With energy costs set to soar amid the cost of living crisis, every penny counts — more than ever.

To help struggling families cope, food poverty campaigner Jack Monroe has called on supermarkets to ensure the cheapest items are available to all.

And Asda last week said it would stock its budget ranges in all its 581 stores, and online. Here, we compare baskets of the major chains’ low-cost brands to see how they stack up against each other on price and taste.

Where like-for-like products are not available, we’ve compared similar ones. And bear in mind, sizes may differ and buying bigger amounts might be better value.

Tesco: total £10.28

Tesco has replaced its Everyday Value brand with own-label food ranges.

Stockwell & Co covers cupboard staples such as teabags, and Eastman’s Deli has items such as cooked meats. Creamfields covers dairy items like cheese.

Check out Hearty Food Co for pasta sauces, and Ms Molly’s for biscuits. And look out for the Exclusively at Tesco circle on the packs to save cash.

HW Nevill’s white bread, 36p800g – smallish square slices, a tad hard for sandwiches but good toast3/5

Stockwell & Co strawberry jam, 28p454g – jelly-like rather than full of fruit bits, so if you like ‘em smooth it’s a good choice4/5

Stockwell & Co chocolate spread, 80p400g – synthetic, weird flavour with an almost coffee-like aftertaste. Big no1/5

Stockwell & Co chicken soup, 36p400g – flavour good, shame the chicken pieces are so tiny3/5

Hearty Food Co tomato and herb pasta sauce, 39p440g – needs padding out with veggies to pep it up, gloopy2.5/5

Hearty Food Co mac ‘n’ cheese, £1.90450g – tasty, good colour, nice n’ cheesy4/5

Eastman’s cheese and bacon quiche, £1.59400g – a little “eggy”, but with a fair amount of bacon and a decent colour3.5/5

Eastman’s wafer thin cooked ham, 86p125g – preferred it as a pizza topping rather than alone3/5

Creamfields mild cheddar 10 slices, 99p200g – liked these for sandwiches, quick, tasty4/5

Creamfields fromage frais, 73p12 x 50g pots – the fillings are nice but crikey, the air was blue trying to separate these pots. Scissors essential3/5

Growers Harvest peach slices, 31p410g – lovely on their own or with cream, ice cream or cold custard5/5

Ms Molly’s chocolate chip cookies, 39p250g – decent choc content and dunkable without yelling “maaaam, me biscuit’s gone in me brew!”4/5

Stockwell & Co custard, 32p, 385g – reminiscent of Ambrosia4/5

Stockwell & Co 80 tea bags, 55p200g – love these. Whispering this for fear of upsetting Northern family... might be as good as a leading brand5/5

Stockwell & Co apple and blackcurrant no added sugar squash, 45p750ml – at roughly 75% cheaper than some premium brands, little to choose between them4.5/5

Asda Smart Price: total £9.88

Soft white bread, 58p800g – ample slice, nice and soft for sandwiches, not too doughy4.5/5

Strawberry jam, 28p454g – a thick jam, not too sweet and for 28p, bargain!4/5

Chocolate hazelnut spread, 80p400g – we eat a LOT of the big brand chocolate spread, it’s not the same but much better than expected4/5

Tomato soup, 24p400g – pleasant tomatoey flavour and texture3.5/5

Bolognese pasta sauce, 39p440g – quite herby in taste and runny3.5/5

Macaroni cheese, £1.20400g – “Hmm soo good” said the child; adults found the white colour off-putting and too much sauce3.5/5

Cheese and bacon quiche, £1.35400g – quite pale, couldn’t taste much bacon, more onion flavour3/5

Cooked ham, 86p125g – excellent value for packed lunches though a tad watery3/5

Cheese 10 singles, 59p200g – these were nice melted on a burger; a bit rubbery for sandwiches3/5

12 fruit fromage frais, 80p12 x 55g pots – tasty fromage frais, kids liked some flavours more, 6% sugar so lower than our usual brand4/5

Peach slices, 55p411g – smashing, “just peachy” (as in all good)4/5

Chocolate chip cookies, 39p250g – meh, small, not enough choc chips2/5

Custard, 30p385g – off-putting dark colour, OK3/5

Everyday 80 Tea bags, £1.10 232g – worth paying more for these: really pretty good4/5

Apple and blackcurrant double strength squash, 45p750ml – nice fruity flavours come through, a little goes a long way4/5

Aldi Everyday Essentials: total £11.62

Aldi was voted Cheapest Supermarket 2021 by Which? Its Everyday Essentials range is its cheapest, running alongside its other own brand ranges such as Bramwells, Crestwood and Inspired Cuisine.

Everyday Essentials bread, 36p, 800g – too hard for sandwiches, fine for toasting3/5

Everyday Essentials strawberry jam,28p, 454g – couldn’t tell the difference between this and a market leader5/5

Nutoka hazelnut chocolate spread, £1.09, 400g – rich chocolate flavour, kids approve. Excellent alternative to the leading brand4.5/5

Bramwells chicken soup, 40p, 400g – great chicken flavour, nice and creamy, some chunky chicken pieces4.5/5

Cucina bolognese pasta sauce, 55p, 500g – bit bland without extras3.5/5

Inspired Cuisine macaroni cheese, £1.79, 400g – creamy cheese sauce with a bit of bite,4/5

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Crestwood cheese and onion quiche, £1.59, 400g – great colour and firm but light egg base, flavours stand out, tastes like nan made it5/5

Ashfields British honey ham, 10 slices, 79p, 115g – square slices, looks processed and unappetising2/5

Everyday Essentials 10 mild cheddar slices, 99p, 200g – mild and creamy, perfect in a toastie4/5

Everyday Essentials fromage frais, 80p, 12 x 55g pots – could really taste the apricot, couldn’t really pick up the others3.5/5

Belmont choc chip cookies, 41p, 200g – loads of choc chips, thick, crunchy, delish5/5

Everyday Essentials peach slices, 31p, 411g – perfectly acceptable4/5

Dessert Menu custard, 42p, 500g – went lumpy in the pan, The Shining of custards1/5

Basket of supermarket own brand essentials compared - with one clear winner

Diplomat Gold Label 80 tea bags, 95p, 250g – strong rich flavour4/5

Sun Quench apple and blackcurrant squash, 89p, 1.5 litres – very palatable4/5

Co-Op Honest Value: total £13.22

Honest Value is a range of around 80 products. Not all items were available in store, so we compared Co-op’s next cheapest own brand offering. Go to coop.co.uk to see if they are available near you.

Co-op Bakery white toastie, 89p, 800g – soft and tasty4/5

Co-op strawberry jam, 68p, 454g – it’s jam, and it does the job, would buy again4/5

Co-op chocolate spread, £1.85, 400g – it’s got an aftertaste can’t put my finger on, but it’s not chocolate1/5

Honest Value tomato soup, 45p, 400g – good alternative, sweet tomato flavour3.5/5

Honest Value tomato and basil pasta sauce, 49p, 440g – needs some meat or veggies to pep it up3.5/5

Co-op Italian Menu beef lasagne, £1.50, 400g – meat too chewy and pasta too floppy2/5

Co-op Quiche Lorraine, £1.65, 170g – “Quiche for 1!” This mature Cheddar and smoked bacon is super tasty. Alas, failed to check the weight before ordering, tiny4/5

Honest Value wafer thin cooked ham, 80p, 125g – pleasantly surprised for the price4/5

Co-op 10 cheese singles, £1.15, 200g – plasticky, nope1/5

Honest Value rice pudding, 48p, 400g – no own brand fromage frais, but simple to scoop some rice pud and a dollop of jam into a pot for a packed lunch, OK for the price3.5/5

Co-op prunes, 85p, 410g – Honest Value peaches were unavailable. Happy to report these were surprisingly tasty with ice cream4/5

Honest Value chocolate chip cookies, 2 x 230g packs, £1.15 – very small, good crunch, crumbly3/5

Honest Value custard, 48p, 400g – thicker than most but not as sweet3/5

Honest Value 80 tea bags, 80p, 200g – flavoursome, would happily buy4/5

Co-op double concentrate summer fruits squash, £1, 750ml – tasty flavours4/5

Morrisons Savers: total £12.05

Morrisons white toastie bread, 59p, 800g – does what it says on the tin, good for toast3/5

Morrisons strawberry jam, 89p, 454g – lovely and sweet and thick4.5/5

Savers hazelnut chocolate spread, 99p, 400g – bit runny but no after taste and quite chocolatey3/5

Savers tomato soup, 29p, 400g – sweet tomato flavour, but needs pepper or seasoning3/5

Savers pasta sauce, 39p, 440g – as with all the sauces, this one is fine as a base but not much kick3/5

Savers macaroni cheese, £1.20, 400g – the mac ’n’ cheese loving 11 year old gave this the thumbs up4.5/5

Morrisons Quiche Lorraine, £1.40, 170g – the cheapest quiche in stock, smaller 1-2 person size, but very tasty4.5/5

Greenside cooked ham slices, £1.35, 200g – 77% pork content, watery and unappealing1/5

Savers 15 cheesy slices, 75p, 255g – they’re slices but are they cheese1/5

Savers fromage frais, 85p, 12 x 55g pots, 660g – creamy and light, about same amount of sugar as a popular brand4/5

Savers peach slices, 33p, 410g – sweet, soft, delicious5/5

Savers 20 milk chocolate digestive bars, £1.30, 6.5p each – fab biscuits, individually wrapped, if you like a Breakaway you’ll like these5/5

Savers custard, 32p, 385g – nice consistency, would re-buy4.5/5

Savers tea bags, 55p, 80 bags 200g – decent tea3.5/5

Morrisons apple and blackcurrant squash, 85p, 1 litre – subtle flavour, lovely with sparkling water4/5

Lidl Simply: total £13.82

Simply medium sliced loaf, 36p, 800g – large toaster-size slices, a little on the thin side3.5/5

Simply clear honey, 69p, 340g – only premium jams available so gave the honey a go. Decent and not too sweet4/5

Choconussa hazelnut chocolate spread, £1.09, 400g – deeee-licious, like eating ferrero rochers5/5

Newgate cream of chicken, 40p, 400g – no complaints, son couldn’t tell it wasn’t Heinz4/5

Baresa tomato and basil pasta sauce, 55p, 150g – it’s a small pot but it’s more substantial than a lot of the bigger jars. Tastes Italian!4.5/5

Chef Select beef lasagne, £1.59, – nice colour and firm pasta layers, meat seems good quality4/5

Chef select cheese and onion quiche, £1.45, 400g – when is a quiche not a quiche? When it’s pasty! Paler than the sun, sadly flavourless and a bit mushy1.5/5

Simply cooked ham slices, £1.59, 400g – huge value for money pack, but didn’t like the smell or look or taste, watery and processed1/5

Simply 12 mild cheddar slices, £1.49, 300g – the last one on the shelf, easy to see why. Lovely smooth, light cheese, perfect5/5

Simply fromage frais, 73p, 6 x 50g pots – just sweet enough, nice creaminess, fab value4/5

Freshona peach slices, 50p, 411g – liked them being in grape juice, really tasty and no tough skin4.5/5

Tower Gate choc chip cookies, 41p, 200g – small but plenty of choc chips4/5

Kerrymaid custard, 84p,1kg — massive carton, everyone quite liked this thick sweet custard4/5

Red label tea bags, 160, 99p, 320g – good flavour and just 4p more for double the amount of Lidl’s Gold Blend (80 bags for 95p)4/5

Apple and blackcurrant squash, 89p, 1.5 litres – huge bottle and very blackcurranty4/5

Sainsbury's: total £11.29

Sainsbury’s Basics line has been replaced by a string of new names. It has products labelled Hubbard’s Foodstore, Mary Ann’s, The Greengrocer and Stamford Street throughout the store, which are the cheapest available.

Daily’s medium sliced white bread, 36p, 800g – good for toasting, would prefer something softer for sandwiches3/5

Hubbard’s Foodstore strawberry jam, 28p, 454g – lovely, tasty rich jam4.5/5

Hubbard’s Foodstore chocolate spread, 99p, 400g – bit lumpy, but pleasant chocolatey flavour4/5

Hubbard’s Foodstore chicken soup, 40p, 400g – good flavour, hunt the chicken pieces3/5

Hubbard’s pasta sauce, 39p, 440g – you can taste the basil and oregano, but quite soupy in consistency3.5/5

Stamford Street lasagne, £1, 300g – absolute bargain for a quid! Tastes like one you’d eat out4.5/5

Allcroft’s Deli Classics cheese and onion quiche, £1.45, 400g – shortcrust pastry base is lovely with just right amount of crunch, filling is underwhelming3.5/5

J James and Family wafer thin cooked ham slices, £1.59, 400g – good appearance and flavour, not watery and loads of it4/5

Mary Ann’s cheddar cheese slices, 99p, 200g – never judge a cheese slice by its cover, er, colour. This one looks fab but tastes sour. Last one in the shop so it might be subjective…1/5

Mary Ann’s fromage frais, 73p, 12 x 50g – not too thick, three decent flavours3.5/5

Hubbard’s Foodstore pineapple pieces, 94p, 565g – chunks very small but big value can4.5/5

Lovett’s milk chocolate digestives, 45p, 300g – tastes of proper chocolate with just right amount of crunch4/5

Hubbard’s Foodstore custard, 32p, 385g – neon colour could be seen from space, if you can get past that it’s acceptable…2.5/5

Hubbard’s Foodstore 160 tea bags, £1.09, 400g – another nice brew. Might have to rethink my tea bag game…4/5

Hubbard’s Foodstore apple and blackcurrant double strength squash, 45p, 750ml – really hard to pick between these juices4/5

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