Posted: Mon 26th Feb 2024

Shoppers name favourite supermarket for 3rd year in row despite being ‘a bit pricey’, Which? finds 

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Shoppers have crowned Marks and Spencer as the UK’s best in-store supermarket, according to the annual Which? satisfaction survey, but Aldi’s second place finish shows customers still want value for money.

M&S came top of the consumer champion’s rankings for the third year in a row, with a customer score of 76 per cent.

It achieved five out of five stars for overall customer service, as well as staff availability and helpfulness, store appearance and overall quality of own-label and fresh products.

One person told Which? they get “an excellent experience, quality products and good customer service” when shopping at M&S.

M&S does well on every measure except value for money, where customers give it just two stars. One said: “When l want something a bit special they never let me down (but) can be a bit pricey”.

This low rating means M&S missed out on Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) status.

Aldi comes in second with a customer score of 73 per cent for its in-store offering, showing the importance of good value. One shopper told Which?: “Not sure we would be able to afford a big shop anywhere else… couldn’t do without Aldi.”

Aldi missed out on WRP status due to only receiving two stars for its range, availability and self-service checkouts. One customer said: “Excellent value but long queuing times at checkout.” Which? regularly finds Aldi to be the cheapest supermarket for a shopping list of groceries in its monthly supermarket price comparison, making it the cheapest supermarket for 2023.

Asda and Morrisons were both at the bottom of Which?’s rankings, with a score of 64 per cent. Both scored just two stars for value for money and failed to achieve more than a mediocre score in any category. Talking about Asda, one shopper told Which?: “I regularly struggle to get everything I need.”

Meanwhile a Morrisons customer described the store as “hit and miss”.

Iceland topped the separate online supermarkets table with a customer score of 80 per cent. Shoppers gave high praise for its customer service, value for money and quality of own-label and fresh products. People commended the ‘helpful delivery staff’ and ‘easy-to-use website’.

However, Iceland missed out on WRP status as it has not committed to putting front of pack traffic light nutrition labelling on its products, a long-standing Which? campaign call.

In joint second place for online were Waitrose and Tesco, with a 78 per cent customer score. Waitrose earned the coveted WRP badge for its online offering, maintaining three to five stars in all categories, on top of its impressive customer score. One shopper told Which?: “A Rolls Royce grocer…online delivery is efficient and reliable.”

Meanwhile Tesco customers gave it four stars for delivery slot availability and communication, customer service, stock availability and quality of products. One shopper told Which?: “Great apart from (that) they never seem to have the cheapest items in stock.”

Tesco did not qualify for WRP status for several reasons including not committing to Which?’s campaign call to help shoppers struggling with the cost of living by stocking budget range products in its convenience stores. A Which? investigation last summer also found instances where some Tesco’s Clubcard Price loyalty offers could have given shoppers the impression that savings were more substantial than they really were.

In joint third place according to shoppers were Sainsbury’s and Ocado, both earning a 75 per cent customer score. Sainsbury’s achieved high praise in a range of categories including customer service and stock availability. However, it missed out on becoming a WRP based on Which?’s investigation into grocery freshness, where it came last out of six supermarkets, and its Nectar loyalty prices which – like Tesco’s – were found to be problematic in the consumer champion’s 2023 investigation.

Ocado scored highly in most categories and qualified as a WRP. One shopper said: “Ocado’s expertise in online grocery is reflected in the service it offers.”

At the bottom of the online supermarkets table was Aldi, with a 57 per cent customer score. It only managed two stars across the categories. Aldi does not offer home delivery, or sell its famous middle aisle ‘special buys’ online. At a flat rate of £4.99, click and collect slots may be more expensive than at other supermarkets. One Aldi customer said: “The website has a habit of not doing what it is supposed to.”

For the second year in a row, no supermarket achieved the full five stars in Which?’s annual supermarket survey when it came to value for money. Only Aldi and Lidl achieved four stars in this category for their in-store offerings, while Iceland was the only supermarket to achieve this online.

Ele Clark, Which? Retail Editor, said:

“M&S pipped Aldi to first place in our annual satisfaction survey this year, showing that – for shoppers who can afford it – quality products and brilliant customer service are still the key to a great in-store experience.

“No supermarket achieved five stars for value for money, but the fact that Aldi came second shows that price is still a top priority for many shoppers who’ve struggled with spiralling food costs for the last two years.”

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