Self-caterers losing out by not using discount supermarkets abroad, finds study

Self-caterers losing out by not using discount supermarkets abroad, finds study

The Portuguese Algarve has been identified as the destination offering the lowest prices in shops for self-catering holidaymakers this summer.

But travellers to eight top eurozone destinations could pay between 24% and 57% extra for 20 food and drink staple items if they shop exclusively in resort mini-marts rather than discount supermarkets, according to a report by Post Office Travel Money and Monarch.

This is despite the research finding that almost half (48%) of families surveyed shop exclusively in local mini-marts on trips abroad.

Only 17% do all their holiday shopping at a supermarket even though this year’s comparison of costs found that the price gap between mini-marts and discount supermarkets has widened in all the resorts because of their proximity to the likes of Lidl and Aldi.

For example, the extra payable in local mini-marts has widened to 57% in the Algarve from 48% last year – supermarket: £40.61; mini-mart: £63.24.

The gap has also widened in the same period has increased from 39% to 46% in Lanzarote – supermarket: £47.26; mini-mart: £68.80.

The Post Office research also found that mini-mart prices have risen in seven of the eight destinations. Crete (£83.78, down 19%) is the only resort where costs have dropped.

Using prices sourced by Monarch resort reps, the Algarve is cheapest in the survey and one of four resorts where supermarket prices have fallen since 2015. At £40.11 for 20 food and drink staples, prices are down 2%, despite a 6% fall in the value of sterling year-on-year.

While supermarket prices in the Costas are good value but at £45.29 in both the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca, the shopping basket still costs almost 13% more than in the Algarve, according to the report. The Costa Blanca recorded one of the biggest year-on-year supermarket price falls of 8%.

This year’s biggest price rise has been in Menorca, where supermarket grocery prices add up to a barometer total of £61.57, 13% up on a year ago. By contrast, the basket of groceries has only risen by 2% to £48.87 in Majorca.

Andrew Brown, of Post Office Travel Money, said: “Experts are already saying that demand is surging in destinations like Spain and Portugal and hotel packages may soon sell out.

“This could mean that self-catering may be the best option left to families who have yet to book. If so, they should do their homework and check where grocery staples for a self-catering holiday cost least before choosing their destination to keep to their budget.

“Self-catering can be a great way to save money on holiday. However, our research found that while families spend an average of £136 on self-catering provisions, over half of them admitted to overspending their overall budget on beach holidays by around £178.

“One way to avoid this is by shopping in the cut-price supermarkets that are springing up in top eurozone resorts. We estimate that on an average grocery spend of £136, canny families could save themselves as much as £50, depending where they choose to holiday.”

Monarch holiday division sales director, Gary Anslow, added: “Self-catering continues to offer great value for money. The most frequent request to our exclusive Monarch Concierge service, after the best beaches to visit, is for information on the best value supermarkets in the area, so holidaymakers are clearly looking to make the pound in their pocket stretch as far as possible.

“Self-catering accounts for a third of Monarch holiday bookings in destinations such as the Algarve, where our customers have access to a huge range of great value supermarkets and restaurants.”


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