Let’s finally decide which is the best London supermarket to shop in

Your top five supermarkets rated, including by the likelihood of meeting your best frenemies there

We’re back at uni, which means mid-week shopping trips to Tesco on a hangover and in literal pyjamas because you only have mouldy bread and a block of cheese at home.

Trying to avoid people and yet end up meeting half your uni at the supermarket — including the crush you used to Tellonym about? Baffled by not being given that sweet £0.86 discount? Whatever your experience with supermarkets, London is a city of two faces, and is therefore home to both the fanciest and the most budget grocery shopping trips.

But get ready, because not all supermarkets are created equal. We’ve ranked the top five London supermarkets based on affordability, variety and chaos (that is, your likelihood of making frenemies while fighting over the last overripe avocado). And my humble opinion, of course. 

1. Lidl

Who doesn’t love a trip to Lidl as an advanced form of procrastination? Don’t even try and lie, you could spend your life dawdling in that beautiful bakery if you had to.

Affordability: This one sparks joy. It also gives you another way of saying, “I’m everything but a posh London student” without making you say it. You can get pretty much anything here for quite a nice price. Discounts? We love them too. And of course a two-litre bottle of cider that tastes like human urine.

Variety: Lidl is a place to go if you need to prepare for an all-nighter, a zombie apocalypse, or a trip to an uninhabited island. Some items might be of questionable quality (I’m not pointing fingers but what is Lidl vodka) but certainly not most. If you want to be sure, go buy some freshly baked treats — you won’t be disappointed. 

Chaos: You are almost certain to make a frenemy here while fighting over the last overripe avocado. You can also get reed diffusers — in case your dorm room stinks and you admit it. 

Overall, Lidl is probably your best friend if you’re living a humble and comfy London student life. It gets a solid 9.5/10.

2. Tesco

“Thank you for shopping at Tesco. See you again soon.” What better words can you imagine hearing as you triumphantly exit with a pasta pot and ready meal, to go home and pretend you actually cook.

Affordability: Probably a tiny bit more expensive than Lidl but still sparks joy. We also love Tesco’s meal deals — they’ve been sent to Earth to save picnics and student dinners. Best £3 you’ll ever spend.

Variety: Has everything you need unless it’s the Warren Street Tesco Express (which is still quite decent in terms of variety; Tesco also typically has coconut milk when Lidl doesn’t — a crucial factor for your signature bland Thai green curry, of course). You probably come here to get ibuprofen, ready-made food, and cigarettes. 

Chaos: You are unlikely to fight over an overripe avocado. You are, however, likely to become frenemies with another hangry student over your missing component of a meal deal that they took just a second before you. 

Overall, another good friend — meal deals alone give Tesco this honorary title and an 8/10 rating.

The picnic’s best friend forever

3. Sainsbury’s

You are comfortable in the middle, aren’t you? Like a middle sibling who hasn’t experienced any trauma or favouritism in their entire lives, you sit on the fence in blissful ignorance and value comfort over anything.

Affordability: Mid-range, still not too posh: you’re enjoying the best of all worlds. Sparks moderate joy. Go for the wonky vegetables if you feel like giving penis-shaped carrots a good home while not breaking the bank.

Variety: Has everything you need, especially the gorgeous Camden Sains. You are most likely here because of the banging vegetarian/vegan options, large selection of alcohol, and ready-made soups. Or because your family usually shops here. 

Chaos: You might still make frenemies over something, but here, you should probably pretend that whatever you were fighting over wasn’t a big deal. The middle-class mums might get offended.

A good friend. In certain cases. 7.5/10 for the Camden Sainsbury’s, and the Camden Sainsbury’s alone.

They’ve clearly had a cheeky Sains shop

4. Morrisons

It would’ve been higher up in the list, but considering the big Chalk Farm Morrisons has been rudely ripped away from us and replaced with a shit, smaller version, it doesn’t deserve as much praise anymore. We’re hurt and shocked, and will probably never get over it.

Affordability: Some items in Morrisons are banging quality with super low prices, but others are really awful quality with extortionate price tags. You never really know what you’re getting, which keeps the thrill of it.

Variety: Has a lot of cool gems, like jackfruit and really pretty kitchen appliances, but lacking in other areas. It’s eclectic, just the personality you’ve developed from not leaving online lectures for a year and a half.

Chaos: There’s a peaceful atmosphere that you’re unlikely to develop frenemies in, possibly too peaceful to spice up your weekly shop. We all deserve some aisle five drama.

We’re sinking down to 6/10 for Morrisons for its random collection of good vibes but lack of true substance.

5. Waitrose

How else do you assert dominance if not by buying your washing-up liquid from Waitrose? The only tried and tested way to beat your flatmates in a “it’s not my turn to load the dishwasher” fight.

Affordability: Legends tell us that Waitrose is the posh supermarket capital of London (M&S? Don’t know her.) Yes, keep telling yourself you come here to get spices and not to show off. 

Variety: Everything you desire for a price your wallet and credit card may not like. The fruits and veggies are genuinely good, though…

Chaos: The. Last. Overripe. Avocado? HOW DARE YOU! Go back to Lidl. No one comes to Waitrose to make frenemies. 

Has genuinely good stuff. But this is something only a few would admit anyway. 5.5/10 for the snob element.

Oddbox Resolution

The face of someone who buys their organic vegetables exclusively from Waitrose

Now, go buy a two-litre bottle of cider (you know where) to include in your diet of croissants, meal deals and cigarettes, and pick your choice of supermarket wisely to flourish in. 

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