Cost of living crisis: 8 tips to save on summer BBQ essentials
The summer is inviting most of us to enjoy the hot weather by throwing a BBQ. During the last heatwave, Tesco alone sold 900,000 packs of BBQ meat, according to consumer group Which?.
But with the cost of living still holding a tight grip on UK households, Which? found households can save money on their BBQ menu, by choosing the cheapest nearby supermarket and opting for own-brand products over expensive alternatives.
In a series of blind taste tests, Which? found out that supermarket own-brands are not only cheaper when it comes to summer favourites, but sometimes they also taste better than their well-known branded counterparts.
1. Shop at the cheapest supermarket
It often pays to check different supermarkets for the best prices.
Every month Which? analyses hundreds of groceries at the biggest supermarkets and often finds big price differences.
For example, in July 2022 Which? found Aldi was the cheapest supermarket, with a basket of 47 groceries costing an average of £74.23. The same or equivalent items from the priciest supermarket Waitrose cost £99.46 — a £25.23 saving.
2. Get the best banger for your buck
The consumer body asked a panel of consumers to blind-taste and rate pork sausages from 12 different brands, including Aldi, Lidl, Sainsbury's (SBRY.L) and other supermarket options, plus branded versions such as Heck and The Black Farmer.
Aldi and The Black Farmer tied for the top spot, impressing the panel with their tasty seasoning and perfectly porky flavour.
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Aldi’s offering was one of the cheapest sausages tested, costing £2.19 for 400g (55p per 100g), while the most expensive option tested from Waitrose cost £4.25 for 400g (£1.06 per 100g) and came near the bottom of the table.
3. Best meat-free sausages
Supermarkets also saw off competition from popular meat-free brands such as Quorn.
Which? tested meat-free sausages and crowned Tesco (TSCO.L) Plant Chef Cumberland Style Bangers as the best-tasting, alongside This Isn't Pork and Richmond.
While all three scored highly for taste, Tesco’s offering was awarded "great value", costing £1.75 for 6 (29p per sausage), significantly cheaper than This Isn’t Pork which cost £3 for six (50p per sausage).
4. Save £1.70 on tomato ketchup
Heinz (KHC) Tomato Ketchup was a firm favourite in terms of taste, but sets shoppers back £2.30 for 460g (50p per 100g).
Sainsbury’s Tomato Ketchup was the best value for money at 55p for 460g (12p per 100g) — saving £1.75 per bottle.
5. Try a supermarket cider
While Aspall and Waitrose’s ciders couldn’t be beaten on taste, Aldi’s Specially Selected Vintage Cider was also rated highly for flavour and was marked as a "great value" option, costing £1.89 per 750ml bottle (25p per 100ml) — 20p cheaper per 100ml than Waitrose.
6. The best low-alcohol or alcohol-free beer
Popular brands such as Heineken (HEIA.AS) and Stella Artois were rated highest for taste but Lidl’s Perlenbacher 0.0 wasn’t far behind, coming in fourth place.
Lidl's alcohol free option was marked as a "great value" option costing just 42p per 330ml bottle (13p per 100ml), less than half the price of Heineken which costs 88p per 330ml bottle (27p per 100ml).
This was also 71p cheaper than Peroni Libera Alcohol Free Beer, the most expensive option tested at £1.13 per 330ml bottle (34p per 100ml).
7. Choose a cheaper ice cream
To top your BBQ off with a sweet treat — Which? found that Lidl’s alternative to Wall’s Strawberry Cornetto ice cream cones ranked highest for taste, and were also the cheapest ice creams tested costing 24p per cone (£1.45 for a box of six), making them a great value option.
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Wall's Cornetto ranked eighth and cost 42p per cone, or £2.50 for a box of six.
8. Don’t pay over the odds for a BBQ
Which? found that spending more on a barbecue won't necessarily guarantee you better performance.
In fact, testers found a £35 option from Argos that’s quick to heat up, delivers a great smoky flavour and the perfect sear marks, so there's no need to spend a fortune.
The Argos Home Table Top Oil Drum Charcoal BBQ proved that you don’t need complicated controls and fancy features to cook tasty food, as it delivered delicious, evenly cooked meat and veg, according to the testers.