Aldi’s middle aisle Specialbuys might get shoppers into a tizz on Thursdays and Sundays but it seems the everyday bargains are just as special for the discounter’s customers, after it was named the UK’s favourite in-store supermarket in Which?’s annual satisfaction survey.
The organisation, which claims to be the UK’s leading “consumer champion”, surveyed more than 3,000 members of the public about their experience with supermarkets, asking customers to rate their shopping experience in a range of categories such as in-store appearance and layout, quality of produce, availability of online delivery slots and value for money.
German discounter Aldi emerged as the top in-store supermarket in the UK after receiving a five-star rating for value for money – the only supermarket to achieve this in the survey – and a 73% customer score.
While Aldi received mediocre ratings across all other categories, including two stars for store layout and three stars for the quality of its own-label products and fresh food, price was the most important consideration for customers when choosing where to shop.
In 2020, Aldi was the cheapest supermarket to shop in six of the eight months it was included in Which?’s monthly supermarket price analysis.
When it comes to online shopping – which has seen a huge surge since Covid struck 12 months ago, Sainsbury’s came out top with an overall customer score of 71% and a four-star rating for the availability of delivery slots.
However, Ocado fell to joint-fifth place alongside Waitrose and Morrisons, after struggling to meet demand when the pandemic hit. Ultimately the company, which last year launched its partnership with Marks & Spencer, was forced to close its website and app – the latter for several months. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it received just two-star ratings for the availability of delivery slots.
It also received two-stars for value for money, reflecting its regular appearance as the second-most expensive supermarket after Waitrose in the Which? monthly analysis.
One Ocado customer told Which?: “During [the first] lockdown I really struggled to get delivery slots, despite being officially classified as vulnerable and having a monthly delivery pass.”
M&S came second in the in-store supermarkets table, receiving a five-star rating for the appearance and layout of its stores and the quality of its own-label and fresh products.
In joint-third place were Lidl, Tesco and Waitrose. Much like its rival Aldi, Lidl performed well when it came to value for money, achieving four-star ratings, but it failed to impress customers in other categories.
Despite receiving five stars for store layout and food quality, Waitrose was let down by its two-star rating for value for money.
Co-op finished bottom of the in-store shopping table as it failed to impress customers in key categories. It received just one-star for value for money, and two-stars for its store layout and food quality.
Which? Magazine Editor Harry Rose said: “Many households have felt the pinch during the pandemic, and value for money was the most important factor when shopping in-store in our annual supermarket survey – which explains why Aldi came out on top.
“Online supermarkets have also been a lifeline for many people during the pandemic, and while Sainsbury’s rose to the challenge by massively increasing its delivery capacity, Ocado’s reputation took a hit after the scale of demand meant it stopped accepting new customers and shut down its app at the height of lockdown.”
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