Your handbook for food shopping in the UK

Posted 10 months ago

Everything you need to know about grocery shopping at uni

If you're new to the UK, navigating a totally different culture can be difficult (not to mention the student lifestyle). So to make it that little bit easier, we've made a simple guide covering everything you should know about one of things you'll be doing a lot of during shopping!

Don't forget to see which grocery shops are near your campus too. 

Supermarkets 🥫

Wondering where to get your groceries from? Here are the big supermarkets in the UK ranked by affordability: 

  1. Aldi
  2. Lidl
  3. Asda
  4. Tesco
  5. Sainsbury's 
  6. Morrisons
  7. Waitrose

However, you can find a lot of local fruit and veg markets in the city that can offer fresh produce for a good price. Most of these supermarkets also have a self-checkout feature so you don't need to wait in a long line for an employee to scan your items. Never used one before? Check out this simple video below that explains the process 👇

Top tips ✅

Be on the lookout for special offers

Budgeting is an important aspect of student life, especially if it's your first time away from home. Most supermarkets usually have items on offer, bulk items as a deal or clearance sections. These can be really handy especially if you're doing a food shop with friends! One of the most popular offers in the UK are meal deals which are good value for money but we also have budget-friendly offers on campus so you can get a hot meal that won't cost you a fortune. 

Points cards

If you find yourself using the same supermarket for most of your food shops, make sure to check if they have a points/loyalty card where you can get vouchers or member discounts: 

  • Asda Rewards app
  • Tesco Clubcard
  • Sainsbury's Nectar card
  • Morrisons More card
  • MyWaitrose

Student discounts

Keep an eye on the popular student discount apps like UniDays, Student Beans and Totum for food offers from your favourite shops and restaurants. For example, UniDays currently have offers on for Morrisons, Hello Fresh and Uber Eats groceries to help you save some pennies during your first month at uni. 

Food apps

On a budget? Make sure you don't miss out on more great deals or free food with these apps:

  1. Olio: avoid buying new food by sharing and finding items locally. With this app, people nearby (including some stores) can share their unwanted food with others so you can find food for cheaper, reduce food waste and help the local community. 
  2. Too Good To Go: looking for reduced prices from big chains? Use this app to explore shops and restaurants in your area giving away surplus food to reduce food waste. All you need to do is be quick in reserving your chosen food and go collect.
  3. Karma: this app works in a similar way to Too Good To Go, but is host to more independent shops. Although it is relatively new, it has already been awarded 'Startup of the Year' by its partners and users!

Reusable bags

Try to remember to pack your own bags before you head to the supermarket. Yes, you can get plastic bags there but they can cost up to 30p each. If you don't have any shopping bags when you first arrive, buy some from the shop on your first trip and save them for your next shop, spare bags always come in handy. 

Opening hours

Be aware that on Sundays, larger supermarkets are only open for 6 hours, usually from 10am-4pm, 11am-5pm or 12pm-6pm. Double-check the opening times of your local shops before heading there to avoid wasting your time. 

All that's left to do is start filling your trolley!


Follow us @ualcatering for more updates.