With the cost of living soaring, families are understandably shopping around to keep costs down where they can.
That’s probably why places like Bargain Brand Food are seeing a surge in customers wanting to take advantage of their discounted goods. The supermarket sells food, drinks and toiletries close to their best before date.
It’s based in Wigan but has its own website and now delivers across the UK, so unlike many similar budget places, even those without transport can take advantage of the deals. We visited the store to see what we could get with £30 and we were surprised by the haul we came away with.
It’s not really somewhere you would go for a weekly shop – there wasn’t much fresh food for example – but it’s certainly worth stocking up on cupboard essentials, toiletries and biscuits and chocolate treats.
Read more: We tried pizza counters at Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons and one was just like a real takeaway
There’s a large freezer section with everything from sausages, hash browns, ribs and pork for £1 each and while much of it is unbranded there are some well-known names too.
The ‘Iceland exclusive’ Greggs sausage or vegan rolls cost £1.50 for a four-pack – these would set you back £2.35 and £2.50 respectively from the supermarket – and there are the likes of McCain skin on fries 800g, also £1.50.
Of course, bulk buying is generally more cost effective and there are some big 1kg bags of fish cakes and chicken kievs at £2.49 and £2.99 and a 1.2kg bag of Albert Bartlett chunky chips for £1.50 – the same bag in Asda costs £ 2.75.
There’s a variety of 430g pizzas for just £1 each too. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized they are gluten free. The clue was in the name ‘senza glutine’, but I’m not that well up on Italian. Regardless, a quid seems a pretty good deal compared with the price of gluten free pizzas elsewhere.
It was the bargains on the shelves I was most impressed with, though. How sweet it was to see a four-pack of Heinz beans for £2 – the price they used to be before costs started spiraling. I clearly wasn’t the only one to think so as there were only two packs left.
The single tins worked out the same price though at two for £1 and they had the smaller tins of Heinz beans and sausage at two for £1 or five for £2.
Other bargains worth snapping up were four packs of 500g spaghetti pasta for £1, a 1.2kg box of Uncle Ben’s rice for £1 and a six-pack of Mini Cheddars for, you guessed it, £1. There were large packs of cereal for a quid too, as well as the Kellogg’s Variety Packs containing eight small boxes for the same price.
Lots of the stock was dated early 2022, or 2021, but everything I bought was still in date – some of it until 2023.
While I agree that in many cases food is fine to consume past its ‘best before’ date, there were certain items I wouldn’t have been comfortable with. I’m not sure many people would be happy with flour dated 2020, which is probably why the shelves were brimming with the stuff.
Quality Streets dated March 2022 though, now that I can handle. Especially when it’s £3 for a big tub, or £5 for two. They’d be gone before the month is out.
It really is the sweet stuff where this place comes into its own, particularly when the prices of such are soaring elsewhere. Yes it’s not an essential, but most shoppers like to treat now and again so why not get it cheaper if you can.
And you don’t get cheaper than two 95g bags of Cadbury Buttons for £1, two 110g bars of Galaxy for £1, or a big 240g share bag of Minstrels for £1.50.
For a bigger even pack, the huge 800g bags of Brownie M&Ms cost £4 or three for £10. In comparison a 102g bag from Tesco costs £1.25, the equivalent of £9.80 for the 800g bag.
It’s not just food where you can save either. Crates of drinks on offer include 24 cans of Pepsi for £8 – that’s 33p a can, £6 for a 12-pack of Berry Fanta, or £6 for 12 bottles of the stuff.
There’s plenty of beer and wine too, 24 33cl bottles of San Miguel for £15, or two boxes for £25, and £3 for a four-pack of Carlsberg or Carling, two for a fiver. I didn’t see it in store, but on the website you can get two 700ml bottles of Baileys for £15.
And you can save on toiletries and household products too – our biggest expense was a 24-pack of Cusheen toilet rolls for a fiver, a fraction of the price you’d pay for the same pack elsewhere – and you’d struggle to beat the two for £1 deal on the 250ml bottles of Carex hand wash.
Bargain Brand Food’s John Bolster said the company ‘comes from a humble beginnings in Wigan’ but is now helping people keep their bills down UK-wide.
“We sell these products at up to 75% off, also while other supermarket prices have gone up ours haven’t and won’t,” he said.
“We even let people pay off their shopping over six weeks if they can’t afford it there and then and we help charities out at times.”
He added: “There is a huge misconception that eating food close to it’s best before date is bad. It’s not and we feed huge amounts of people for a fraction of the price. We now even deliver all over the UK now.
“We get a lot of people coming from Manchester or requesting deliveries from Manchester and the surrounding area. We have been doing this for over two years now, however now that we are online we are going to help people around the country with their rising costs .”
So will I be going back?
Well the problem with shopping is it needs to be convenient, and when you can’t get everything you need in one place then it makes it more difficult.
I was impressed with how much I got for £30, but it wasn’t the sort of products I’d need to buy week in, week out, so not really worth the hour’s round trip to the Pemberton store.
I will no doubt buy from the place again, but I’ll be making use of the online delivery and stocking up as and when I need to – factoring in the £5.99 delivery fee into the cost to see if it’s worth it.
If I lived closer I’d probably try to nip in each week to see the fresh stock as it seemed there was more choice in store than there is online. But with the temptation of all those cakes and chocolate, it’s probably for the best that I don’t.
Check out the website here to see for yourself.
Here’s the full list of products I bought for less than £30
- Pizza x2 – £2
- McCain skin on fries 800g – £1.50
- Fishcakes – £2.49
- Heinz Beans 4-pack – £2
- Heinz Hot Chilli Sauce x 2 – £1
- Pasta 4 x 500g packs – £1
- Uncle Ben’s rice 1.2kg – £1
- Mini Cheddars six-pack – £1
- Malted milk biscuits 2 x 200g packs – £1
- Ginger nut biscuits 500g – £1
- Kellogg’s Variety Pack – £1
- Galaxy 2 x 110g bars – £1
- Buttons 2 x 95g bags – £1
- Coke Zero 3 cans – £1
- Bodyform 14-pack – 75p
- Gillette Blue II razors – £1.50
- Flash anti-bac kitchen – £1
- Palmolive body wash – £1
- Toilet roll – 24-pack – £5
- Tesco non bio liquid detergent 720ml – £1.50
- Carex hand wash 250ml x 2 – £1
Total – £29.74
Click here for the latest headlines from the Manchester Evening News
READ MORE: My family ate nothing but Asda Smart Price for a week and it cost less than £50
READ MORE: My kids tried beans from all the supermarkets and thought this 32p tin were Heinz
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.