I hope you’re enjoying reading about my experience learning the ins and outs of grocery shopping in Great Britain. In particular, my post comparing the U.S. and GB drew a lot of attention. Clearly everyone has a strong opinion on where to shop here. So I thought I’d finish the month-long theme of groceries with a brief description of some of the major chains. (You can read about similarities here and the things that surprised me here.)
I should preface this by saying that these are merely my opinions. You may prefer one store over another for very different reasons. Also, these are the stores I have personal experience with. There are several other major chains found in Great Britain, but not anywhere near where I live, and thus I haven’t shopped at them yet.
In alphabetical order to be fair:
ASDA: This is the UK equivalent to Walmart (owned by Walmart, in fact.) You’ll find it a bit smaller than a U.S. Walmart store, but otherwise fairly similar. I’d estimate that about 2/3 of the store is made up of food, and the other 1/3 is non-food products, like clothes, books, toys, home goods, etc. I only go occasionally, mostly because it carries the British version of Goldfish crackers (called Finz here) that my children really miss from home.
Marks and Spencer: This is both a grocery chain and a department store (the grocery version being called M & S Simply Food). There is one near my house and I love visiting, mostly for their quality ready-made meals. In fact, they run a popular deal called 2 for 10 Pounds. You get a main entrée, a side dish, a dessert and a bottle of wine, all meant to feed two people, for 10 Pounds (approximately $15). Can’t beat that price, and the quality is great.
Morrisons: I shop here somewhat regularly. The prices are pretty consistently low, and as it is one of the larger stores near my house, the selection is really great. I also enjoy that it has a salad bar (somewhat unusual here but something I love for lunch) and a large cafe.
Sainsburys: This is where I tend to do the bulk of my shopping. It is somewhat similar in size to Morrisons, but has the added benefit of online ordering and delivery. Plus, this store participates in the popular Nectar loyalty program. Since food is a big expense for my family, I like earning points when I shop. Plus, for me, it is conveniently located next to my son’s nursery school, so I drive by it often.
Tesco: This is a very popular chain of stores here, but I don’t have one close to where I live. So I’ve only shopped there once. There is a miniature version nearby, called Tesco Express, nearby that I pop into occasionally but it’s not large enough for me to do my weekly shopping run there.
Waitrose: Another very popular choice here. It is a bit smaller than some of the other stores, but the quality is fantastic, especially the ready-made meals, meat and produce. They also offer online ordering and delivery. I find their prices a bit high, but if I’m making a special meal then I make it a point to come here for most of the ingredients.
Again, this is not intended to be a comprehensive listing of British grocery stores. I’m well aware that I’ve missed a few big ones. Nor would I ever try to convince anyone to shop where I shop. It’s simply my experience learning and discovering what feels most comfortable to me.