Best pepperoni pizza: Chicago Town beaten by cheap supermarket rivals
17th February 2023
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The UK's definitive supermarket survey reveals the best and worst grocery stores for food quality, customer service and value for money.
Supermarkets have faced numerous challenges over the past few years, from the pandemic and associated supply chain problems to CO2 shortages and staff absences. Now grocery prices have risen faster than they have in decades, giving supermarkets an even bigger issue to contend with.
Our annual survey of more than 3,000 shoppers reveals which supermarkets are rising to the challenges they're facing and impressing their customers – and which are falling short.
The reviews we've had from people who shop with each of the UK's biggest supermarkets have enabled us to create star ratings for all kinds of aspects of the shopping experience, from value for money and online delivery service to product quality and in-store experience.
So if you're considering switching supermarket, or are simply keen to know what other shoppers think of your favourite grocer, our in-store and online supermarket reviews are here to help.
The table below shows the results of our survey of in-store shopping. Links take you to our reviews of each supermarket.
Note: results are based on an online survey of 3,007 members of the public conducted in October 2022. Sample sizes are in brackets. Customer score is based on satisfaction with the brand and likelihood to recommend.
The in-store experience seems to have once again been the deciding factor in this year's survey, with Marks & Spencer (MarksandSpencer.com) beating discounter Aldi (Aldi.co.uk) to come top of the table for the second year in a row. Customers loved the appearance of its stores, the service they received from staff and the quality of its products; however, they felt it could offer better value for money.
Despite its popularity with shoppers, we didn't make M&S a Which? Recommended Provider this year because of its poor value for money.
Aldi is the only in-store supermarket to have been named a Which? Recommended Provider this year. It came joint second with Waitrose (Waitrose.com) and was the highest-rated for value for money along with fellow discounter Lidl (Lidl.co.uk) – both were awarded four out of five stars. Aldi received five stars for value for money last year, but no supermarket did this time round.
Both Aldi and Lidl outperformed the 'big four' supermarkets (Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco) again this year – perhaps unsurprising at a time when value has become so important to shoppers.
Joint-second-placed Waitrose, like Marks & Spencer, received five stars for the appearance of its stores, its staff and the quality of its products, and a poor two stars for value for money. It was the only supermarket to score five stars for its queuing times.
Co-op is at the bottom of the table again this year, with poor two-star ratings for stock availability, range of products and quality. It received a dismal one star for value for money – the lowest rating of all the supermarkets for this measure.
The table below shows the results of our survey for online shopping. Links take you to our reviews of each supermarket.
Note: results are based on an online survey of 3,007 members of the public conducted in October 2022. Sample sizes are in brackets. Customer score is based on satisfaction with the brand and likelihood to recommend. '-' means we did not have a enough responses to give a rating. Scores include click and collect as well as home delivery where applicable. For Aldi, scores are for click and collect only, and for Amazon Fresh and Ocado, scores are for home delivery only.
Online grocery deliveries became a lifeline during the pandemic and remain so for many of us. Ocado (Ocado.com) has jumped to first place for online shopping after finishing joint second last year, beating the previous winner Iceland (Iceland.co.uk), which has now swapped places with Ocado to come joint second with Waitrose.
Ocado customers were impressed with its range of products, the availability of its delivery slots and its customer service at delivery, awarding it five stars for these measures.
However, we didn't make it a Which? Recommended Provider this year, because it's consistently the second most expensive supermarket in our monthly price comparison.
Second-placed Iceland and Waitrose both received an average three stars for value for money and stock availability and a good four stars for their websites and apps.
However, Waitrose was rated more highly than Iceland for its range of products and customer service at collection and delivery, where it received five stars, and quality, where it was rated four stars. Iceland was rated more highly for the availability of its collection and delivery slots, with five out of five stars.
Morrisons has plummeted from joint fifth place for online shopping last year to bottom place this year. Customers were unimpressed with its value for money, stock availability and choice of substitute items, where it received poor two-star ratings.
They were happier with its range of products, availability of collection and delivery slots and customer service at collection and delivery, rating it a good four stars for these, while it received an average three stars for quality and the ease of using its website or app.
In a separate investigation, we went undercover to find out how the different supermarkets compare for freshness, using a team of mystery shoppers to order more than 1,000 groceries in the first – and biggest – comparison of its kind.
Each of our mystery shoppers ordered the same 16 perishable food and drink items, all with use-by (rather than best-before) dates, from the UK's six biggest online supermarkets. We then added up the number of full hours remaining from the time of delivery to midnight on the use-by date for each item and calculated an average per supermarket.
|Rank (freshest to least fresh)||Supermarket||Average hours left||Average days left|
Tesco came out top, with items lasting almost 11 days on average. Waitrose was at the bottom of the table, with items lasting an average of 8.6 days.
We couldn't include Iceland in the final rankings, because it had so many missing items or incomparable substitutions. When we ran a separate analysis using the six comparable items we did manage to get from Iceland, it ranked last.
During the course of the investigation, our mystery shoppers took delivery of items that were already out of date by the time they were delivered, groceries that were within their use-by date but looked too manky to eat, and one item with a completely illegible use-by date.
All the supermarkets say they train staff to pick food with the longest possible dates for online deliveries and click and collect. But we’ve heard from a number of supermarket workers who say they have targets for the number of groceries they need to pick in an hour, meaning they don't always have time to search for longer-lasting items.
Whether you’re shopping in-store or online, it’s rarely a perfect experience. We asked people what they found most annoying about grocery shopping.
Respondents were able to choose multiple answers, so percentages total more than 100%.
We surveyed 3,007 members of the public in October 2022 for our annual supermarkets survey, quizzing them on their experiences with the supermarkets they use most often.
For those who did their supermarket shopping in-store, we asked them to rate how good the supermarket's appearance is as well as queuing times. We also asked whether there are friendly staff available to help with any queries.
For online shoppers, we asked about click-and-collect as well as delivery services. Customers were asked to rate whether there's usually a good choice of collection and delivery time slots, whether the supermarket chooses sensible substitutions when items are unavailable, and how good the customer service is at collection or delivery.
We asked both in-store and online shoppers the all-important questions around value for money and the quality of own-label and fresh products.
And finally, we asked how satisfied shoppers are on the whole with their supermarket and whether they would recommend it. These two questions allow us to calculate our unique Which? customer scores.
Which? has launched an Affordable Food for All campaign after it found millions of families are skipping meals to survive the cost of living crisis.
In an innovative new study, undertaken with researchers from the Consumer Data Research Centre at the University of Leeds, we've identified 50 of the most at-risk areas for finding affordable food in the UK.
We're calling on supermarkets to commit to clear pricing, better access to budget ranges that enable healthy choices and more offers for those who need them most.