Is Waitrose more expensive than M&S Food? We did the same shop at each to find out

We explore whether Waitrose is more expensive than M&S Food and how these two retailers compare to other supermarkets

exterior of M&S Food store in Cheltenham, UK
(Image credit: Getty Images)

While some families only go to M&S and Waitrose for a foody treat, for others they are the regular choice for the weekly food shop, but is Waitrose cheaper than M&S Food? Both supermarkets sit at the top end of the UK’s grocery market and pride themselves in offering premium products. But they can also be costlier than their competitors.

The award for the cheapest supermarket usually goes to discounter Aldi, with Lidl close behind, making the two stores the most likely choice for families looking to save money on food. At the other end of the scale, Waitrose, M&S and Ocado (which sells M&S food) regularly work out to be the most expensive supermarkets.'s Money Editor, Sarah Handley, says: "While there's no denying the popularity of budget supermarkets, for those who shop at M&S and Waitrose, it's still important to make sure you are getting value for money as food prices remain high."

We've already done the research to find out if Aldi or Lidl is cheaper, so we thought we’d now explore whether Waitrose is more expensive than rival M&S. Here’s what we found out.

Is Waitrose more expensive than M&S Food?

In our initial comparison, we found that M&S is actually more expensive than Waitrose - but not by much. We compared the price of 15 everyday products at both supermarkets, with M&S’ total cost coming to £22.95, just £1 more than Waitrose. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Semi-skimmed milk (4 pints)£1.45£1.55
Wholemeal bread (800g)75p75p
Cheddar cheese (350g)£2.65£2.75
Penne pasta (500g)75p75p
Free range medium eggs (6 pack)£1.85£1.30
Frozen peas (1.25kg)£1.35£1.85
Wholewheat biscuits (24 pack)£1.85£1.95
Plain Greek style yoghurt (500g)£1.10£1.10
Smooth orange juice (1 litre)£2£1.10
Cream of chicken soup (400g)75p75p
Tea bags (80 pack)£1.10£1.10
Beef mince, 12% fat (500g)£3.30£3.25
Seasonal apple bag£2£1.70
Tinned tomatoes (400g)60p70p
Carrots (1kg)50p60p
Total cost£22.20£21.20

Prices correct at the time of writing.

It’s important to note that we’ve used Waitrose’s Essential range for all items in the above table. The Essential range was introduced by Waitrose in 2009 (and relaunched in 2020) with the aim of offering quality everyday products at lower prices. But while this is most likely why Waitrose has beaten M&S in this example, interestingly, some of Waitrose’s Essential products are more expensive than some of M&S’ products. 

If we switch out some of the Essential range for other Waitrose products (it isn’t possible in all cases), Waitrose actually works out to be £3 more expensive than M&S:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Semi-skimmed milk (4 pints)£1.55 (Essential range)
Wholemeal bread (800g)75p
Cheddar cheese (350g)£2.75 (Essential range)
Penne pasta (500g)£1.90
Free range medium eggs (6 pack)£1.75
Frozen peas (1.25kg)£1.85 (Essential range)
Wholewheat biscuits (24 pack)£1.95 (Essential range)
Plain Greek style yoghurt (500g)£1.10 (Essential range)
Smooth orange juice (1 litre)£1.80
Cream of chicken soup (400g)75p (Essential range)
Tea bags (80 pack)£2.10
Beef mince, 12% fat (500g)£3.25 (Essential range)
Seasonal apple bag£1.70 (Essential range)
Tinned tomatoes (400g)70p (Essential range)
Carrots (1kg)60p (Essential range)
Total cost£25.20

Overall, however, the two supermarkets are fairly similar in the range of products they offer. There’s a good choice of organic foods too.  

Can you shop online with M&S Food and Waitrose? 

Yes you can shop online with both M&S and Waitrose and have your groceries delivered straight to your door. But you’ll need to use the Ocado website if you want to shop with M&S as you can’t place a delivery order directly through the M&S website.

Ocado delivery van

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're looking for the cheapest online food shopping out of the two, Ocado delivery prices range from 99p to £6.99 depending on slot availability. If your order is less than £75, there’s a minimum charge of £2.99 and a maximum of £6.99. Alternatively, you can sign up for the Ocado Smart Pass service which enables you to get free delivery slots when you want. Prices start from £89.99 a year if you want your deliveries any day of the week, or £39.99 a year if you’re happy for deliveries to be made Tuesday to Thursday. There are monthly and six-monthly options too. 

Waitrose’s delivery charge is £3, no matter which day you choose. You’ll need to spend a minimum of £40 per order. Waitrose also offers a click and collect service, while Ocado doesn’t (as it doesn’t have bricks and mortar shops).

How do M&S Food and Waitrose compare to other supermarkets? 

Although M&S and Waitrose are regarded as premium supermarkets, in some cases their everyday essentials actually work out cheaper than those on offer from other supermarkets, such as Sainsbury’s or Morrisons. In other cases, they might be the same price. 

Exterior of Waitrose store in London, with planters outside

(Image credit: Getty Images)

For example, a pack of six medium eggs costs £1.30 at Waitrose (Essential range), but £1.50 at both Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. Meanwhile, 500g of Penne pasta costs 75p at Waitrose and M&S, but 89p at Morrisons. A 800g loaf of bread at all four of these supermarkets costs 75p. Keep in mind that if you shop at local convenience versions of supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s Local and Tesco Express, prices will likely be higher. To test this rationale, we did an experiment to see if Tesco was cheaper than Tesco Express.

Overall, this highlights the benefits of shopping around and comparing supermarket deals to find the best price for your grocery shop. Of course, this won’t always be practical, but apps and sites such as Supermarket Wizard, Superizon and MySupermarketCompare can help you to compare deals across the major supermarkets more easily, so you can assess where you might find the best prices. 

It's also a good idea to get savvy to the tricks supermarkets use to get you to spend more money, so you can avoid spending unnecessarily.

Rachel Wait
Personal finance expert

Mum of two, Rachel is a freelance personal finance journalist who has been writing about everything from mortgages to car insurance for over a decade. Having previously worked at Shares Magazine, where she specialised in small-cap stocks, Rachel developed a passion for consumer finance and saving money when she moved to She later spent more than 8 years as an editor at price comparison site MoneySuperMarket, often acting as spokesperson. Rachel went freelance in 2020, just as the pandemic hit, and has since written for numerous websites and national newspapers, including The Mail on Sunday, The Observer, The Sun and Forbes. She is passionate about helping families become more confident with their finances, giving them the tools they need to take control of their money and make savings. In her spare time, Rachel is a keen traveller and baker.