Shoppers are reporting a shortage of dozens of popular household brands at Tesco. But if you're frantically searching for your fix of Marmite, Hellmann's or PG Tips, it's actually possible to slash costs by buying the same brand elsewhere or downshifting to an own-brand equivalent.

The problems arose after the supermarket giant locked horns with manufacturer Unilever over the price of its goods. Unilever reportedly wants Tesco to pay a higher wholesale price because of the slump in the value of the pound – but Tesco is resisting.

Until the two firms reach an agreement, you could find it harder to buy Unilever products at Tesco stores or online. When we checked at 4pm today, we were able to find some Unilever products still listed on Tesco's website, but a spokesperson for the supermarket confirmed it is experiencing "availability issues" online.

See our 33 Supermarket Shopping Tips for tools and tricks to cut the cost of your weekly shop.

Martin Lewis
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Where to find cheaper alternatives

Despite the current row over prices, Tesco isn't always the cheapest place to buy Unilever products, as the table below shows.

What's more, if you're struggling to buy your favourites, why not try our Downshift Challenge and give the supermarkets' own offerings a try? We've included the cheapest own-brand equivalents in our findings.

To look for the cheapest alternatives, we used the comparison site mysupermarket.co.uk, which lists prices publicly available on supermarkets' websites. Own-brand products often come in slightly different sizes than branded products, so we've chosen products as similar as possible to the original. But this table is just a snapshot of current prices, rather than a definitive guide.

For each item, we've marked the cheapest branded price and cheapest own-brand price in bold.

Unilever brands and own-brand equivalents compared (i)
Branded (Tesco price) Cheapest branded elsewhere   Own brand (Tesco) Cheapest own brand elsewhere
Marmite Yeast Extract 250g
94p/100g (£2.35)

Same price at Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose, Ocado & Aldi (£2.35)   Tesco Yeast Extract 225g
77.8p/100g (£1.75)
Morrisons Yeast Extract 240g
76.7p/100g (£1.84)
Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise 600g
33.3p/100g (£2)

Same price at Asda, Sainsbury's & Morrisons (£2) Tesco Mayonnaise 500ml 15.8p / 100ml (79p) Aldi Bramwells Real Mayonnaise (500ml)
13p/100ml (65p)
PG Tips Pyramid Tea Bags 160
29.3p/10 bags (£4.69)
Waitrose
18.8p/10 bags (£3)
Tesco Original Tea Bags 160 12.2p/10 bags (£1.95)

Aldi Diplomat Red Label Round Tea Bags 160
9.7p/10 bags (£1.55)
Surf Essential Oils Powder Lavender & Jasmine – 45 Washes
20p/wash (£9)
Asda
11.1p/wash (£5)
Tesco Biological Washing Powder – 40 Washes
10p/wash (£4)
Tesco came joint cheapest with Sainsbury's Biological Powder – 40 Washes
Pot Noodle Beef and Tomato flavour 90g
£1.11/100g (£1)
Asda
55.6p/100g (50p)
N/A N/A
Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough Ice Cream 500ml
50p/100ml (£2.50)
Asda
49.4p/100ml (£2.47)
Tesco Ice Cream Cookie Dough 480ml
41p/100ml (£2)
Asda Loaded Cookie Dough Ice Cream 480ml
31.3p/100ml (£1.50)
Radox Feel Gorgeous Shower Gel – Coconut Kiss 250ml
56p/100ml (£1.40)
Ocado and Sainsbury's
40p/100ml (£1)
Tesco Shower Crème – Wake Up! Creamy Coconut & Vanilla 250ml
34p/100ml (85p)
Sainsbury's Fruits Coconut Body Wash 250ml
30p/100ml (75p)
Cif Cream Lemon Fresh 500ml
50p/100ml (£2.50)
Poundstretcher
20p/100ml (£1)
Tesco Cream Cleaner Citrus 500ml
16p/100ml 80p
Asda Cream Cleaner Lemon 500ml
15.6p/100ml (78p)
Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly 100g
£2.00/100g (£2.00)
Poundstretcher
£1/100g (£1)
Tesco Loves Baby Petroleum Jelly 150ml
£1.00/100ml (£1.50)
Asda Little Angels Protective Petroleum Jelly 150ml
96.7p/100ml (£1.45)
Domestos Thick Bleach Citrus Fresh 750ml
14.7p/100ml (£1.10)
Same price at Asda, Sainsbury's, Iceland & Morrisons (£1.10) Tesco Thick Bleach 24 Hour Citrus 750ml
6.7p/100ml (50p)
Sainsbury's Citrus Thick Bleach 750ml & Aldi Power Force Thick Bleach Lemon 750ml
5.3p/100ml (40p)
 
(i) Table based on data at mysupermarket.co.uk, correct as of 13/10/2016. Where own-brand product differs in size, measurement, scent or flavour from Unilever's product we've picked the closest equivalent.

The MSE Marmite taste test

To put the Downshift Challenge logic into practice, we did a blind taste test today at MSE Towers to see if the team could tell the difference between Marmite and Tesco's own-brand yeast extract. Watch how it went below:

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