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Supermarket vote - the results

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Rob Unsworth - editor | 17:33 UK time, Monday, 23 February 2009

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Like it or not, supermarkets are a big part of everyday life for many of us. We were curious to find out your thoughts, so we asked you, and a staggering 36,308 chose to take part in our online supermarket vote.

The vote sparked a lively debate on our website. Some strong opinions were voiced about which supermarket is best for value and best for quality.

We met up with a group of our bloggers, who all had something to say about which supermarkets they love and which they're less keen on. We even met one happy shopper who visits four supermarkets every Saturday, taking him no less than four hours.

Clear winner
Our online vote asked which supermarket you most frequently shop in. The results were broken down into 12 regions and the answers were not the same nationwide. For example, Morrisons came out top in Yorkshire and Humber, the area where the chain first began. Overall, however, there was a clear national winner.

Tesco is the store where the largest number of voters said they shop. A quarter said it was their regular supermarket but Tesco shouldn't reach for the bubbly just yet. They may be the best at getting people through their door, but that doesn't necessarily mean everyone loves the experience. 33 per cent of voters who shop at Tesco are very satisfied with the store. Not bad, but the number of Waitrose shoppers who told us they're very satisfied is a rather more impressive 85 per cent.

When you're as big as Tesco, you're bound to provoke strong opinions. When we asked which store, if any, voters would least like to shop in, a lot of you voted for Tesco. In fact, they were neck and neck with Netto. The only supermarket our voters liked to shop in less, was Iceland. Adam Leyland, editor of the Grocer magazine says: "Tesco is the biggest player and so a lot of people love to hate it because it's so powerful. It's got more than 30 per cent of the market but an awful lot of people respect it because it does things so well."

Best value
There's one key area where Tesco is determined to do well but so is its rival Asda. The focus of this competition is price. Both supermarkets have been running adverts on TV and in the press stating that they've lowered more prices than their rivals. However, you said one of them was way ahead of the other. The supermarket that Watchdog voters say is best for value is Asda!

It got 8,806 of the 36,000 votes whereas Tesco got 5,784, a distant second place. This result did not surprise Adam Leyland who says that Asda has "always been focussed on everyday prices."

Best quality
For our voters, quality is just as important as price. When we asked which supermarket has the best quality food, one name stands out. 12,638 people gave top marks to the food at Marks and Spencer. That's 35 per cent of voters, even though just two per cent said they shop there most frequently, suggesting the reputation of M&S for quality food stretches way beyond its everyday customers. Waitrose came second for quality. 29 per cent of our voters said its food was the best, but not in the Northwest where voters reckon the best supermarket food comes from the Co-Op.

Out of the big four, it was Sainsbury's who came top for quality, with twice as many votes as any of Tesco, Morrisons or Asda.

Overall favourite
However, the one all of the supermarkets really want to win is the category of favourite. It has been very close but there is one winner - Waitrose.

This is the order our 36,000 voters put them in:

1) Waitrose/Ocado - 21 per cent
2) Sainsbury's - 19 per cent
3) Tesco - 15 per cent
4) Asda - 14 per cent
5) Morrisons - 10 per cent
6) Marks and Spencer - 9 per cent

Read part one of our supermarket vote results, how we shop and see the full breakdown of the Watchdog vote results.


  • Comment number 1.

    I cannot see how Waitrose for all its quality won this poll, unless the 36000 all live in the South of England. I live in Cheshire, all of the main supermarkets are here but the nearest Waitrose is 30 miles away.

    The survey cannot be geographically balanced

  • Comment number 2.

    On, no the secret is out will this mean that everyone will now want to shop at Waitrose. I hope not, it's the best place to shop, I occasionally go in M&S and Sainsburys, but always go back to my favorite shop Waitrose.

  • Comment number 3.

    I also agree with your first comment, i cannot see how Waitrose could win the poll.Unless the vote was only carried out in the South! Until i went to London i hadn't even heard of them and Nottingham ONly got one last year. Are Waitrose anywher in the North/North West of England?

    I never see Tesco's Empty and everyone i talk to in my area either shop at Tesco's or Asda!

    Sorry but i don't see it as a very fair reflection of Supermarket shopping!

  • Comment number 4.

    i am wondering how you reach the fact that waitrose managed to win being as they dont have that many shops everybody who voted must of come from the south, god knows where my nearest waitrose is

  • Comment number 5.

    Agree with redgolflady ,must have been a south of england vote..
    living in glasgow ,we have one waitrose in edinburgh 45 miles away next 110 miles then 130 miles then 180 miles away.
    not very balanced.
    Should be called the


  • Comment number 6.

    The voting in my opinion has been based on two factors - Where the person shops mainly and where they would like to shop.

    Yes Tesco maybe the biggest but it is just that reason in that more people shop at Tesco overall than anywhere else. Yes a lot of people want to shop at Waitrose as they came out top , but how many actually shop there. Maybe the votes should be adjusted so that the true figures are found.
    I.e for each geographical region used you need to divide the votes by the number of stores in that region to be fair. so if Tesco in London region got 8000 votes and they have 100 stores then they would have a computer score of 80
    now if Waitrose also got 8000 votes for just 10 stores then thats a score of 100.

  • Comment number 7.

    I am very glad Waitrose is the overall winner. As I shop there on a weekly basis, they have good quality fresh food, good prices, and a good feel to the place too.
    Also I am glad Sainsburys came 2nd, as they have good fresh food, good prices also. Brilliant result.

  • Comment number 8.

    I am so pleased that Tesco did not win this vote there advertising tactics are really bad slatting other supermarkets all the time. Its seems that the only thing they are concerned about is prices instead of quality of products. I shop at Sainsburys they have good value for high quality food, clothing etc. In fact I would say that the other supermarkets all beat them hands down but that is only my opinion

  • Comment number 9.

    i actually work in asda in yeovil and we have been so busy since jan while other supermarkets been chopping we are growing i dont think the final was a fair one

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    I would love to shop at Waitrose but I beleive the closest Waitrose store to Teignmouth is approx 30 miles away. Please open a store here as mooted several months ago.

  • Comment number 12.

    i think there may be a bit of the green eyed monster from people thinking vote wasnt fair i expect i lot of people voted for waitrose even though they dont have one surely this can only be good news waitrose will sit up and see they need to get the stores open in more areas .come waitrose take the hint

  • Comment number 13.

    Many of the above comments seem to think it was a "vote" whereas in fact it was a self selecting survey.
    Concerned bother to take part and proportionately Tesco with so many shops couldn't or should fail to win. Some towns are called in the trade Tesco towns.
    But just look at the bulk of Tesco shoppers they probably don't even look at BBC TV let alone take part in surveys. That is proportionate to the population, who do not watch BBC, a fact! Tesco shoppers wouldn't care if chickens were kept in sheds three deep as long as their Kentucky chicken was the right price on Saturday night. That is the view of the management and they assume their customers think likewise. As they have the lionshare of the shopping community then both must be reflections of the other.
    They should therefore have won every prize. That they didn't proves the "voters" were self selecting and therefore discerning people.
    The first programme ignored a substantail retailer, the Co-op, yet viewers in the northwest still favoured it, though they were subsequently absent from the studio. ITV certainly doesn't mind their advertising and BBC radio is featuring them on its You and Yours programme on Friday.
    So the people often know best!!!
    Perhaps the most telling aspect was the Waitrose respresentative equating their staff numbers with those who took part and the fact they were a unique "partnership." Could it just be that there was substantial lobbying within the Waitrose organisation to encourage "voting" for themselves as they had the most to gain personally?

  • Comment number 14.

    I must admit I'm surprised the cooperative isn't up there - their products are really good now, our local one has free home delivery (in a low emission van) if you spend over £25-00 and the offers are great. The fresh produce seems to be more local than most too.

  • Comment number 15.

    It's obvious that Waitrose is the best supermarket and, although there is not one that close to us, so we cannot shop there that often, it would get our vote for quality along with mainly British fresh food, cleanliness and a generally more relaxed supermarket experience. You also see foods products in there which you never seem to see elsewhere.

    If more people had one close by, I am sure it would have had an even clearer lead. It gives the impression of the M&S quality while being a complete supermarket.

  • Comment number 16.

    I work for Waitrose and have done for 33 years after working for Tesco for less than a year.I am absolutely delighted that we have won this award.Waitrose has always been a great place to work where partners as we are called are treated extremely well.Waitrose really care about its customers,suppliers the commnunity and the products it sells. The comments about the vote not being a fair one don't hold water as we have less customers than most of the other companies so less people who would vote for us,but everybody had an opportunity to vote so if we had more stores we would have more peopele voting for us it's a bit like the green party winning the general election.One thing we never forget is it is the customer who pay our wages and giving great service is what we all care about and making sure our customers go away happy and satisfied after every visit. Thank you to all our customers who voted for us we really appreciate it.

  • Comment number 17.

    Has anyone noticed that in all the articles about Asda and their price wars against other stores, no one ever takes into account the fact that customers have to pay £1 to use the carpark for two hours.You cant get that back unless you spend £5 in the store which means, if you just want say bread and milk then it costs you £1 to park and go and buy it in their store ! How can they say that Asda is cheaper than other retailers when you have to add that £1 on to the cost of your purchases. Its wrong and they should be taken to task over it. I wont shop at Asda as a matter or principle because I wont be pushed into spending more than £5 just to retrive my car parking charges.
    I would have thought that Asda should have come at the bottom of the poll just because of the extra cost of parking at their stores. I certainly wouldnt vote for them.

  • Comment number 18.

    Well I think that Waitrose has not only quality products, fresh produce that is in season and at good prices but without compromising quality, and in all honesty you are what you eat.

    Sometimes you can not have just cheap prices without affecting the quality of the produce. At Waitrose the prices are just as good, sometimes cheaper for their own range/brand but the quality is far better than other supermakets.

    Plus the stores are clean and look inviting not like a discount store with brash signs and highly coloured banners. Asda and Tesco you could take a leaf out of the Waitrose book and go more diluted with colours.

    The best in the retailing chain followed by the Coop.

  • Comment number 19.

    I have recently left Tesco, (too expensive) and I now shop at Asda. They are extremely helpful and friendly.

  • Comment number 20.

    I agree. This survey is not representitive of the whole country.
    Waitrose doesn't exist in Manchester than you very much! It seems only the south had their say on this....

  • Comment number 21.

    I live in Cheshire and the opening of two local Waitrose stores in the last two years has been the the best thing to happen to local shopping. Waitrose price match the two local giant Tesco stores and at least match M&S on quality. The overall decider is customer service throughout the stores and friendliness of the staff.
    I just hope that this win will not transform the Waitrose into the crowded zoo that is Tesco and Morrisons.

  • Comment number 22.

    I'm surprised that Waitrose received the highest vote as I find them the most expensive.
    Maybe Tesco would have received more votes if they were more flexible. Many people now use the Electron card and while Tesco accepts this in store it is not accepted for online shopping and home delivery on which many rely. Other supermarkets do. Tesco have received a lot of complaints but despite the usual platitudes when replying, nothing changes.
    Every little helps only seems to apply when it doesn't inconvenience Tesco.

  • Comment number 23.

    I work in Sainsbury's Maidstone and since Christmas it too has been very busy when I have been working. When I lived up north (Scotland) I had never even heard of Waitrose. So goes to show the poll wasn't a fair one.

  • Comment number 24.

    We don't have Waitrose in Northern Ireland and now I feel that maybe we're missing out not having one, if someone from Waitrose reads this, please consider Northern Ireland for your next location!!

  • Comment number 25.

    Waitrose? - with only around twenty stores north of London! A farce of a self-selecting vote made to look like a survey.
    Meaningless! Tells us nothing.
    Why does Watchdog waste time and money on this sort of thing?

  • Comment number 26.

    Prices in Lidls....I am not suprised Lidl's didn't get a better showing as their prices have shot up over the past few months.

  • Comment number 27.

    I have never heard of Waitrose, so I'm shocked at these results.

    I use a site to compare the prices of Asda, Sainsburys and Tesco. I find Tesco the cheapest and I go there often. Since Morrisons are not there I can't compare and therefore I don't go.

  • Comment number 28.

    How can Watrose be the winner I dont have one here where I live and Sainburys you are having a laugh right as they are the dearest about, well they are here.

    What of aldi and lidi is cos they dont carry over 5,000 products per week but 300 and are not in the same league as you'll find that a lot more folks will be going to the cheaper shops for there groceries not the big named ones thats for sure.

    So I think this was an English vote only then so a bit one sided don't you think mmmmm

  • Comment number 29.

    Rather an unfair comparison as M&S are not a full service supermaket.

    However in terms of the quality of their food, particularly their prepared meals and fresh produce, they are light years ahead of the rest.

  • Comment number 30.

    I do think that in a way - people may also be considering 'if they had the money' to shop at Waitrose. In a way - we'd all like to shop at Waitrose but we don't all have the money.

  • Comment number 31.

    I have shopped at Tesco for the last 22 years and my Mum and Dad for 54 years and we have no intentions of changing. They provide good quality products, friendly service and really good prices. Tesco are simply the best, heads and shoulders above the rest.

  • Comment number 32.

    I would shop at the Co op because I like their principles but their turnover is obviously not high enough because some of the 'fresh' food is not. [fresh] I like Waitrose and shop there when I am near to one. M&S I also like. I do most of my shopping in Asda now, though I do shop in Tesco sometimes but I am finding them more and more arrogant as time passes. The customer is never right. I would also like to comment on their petrol prices, they are always dearer than their rivals. Someone mentioned having to pay car parking charges at Asda. We don't have to here, so I guess we are lucky.....for the moment!

  • Comment number 33.

    The standard of each shop is often dependent on it's site and the manager. I have shopped in Waitrose in two different towns, one with a large bright shop, the other with a smaller more crowded shop. As I now live nearer to the smaller shop I rarely use it.
    In the two other supermarkets that I normally use, the standard of shelf stacking, even the quality of the food etc does seem to change sometimes when the overall manager changes, sometimes for the better sometimes for the worse.

  • Comment number 34.

    The people who voted for waitrose must be quite well off. The majority of people find the store too expensive. The price of fruit and vegetables are outragious. I dont agree at all with the result.

    Mrs A McTeer.

  • Comment number 35.

    I found the results very interesting and socially informative. Perhaps one factor was that Watchdog is transmitted at the same time as Coronation Street and that there is a negative correlation between viewers of Coronation Street and people who prefer the apparently more favoured supermarkets! Peter Newman

  • Comment number 36.

    I imagine that many people must be thinking the same as me, regarding the result of this "poll". If we all had all the major supermarkets within reasonable striking distance of each other, then we could make a reasoned choice between them. As it is for most people, one tends to shop at the most convenient store, even though an alternative may be preferable, but the added cost of traveling to it acts as a deterrent.

  • Comment number 37.

    How did waitrose win the vote?
    Can this have anything to do with the way the employees of waitrose all have a stake in the company, therefore an incentive to vote in your poll.
    Were employees allowed to vote?

  • Comment number 38.

    I love waitrose, my husband doesnt as it sends our shopping bill up!
    I love the experience especially when I take the kids, the trolleys are really good for kids, they have really nice baby changing facilities.
    I think it is worth the extra few pounds per week to shop at Waitrose just because I dont come out feeling stressed!
    Little things like Trolleys make a difference when you have a baby and a toddler to take around the supermarket. My closest store Sainsburys is nice but once you put the baby seat in the trolley you cant see in front of you!
    I am a waitrose fan and they deserved to win.

  • Comment number 39.

    I can't see how any supermarket can be in this vote as I have noticed in several of these shops they have complied with the government and taken off the 2.5% VAT one and then put up the prices another day.

  • Comment number 40.

    People should have voted at the time,instead of moaning about Waitrose winning and putting it down to regional factors! I shop rarely at Waitrose, because it is expensive but had excellent quality, unlike some of the the cheaper-in-price and cheaper-in-quality major players!

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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