Counting the cost of Christmas dinner

  • The cost of Christmas dinner can vary between supermarkets by more than £40[i]
  • Analysis of the cost of a basket of festive food staples shows Asda shoppers are getting the most for their money ahead of December 25
  • Yorkshire Building Society offers tips to help keep the cost of Christmas dinner down

With less than a week to go until the annual serving of a festive feast, those taking on the role of Christmas chef will be wise to shop around to get the best deals on their ingredients, according to new analysis. 

Savings experts at Yorkshire Building Society have been tracking[ii] the cost of seasonal favourites including turkey, sprouts and bucks fizz to help people buying this year’s dinner to shop savvy.

Comparing the prices of a similar[iii] basket of goods at five of the country’s supermarket brands over the last seven weeks, the Society found shoppers at Asda could be more than £40.00 better off than those who bought an equivalent basket of items at Waitrose.























































The majority (57%) of items were identical branded favourites including Aunt Bessies, Walls and Baileys, with the bottle of the Irish tipple being the most discounted item across all stores during the period. The recommended retail price was £20, but could be found for as little as £12 in Asda, Morrisons and Tesco.

Louise Halliwell, senior savings manager at Yorkshire Building Society, said:

Christmas is an expensive time so we’re keen to help shoppers make the most of their money when it comes to one of the main events - dinner.

We know people will have their favourite brands, different tastes or additional items that may not be included in our basket of items but our analysis does show that the best deals are spread across various supermarkets, and change regularly. Savvy shoppers would be wise to plan ahead if they want to make the most of their money this Christmas.

Ben Mitchell, Research Fellow at The Retail Institute at Leeds Beckett University, said:

Yorkshire Building Society’s research findings reflect the growing complexity of the retail market. This year has been turbulent for the high street with the continuing evolution towards online shopping combining with increasing levels of market uncertainty and competition.

The grocery sector is now experiencing this to a greater degree and the cost of Christmas dinner study shows that consumers can get big savings benefits from shopping around online. This is likely to intensify an already competitive environment, requiring retailers to be even more consumer centric and agile.


Tips for a Christmas dinner without breaking the bank:

  • Make a list (and check it twice…) – take note of everything you’ll need to create your perfect dinner before you hit the shops and stick to it. You’ll be less likely to add enticing ‘offers’ or additional extras you don’t need.
  • Shop around – research shows there’s significant savings to be had by shopping around. Where possible, look at online comparison sites to find the bargains for your more expensive items before you go to buy.
  • Split the courses – if you’re inviting friends or family over for the event ask them to bring a starter or pudding in lieu of gifts.
  • Spread the cost – buy items with a longer date in your weekly shop this week so you’re not spending all at once on Christmas Eve.
  • Save the leftovers – leftover food, if stored safely, could be used for a Boxing Day spread or frozen to help with the cost of future meals.


List of the tracked items for comparison:

Frozen Turkey Crown (c.2kg); Aunt Bessie's 12 golden Yorkshires; Aunt Bessie's Roasties (1.4kg); Aunt Bessie's Carrot and Swede mash 500g; Aunt Bessie's Sage and Onion Stuffing (310g); 1kg own brand frozen brussell sprouts; Own brand frozen 12 pigs in blankets; Aunt Bessie's honey glazed parsnips (500g); Birds Eye Garden Peas (375g); Colman's Bread Sauce (40g); Ocean Spray smooth cranberry sauce (250g); Own brand premium Christmas Pudding to serve 4 (c.500g); Own brand yule log; Elmlea double cream (284ml); Wall's Soft Scoop Vanilla Icecream (1.8l); Own brand mince pies (6 pack); Own brand Bucks Fizz; Sparkling Prosecco Extra Dry (75cl); Budweiser 12 pack (300ml); Baileys Original (1litre); Own brand Christmas crackers 12 pack

[i] Difference between average basket of goods from Asda at £69.54 and Waitrose at £109.58 = £40.04. On 5 and 12 December 2018 the difference rose to £42.31.

[ii]   Yorkshire Building Society compared a list of 21 items over a seven week period from 7 Nov – 19 Dec 2018, tracking the cost of individual items at Asda, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose.

[iii] 57% of the items were identical branded items and the remaining 43% were the supermarkets’ own brand like-for-like weight, description and servings. Waitrose had slight variances on stock as some branded items were unavailable: Frozen Turkey Crown up to 6kg; Own brand Sage and Onion Stuffing (225g); own brand fresh brussell sprouts; Own brand frozen 16 pigs in blankets; Ocean Spray whole cranberry sauce (250g); Own brand meringue yule log

[iiii] Average cost of the basket over the seven week period

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