By MoneySavingExpert's Coupon Kid, Jordon Cox
With an average of £159 to be spent per family this year, budgets for Christmas food are always tight, but ‘downshifting’ on brands is a great way to save.
By embracing MSE’s downshift challenge, which means moving down one level from whatever you’d normally buy (eg, swapping Bisto gravy for a supermarket own brand, or ditching ‘taste the difference’ mince pies for a cheaper, basic pack), you can essentially buy all the same groceries – but pay less.
But can you really downshift your Christmas dinner? We think so. And to prove the point, we compared 11 different Christmas foods – a turkey crown, cranberry sauce, roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots, gravy, Yorkshire puddings, pigs in blankets, sage and onion stuffing, mince pies, and, of course, a Christmas pudding.
Here are the results:
|Premium||Branded||Own brand||Value range|
Whenever a supermarket didn’t offer an item at the level we needed, we chose the most expensive item from one level down to make the results as fair as possible. We also made sure all the weights and measures were like-for-like, or at least as close as we could get.
If downshifting your brands isn’t enough, you could go one step further by downshifting entirely to a cheaper supermarket. For example, by shopping at Aldi we found we could buy all the items – including sausages and bacon to make our own pigs in blankets that Aldi didn’t have – for a very tasty £19.79.
But in all the main supermarkets we looked at, trading household names for own-brand goods yielded a 10% saving every time. And if you’d usually prefer to shop at the pricier end of the scale, you can easily save £10 by downshifting from the premium range to cheaper (but still branded) foods.
So when you’re buying your Christmas food this year (or next year if you’ve already done it this time round), have a think about whether you could downshift to save money. It could certainly be useful if you’ve lots of presents to buy.