8.8.12

Exactly how much am I paying for Free From Food?


I am not sure how many of you will be interested in this post but I decided out of curiosity to tally up my Free From shopping. I wanted to see how much my allergies were costing me each week. I have picked the products I buy regularly that cater to my dairy and egg free diet. When comparing “normal” foods to Free From the advantage the regular shopper has is the choice between branded and own brand products. There can be considerable price differences. The supermarkets do have own branded Free From goods but they tend not to cater for my allergies as they are aimed at Gluten Free diets.

For my price comparison I have picked on Tesco because I shop there on a weekly basis. I have looked at their own brand products. Tesco has a three price structure - Value, Finest and one that falls between the two. It is the middle price that I looked at. I do think the three big supermarkets (Tesco, Sainsbury’s & Asda) have similar prices to one another when it comes to basic essentials. 

So here is my shopping list. 

Milk 
Alpro Chilled Soya Milk 1L £1.39
Kara Dairy Free (Chocolate flavour) £1.39
Tesco Pure Fresh Semi Skim 1L £1
Tesco Chocolate Milk 1L £1.22
Margarine
Pure Soya Spread 500g £1.40
Tesco Everyday Value Margarine 500g 75p 
Biscuits
Sunstart Shortbread 150g £1.40
Tesco Shortbread Fingers 250g 89p
Cereal
Natures Path Gluten Free Os £2.75
Tesco Multigrain Hoops 375g £1.15
Yoghurts
Alpro Yoghurt 4 x 125g £1.75
Tesco Yoghurt 6 x 125g £1
Chocolate
Dairy Free chocolate buttons 25g 45p
Tesco chocolate buttons 70g 36p
Sauces
Tiger Tiger Mayo 280g £1.59 
Tesco Mayonnaise 250ml 54p
Cheese
Tofutti chedder style slices 150g (8 slices) £2.19
Tofutti spread 225g £2.89
Tesco 10 cheese slices 200g £1
Tesco cheese spread 200g £1
Pasta
Dove Farm 500g £2
Tesco pasta 500g 95p

My Free From list totals £19.20 and the Own Brand equivalents come to £9.86. Wow! Now of course I knew I paid more but I did not realise exactly how much more it was.  I am very fortunate not to need Gluten Free bread as that would bump the total up by another £2-3 per loaf.  If I compared my prices to branded goods would I have matched the price? Maybe but even if this was the case did you notice package weights can be smaller for Free From food?  Another advantage non allergy shoppers have are the special offers across the store and Free From food never seems to be included.

This certainly was an interesting exercise for me but what do you think?




21 comments:

  1. I think its bad that they can charge so much more , especially as its something you have to have. I always knew free from foods cost more, but like you didn't realise by how much. this was a really interesting post. xx

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    1. Thanks for your comment Alice, I am pleased you found this interesting :) I feel a little shocked at how big the difference is, you always think it's a couple more pennies here and there but clearly it isn't.

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  2. It's a nightmare! I'm dairy free too and that's annoying in itself but having to pay double for everything sucks even more! Although to be honest I'm just pleased supermarkets stock free from foods so widely now. It's not as hard work as it used to be! X

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I agree with you. I remember when I was a child supermarkets didn't stock these items, I just had to survive without cheese etc & lived off baby formula because couldn't get soya milk. But even though these are now readily available I totally agree paying double sucks big time & I don't see why we should be penalised.

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  3. Really interesting. Like you, I was thinking it's just a few pennies here or there, but now I see it's double the bill! Wow! I must admit, if I see something I usually buy on offer (like dairy free milk at Sainsbury's and Tesco at the moment - unfortunately it's not all brands) I buy up a whole load of it, to try and compensate for it, but I don't think it really can compensate very much, looking at the price comparisons you'e made here!

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    1. I saw the dairy free milk offer but I don't buy Alpro (exception of vanilla) my everyday soya milk is just Tesco own, I stock up on the UHT kind. It works out a lot cheaper than branded & even beats the offer. So I guess I win on that front lol. I know what you mean though if I see a good value promotion I stock up probably why my store always runs out quickly of things everyone has same plan.

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  4. It is an interesting comparison - however from a nutritional point of view - even if you did not struggle with allergies can you honestly say you would be purchasing Tesco own brand products?
    The ingredients couldn't be more to the other end of the spectrum and the quality in a completely different league altogether.
    I do understand that alternative products can cost more, but there are companies like Goodness Direct and Lembas where you can buy great health products cheaper in slightly larger quantities , so you can stock up in one go and go in with friends to buy larger amounts and save money.
    Check them out and see if they could help you keep costs down without compromising on quality...

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    1. Each week my trolley contains a variety of Tesco own brand goods, I certainly do not shy away from them. I see no problem with their ranges, Value products are not for me but I buy from other price bracket products e.g Finest. I simply don't agree about ingredients when it comes to the list above I'm talking basic foods essentials, milk, cheese, chocolate these are not complex ingredients like a Ready Meal where I would be concerned about nutritional values. Whilst I do appreciate the suggestion I have issues with Goodness Direct, their pricing for delivery is appalling and bumps up the overall cost of shopping. Plus someone needs to be in to take delivery. As a single person with a small kitchen I don't have room to store bulk buy items nor can I eat my way through perishables in time. As for friends, don't have any with similar allergies that would want to share these items with me. It's a nice idea but one I don't find practical.

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  5. Very interesting. I do think prices have, over time, reduced, and that trend should continue as competition, demand and awareness all increase. Quite whether prices will reach 'non-freefrom' levels is unlikely, but the difference will eventually be not as noticeable, I would think. I know it's frustrating, but in some cases these are very niche products, which aren't produced in mass quantities and may require specialist ingredients - and therefore can be dearer as a result.

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    1. I understand that it's a specialist market which comes with it's own costs. I do hope that given time the gap in pricing will reduce.

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  6. I think it is unfair that we have to pay more for free from foods. I am often put off buying some of the more 'treat' foods (chocolate, cakes etc) which I guess is not a bad thing but for everyday items such as yogurts I will buy them because if I want to eat well as a veggie/vegan then I don't really have a choice x

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    1. I really wish dairy free yoghurt was available as a 6 pack rather than 4 I do find that annoying. When it comes to cakes I think it's better and possibly cheaper to make those at home. Nothing worse than spending £3 on a box of free from cake & it tastes like cardboard :)

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  7. I think the price jump is shocking. As a coeliac I am lucky enough that I can get some things on prescription but the bread is not that great (yes, even the genius stuff) so I spend £6 a week on 2 small loaves from Tescos. I struggle to find cheap biscuits so it's either an expensive packet, or none at all. However, I do have more choice than you do when it comes down to what i eat, so really you should be getting things even cheaper! It's al a scam cos we know these things don't cos THAT much more to produce.

    (the genius seeded loaf from tescos is fab though, tastes just like real bread.)

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    1. Last week I saw gluten free biscuits in Tesco for £4.25 a box, that is criminal, the Sunstart ones are the cheapest I have found that taste nice. I would love a free from company to explain how they justify the extra charges or whether it's the supermarket mark up

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  8. Wow that's pretty shocking! One of my work colleagues has to choose a lot of free-from foods because of her allergies, and she's always mentioning how expensive her shopping bill is every week. It's surprising that none of the major supermarkets have come up with a free-from 'basics' range yet, though it's all about profit with them isn't it? :(

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    1. Sadly I think you are right profits are going to be a factor in all of this. The supermarket own brand free from do have slightly lower prices than competitors but the quality isn't there at the moment, plus Gluten Free seems to be the market they aim at. I certainly understand where your colleague is coming from :(

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  9. Interesting post! I'm afraid that it really doesn't surprise me though. If you look at the sizes of the items you'll probably find that the Free From options are smaller too, take the chocolate buttons for example!

    My bank account has certainly felt the difference since I've turned largely vegan. I guess it's just a good job that meat alternatives such as beans and lentisls are so cheap, but that doesn't help if you're Coeliac or have allergies!

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  10. I had a bit of a rant about it a few months back too:
    http://alimentarybites.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/oat-milk-and-other-stuff.html

    My latest bugbear is that (UK) Supermarkets have recently launched their own 'free-from' brands and are using what limited shelf space they have available to stock mainly their own brands. That's well within their rights, but as they are on the whole made for coeliacs, not multiple food allergy, it has reduced choice even further as they have not necessarily replaced like with like. My other concern is that fantastic small producers, who are increasing in the multi allergy market, are then losing out and may not be able to continue expanding ranges, or even producing the foods they already do.

    If you find a product you like, keep asking your local supermarkets, they might just take note and stock it. Doesn't help with the price though...

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    1. Thanks for your comment, you make a very valid point, classic example is Tesco own brand chilled dairy free they discontinued Cheezly & Pure "cheese" spread before introducing this to my store, drove me nuts as I wanted choice. We definitely need to campaign for the little guys. Price may become irrelevant to me if I can't get what I want.

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  11. I love the coconut milk! Have you tried the olive oil Pure spread? It's lovely! I once tried soya cheddar style cheese and didn't like the taste...was really strong :S what do these cheeses taste like?

    Nadia x

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    1. I have tried all the Pure spreads, I tend to just pick up which ever is in stock at the time. It's really hard for me to say what the free from cheeses are like because I haven't had dairy cheese. I buy the garlic & herb spreadable tofutti so that is the prominent flavour in that one. The other is a bit fake & artificial but I like it in bun with a burger, I don't recommend it by itself best with other things :)

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