+50%) and all its derivatives, such as pasta (+56%) or muffins (+75 %). They are foods that may have been affected by the war in Ukraine.

Bananas from the Canary Islands also showed a good increase (+64%), which may be related to the volcanic eruption.

The worst thing is that what has risen the most are the products bought by the families that need to save the most, those of the economy basket, whose prices increased by 18.7% on average.

Starting from a lower price, a similar increase in cost supposes a higher percentage.

Dairy, chicken and rice have continued to climb. The upward trend has been maintained throughout the summer, especially dairy products and poultry.

From the date of the price collection in the month of May until the publication of the study, the litre of whole UHT milk has risen by 12.3%, Tulip margarine by 11.6% and chicken breast by +8,7%.

Gallo brand macaroni also continued to increase in price (+8.5%).

Sunflower oil, which starred in a dazzling rise as a result of the armed conflict, has somewhat moderated its price with a drop of 19% compared to the maximum it reached in the moments of hysteria and hoarding when the war in Ukraine began.

There is only a small group of 12 products that have seen price drops.

Some belong to the hygiene category (shampoo -5%) and others are fruits such as avocado (-10%) and kiwi (-6%), with anecdotal drops that may be related to some small seasonal variation.

The price increase has been generalised and quite homogeneous, since many chains have shown increases of between 10 and 15%.

However, there are chains that have climbed above that percentage.

The establishments of the Dia group are the ones that increased the most, Dia & Go (17.1%), La Plaza de Dia (16.2%) and Dia a Dia (+15.2%) and also the rise of Mercadona (16 .1%), all of them well above the CPI for the period.

On the contrary, those that rose the least were Alimerka (8.4%), Carrefour Express (8.5%) and BM Urban (8.8%).

Within this general trend of rising prices, the differences between expensive and cheap establishments have been somewhat reduced, but they are still large.

It must be borne in mind that the study compares price levels, and is complemented by the satisfaction survey in supermarkets that is also carried out periodically.

The cheapest establishment of those visited to buy the OCU Basket is the Alcampo de Coia Hypermarket in Vigo.

With a very close index of 101, it is followed by Alcampo de Murcia, which has given up the first place it obtained in 2021, and the other Alcampo de Vigo (103).

In the group of the cheapest are the Spar supermarkets in Badajoz and Cáceres.

One more year, and despite having been recently acquired by El Corte Inglés, the most expensive establishment visited by OCU is a Sánchez Romero on Calle Arturo Soria in Madrid.

The place where you can find the cheapest OCU economy basket, the one with the lowest prices, is a EuroSpar located on Damián Téllez Lafuente Avenue in Badajoz, followed by two other Spars, also in Extremadura.

Two Carrefour hypermarkets, a Lidl, a HiperDino and a Cash Fresh follow them in the ranking.

Tifer, Dani and Family Cash, the cheapest chains OCU also calculates a joint index for all the supermarkets that are grouped under the same banner and this allows us to compile the ranking of the cheapest chains.

If you do not live near any of the establishments visited, this classification is useful to see the price level of stores that you may have nearby.

This year the cheapest chains are Tifer, Dani and Family Cash. Alcampo ranks as the cheapest national chain for yet another year.

On the opposite side are Amazon, Novavenda, Ulabox and Sánchez Romero as the most expensive chains.

The indices speak of the differences, but how much do you have to spend, in hard cash, to buy these baskets?

To calculate it, we take as a base the average expenditure of households according to the INE family budget survey.

The OCU basket will cost an average of 5,568 euro per year. This amount can vary a lot depending on the establishment where you buy and it is important to choose well so as not to pay an extra cost for the shopping basket.

The national average saving buying in the cheapest establishment is 994 euro per year, 7.3% less than in 2021. This saving represents 17.9% of the budget that an average household allocates to the shopping basket, as well that you should not neglect yourself and make a mistake in your choice because the difference is almost a fifth of what you would spend in a year.

The city with the largest difference is Madrid and this year it reaches 3,529 euro, due to the presence of very expensive establishments.

They are followed by the Alcobendas-San Sebastián de los Reyes area with 2,977 euro.

These high differences are also found in online supermarkets up to 2,309 euro.

On the other hand, the cities where they recorded the smallest differences between the most expensive and cheapest stores are Cuenca (€485/year), Segovia (€520/year) and Pontevedra (€526/year).

The possibilities of saving have to do with the diversity and breadth of the commercial offer, in such a way that they are greater when there are expensive and cheap establishments in a locality and not so much with the general price level of the city.

In addition to the price differences, the OCU study includes the disparity in the cost of the shopping basket that exists between cities and autonomous communities.

Vigo and Ciudad Real are the cheapest cities in the study to buy the OCU basket, with an index of 100. They are followed by Almería, Jerez de la Frontera, Huelva, Granada, Puertollano, and Palencia (101).

At the other extreme, the most expensive cities are Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, ​​Gerona, Madrid and Alcobendas-San Sebastián de los Reyes.

La Rioja, Extremadura, Galicia and Murcia are the cheapest autonomous communities and the Balearic Islands and Catalonia are those where it is more expensive to make the purchase.

Given this scenario, OCU considers that urgent measures are necessary to effectively reduce the price of the shopping basket.

Although different proposals are being considered, such as the creation of a basic economic basket or putting a cap on the price of some essential foods, OCU believes that it is necessary to take action now with rapid and concrete measures:

Temporary reduction of IVA on food, as the only quick way to reduce spending on basic products.

Issue food vouchers for vulnerable and large families, which allow them to alleviate the problems that are generating the extraordinary increases in food prices, as this study has shown.

 

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