The cheapest options to buy fruit and veg are markets or greengrocers. They usually ask way less for produce than supermarkets do. Decided to go to a market? Make sure to go at the end of the day. Produce is often sold for bargain prices. However, don’t buy too much, as you usually can’t keep market produce as long as supermarket produce. You’ll shop more often, but the price will definitely be worth it.
We all like a sale or a promotion. Albert Heijn taps into our love for bargain hunting by organising weekly deals, called ‘bonus deals’. The discounts vary, but the best deal is when the second item is free. As well as these bonus promotions, they organise ‘hamsterweken’ several times a year. During these weeks about 50 articles are marked down significantly. The term ‘hamsteren’ derives from the saving of food that hamsters do in their cheeks. These items are mostly non-perishable and the idea is to stock up while the discount lasts.
The discounts Albert Heijn offers are large: buy one get one free or prices that are marked down significantly. Albert Heijn also uses discount stickers for products that are about to go off. Fresh products that are near their sell by date can be recognised by the blue-red 35% sticker on them.
Ekoplaza combats food wastage too. Their salads and bread can be up to 50% off at the end of the day. But you can also find bags of fruit on their shelves for a couple of euros.
The consumer association has branded Jumbo as the cheapest premium brand retailer. But beware: this is only the case in 16% of the Jumbo branches. In 44% of the Jumbo shops, prices are even more than average. Jumbo applies different prices at each of their branches, based on the competing supermarkets in the area.
Dirk van den Broek is the cheapest supermarket when it comes to budget brands according to the consumer association. If you don’t need a specific brand on your packaging, or simply don’t taste a difference, Dirk van den Broek is the supermarket for you.
However, cheap doesn’t always mean better. BNNVARA television programme Kassa compared budget products in 2019. They concluded that Aldi and Lidl offer the best quality products at a low price. Their budget products might not be the cheapest, but the quality is better than budget brands sold in other supermarkets.
Supermarkets haven’t been limited to typically Dutch products for several years now. In many stores you’ll find aisles filled with products from all over the world. Very convenient, but not cheap! These products are usually way more expensive in supermarkets than in specialised shops. Need a specific item for a recipe? Try to find an independent shop. The Asian ‘toko’ on the corner has cheaper soy sauce than the supermarket you go to, and it’s probably much tastier than the one you usually buy. Basic products, such as rice, can often be bought in bulk there too, which makes it way cheaper per gram.
Jumbo has a super rule to ensure fresh food is actually fresh. If you find a product with the current day's date as expiration date, you can take it home for free. So if you don’t mind shopping daily and doing a little digging, you can save a lot of money.
But which supermarkets are actually the cheapest? That’s not a simple question to answer, as none of the supermarkets are evidently the cheapest. Some offer good prices for premium brands, whereas others have good weekly deals. But we promised tips, so here they come!
Firstly, shop online. It saves time and money too. By shopping online you avoid a shock at the checkout. The price adds up every time you add something to your cart. If it goes above what you budgeted for your shop, you can remove items from your virtual cart. Also, you won’t be persuaded to buy that lovely looking apple pie or that delicious smelling bread. Another bonus is that you can filter your search for sales and promotions. So, online shopping saves time and money.
Secondly, you should never pay full price for premium brands such as Amstel, Heineken, Dove, Ariel, Robijn and Calvé. They’re always on offer somewhere. Visit websites such as this one to see which supermarket has an offer on your favourite products. And as all these brands keep well, our last tip is: stockpile your discounted favorite products when they’re on offer.