Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Checking the shopping list via my mobile phone while Anne Hartley ‘shadow shops’ my trolley of groceries at SuperValu Kilbarry. Photos: Joe Evans  

LOATHE and all as I am to take a trip down ‘Stereotype Avenue’, I suspect my habits along the supermarket aisles of Waterford are not too dissimilar for most men of my vintage.  

While I wouldn’t go as far as saying my grocery shopping morays are mindless, the value radar hasn’t always been as calibrated as it ought to be.  

But given the unavoidable spectre of inflation and ahead of a winter whose level of content or discord remains wholly unknown, each of us has an onus to think about what we buy – or, more pointedly, what we really need to buy.  

Every saved cent matters, and while that has always been the case, that commitment to prudence hasn’t always been consistent.  

So with that in mind, a recent email, inviting me to “experience first-hand some great savings with the Value Challenge” through a morning’s shopping at SuperValu Kilbarry provided me with both a novel and interesting exercise.  

On Tuesday morning, September 13, Anne Hartley, one of the store’s best known members of staff, was introduced to me by Store Manager Damien McCarthy. Anne produced a trolley for herself as my ‘shadow shopper’ and one for me while I opened my phone to read my list of groceries.  

While I shopped away as I tend to do, largely paying little attention to the SuperValu-branded products on offer, Anne filled her trolley with the in-house brands, which were mostly applicable when working off my list. The aim? To demonstrate the savings on the own-brand shop, in addition to the use of the store’s Real Rewards App (€10 off in my case until October 10 and weekly vouchers).  

While certain goods were only available via the SuperValu brand – such as the ever-popular Sean’s Brown Bread, which you can also slice thanks to an in-store machine – in general there was no shortage of options when it came to my shop.    

Prior to careering the aisles of the refurbished store in Anne’s good humoured company, I suspected there might be between €10 and €20 of a difference between my typical shop and the SuperValu branded shop. Thanks to the staff who didn’t at all look perturbed by the presence of myself and photographer Joe Evans alongside Anne, we acquired everything that was on my list. Being on a bit of a health kick at present, a pack of Fruit Split ice creams represented my  primary treat/cheat food as Checkout Number 3 beckoned.  

Anne and I had 26 separately scanned items. Both our trolleys were as full as each other’s; at the very least there was no discernible difference in terms of the extent of our purchases. My typical shop came to a total of €98. Anne’s SuperValu branded-equivalent: €64.21, almost €34 cheaper than what I’d tend to buy when I do the groceries. I was genuinely flummoxed by the extent of the difference.  

Over the course of 12 months, were I and Anne to shop exactly the same way every second week as listed in this piece, Anne’s branded shopping for such a window in time would be €878.54 cheaper than my September 13 trolley-fill.  

With heat and light bills along with vehicle fuel costs factoring even more heavily into our budgets now than they did in the spring, recognising value clearly matters. And my genuinely eye-opening morning at SuperValu Kilbarry clearly underlined that very point.    

Anne filled her trolley with the SuperValu equivalent of my non-branded groceries.  

Dermot’s typical shop:  

Ryvita        2.19 

Fairy Non Bio Detergent 8.50  

Fairy Non Bio Pods 9.50 

Coffee Beans 4.99 

Flahavan Oats 2.89 

Glenisk Yoghurt 2.49  

Avonmore Light Milk 2.19  

Slimline Milk 1.39  

Meringue Shells 2.25 

Irish Pride Grain Wrap 2.69 

Kilmeaden Cheddar (400g) 6.30 

Keelings Raspberries 4.00 

Bag of Bananas 1.99  

Sig Red Grapes 2.99 

Sean’s Brown Bread 2.75  

Solero Exotic 3.79 

Barrys Gold Tea (80 bags) 3.60 

Regina Kitchen Towels (x2) 3.50 

Twinpack Peppers 1.49 

BBQ Salmon 4.00 

Chicken Fillets 6.99 

Ballyfree Turkey Sausages 3.15 

SV Beef Burgers 2.99 

SV Turkey Burgers 4.99 

SV Gem Lettuce 1.09  

Carrot Bunch 2.99 

Total (26 items): 98.00 

Anne’s SV-branded shop:  

Crispbread 0.99 

SV Liquid 1.99 

Liquid Tablets 3.79 

Italian Coffee 2.89 

SV Oats 0.70 

Greek Style Yoghurt 1.19 

SV Light Milk 2.09  

SV Skim Milk 1.05 

Meringue Shells 2.25 

SV Large Tortilla Wrap 1.85  

SV Red Cheddar (400g) 2.70 

Sig Raspberries 5.00 

SV Bananas 0.79 

Grapes Punnet 2.49 

Sean’s Brown Bread 2.75 

SV Fruit Split 1.30 

SV Gold Tea Bags (80 bags) 1.30  

SV Ultra Kitchen Towels (x2) 1.29  

Twinpack Peppers 1.49 

SV Salmon Darn 3.99 

SV Chicken Fillet 5.99 

SV Turkey Sausages 2.49 

SV Beef Burgers 2.99 

SV Turkey Burgers 4.99 

SV Gem Lettuce 1.09 

SV Carrot Bag 0.49 

Total (26 items): 64.21 

With thanks to Damien McCarthy, Anne Hartley and Róisín Kivlehan  

The SuperValu branded trolley of shopping going through the checkout.  

The trolley load of shopping I’ve been more inclined to buy over the years is checked out.  

Job done! Anne and I with our respective receipts at the end of an illuminating hour in Kilbarry 

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