The popularity of discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl looks set to continue after retail analysts discovered that a “big shop” at one of the German-owned stores could cost almost £15 less than at one of the major supermarkets.

The data, compiled by Nielsen, discovered that an shop consisting of 20 everyday items cost £38.76 at Aldi and Lidl, with the same items adding up to £53.12 on the cash register at Tesco, ASDA, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.

A similar shop conducted at high-end retailers, such as Waitrose and M&S, would cost a hefty £58.52.

The news comes as a welcome boost to the German discount brands, who late last year were rocked with the news that growth had started to slow for the first time since 2011.

Supermarket trends

The survey by Nielsen, which accounted for the purchasing habits of 16,000 households, interestingly discovered that, although we now make more grocery visits than we did in 2015, over half of trips to the supermarket are now for six items or fewer, with “big shops” now accounting for just 47% of supermarket visits.

Just over one in 10 “big shops” are made at either Lidl or Aldi, but Nielsen is predicting that this figure will double in the next five years, with the discrepancy between prices at the different stores being a major reason behind this.

‘Little and often’

“In simple terms, when people do a big shop at the discounters they spend £15 less than they do at one at the Big 4, as the shopping basket from a discounter contains a different range of products with more private labels,” Mike Watkins, UK head of retailer insight at Nielsen, said.

“The move to ‘little and often’ is a symptom of busier and more time-pressured lifestyles as well as financial concerns of wasting food.”

Predictably, the bigger supermarkets have taken the news badly, with Sainsbury’s saying: “We don’t believe the methodology used offers a true comparison and can reassure our customers we always aim to deliver the best quality and value.”

In the wake of Brexit and the decline of the pound, consumers can only hope increased competition between retailers keeps prices down. The spectre of inflation looms large in 2017 and higher costs of groceries are likely to hit the poorest members of society hardest.

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