Holiday self-catering shopping costs fall heavily across much of Europe
Keeping meal costs down is the priority for a third of self-caterers - but over half shop in resort mini-marts, which can cost up to 61 per cent extra
Spain’s Costa Blanca offers the lowest shop prices for self-catering holidaymakers
Low-cost supermarkets flood the Algarve reducing prices by over 26 per cent
Holiday self-catering shopping costs have fallen heavily across much of Europe according to the latest Post Office Travel Money Self-Catering on a Shoestring Report, which reveals that over one-in-five UK holidaymakers are planning to make their trip abroad a self-catering one this summer. A third of them will do so specifically to keep meal costs to a minimum¹ and yet over half (54 per cent) said they shopped in local mini-marts rather than larger supermarkets on their last holiday. If they do so this summer, they could pay up to 61 per cent extra.
Only nine per cent of self-caterers take advantage of the lower prices by doing all their shopping at a supermarket – but research for Post Office Travel Money by tour operator Cosmos has found these to be far cheaper than local mini-marts in the 10 European destinations surveyed. The biggest price differential is in Crete, where Cosmos reps found that mini-mart shopping for 20 food and drink staples costs £103.96 instead of £64.64 at a supermarket. In the Costa del Sol, a mini-mart shop costs over 50 per cent extra - £65.24 compared with £43.32 in a supermarket.
Self-caterers spent an average of £130 buying provisions for their last holiday – although this only applied to three-quarters (77 per cent) of them because 23 per cent chose to eat out all the time. However, over one-in-five people planning to self-cater this summer are now doing so because they think the powerful pound will make their shopping bills cheaper.
The research supports this view, revealing that local prices have plunged year-on-year in all the supermarkets surveyed as well as in Western Med mini-marts. Once the Post Office applied the sterling exchange rate, it found double-digit percentage falls in Spain, Portugal and Cyprus.
The biggest price crash is in Majorca, after steep increases last year. Holidaymakers shopping at local mini-marts in the Balearic Island will find their bill over 56 per cent cheaper than in 2014 at £57.66 for the 20 items. If they shop at a bigger supermarket they will be able to shave almost £10 (16.9 per cent) off that figure and, at £47.92, the cost has shrunk by nearly 45 per cent since last summer.
The Costa Blanca is cheaper still and has overtaken the Algarve to emerge as this year’s ‘best buy’ tip for self-caterers. A one-week supermarket shop costs 15 per cent less than in the Costa del Sol (£43.32) and is almost half the price of Cyprus (£68.97). In fact supermarket prices for the Post Office basket of goods have fallen nearly 38 per cent in the Costa Blanca to £36.69. The same items cost around 23 per cent more - £45.15 – in a mini-mart.
The Algarve takes the runner-up spot in the 2015 price comparison. Echoing UK trends, cost-cutting Aldi and Lidl supermarkets have sprung up along the coastline and this has resulted in a 26.5 per cent fall in Algarve prices to £41.04. Mini-mart shopping in the Portuguese resort is likely to cost almost 49 per cent more (£61.03), although the 2015 shopping basket is over 26 per cent cheaper than a year ago.
The Western Med is looking decidedly cheaper than the Eastern Med – with resort areas in Spain and Portugal taking the top six places in the report. By contrast, local price rises in Corfu and Crete have offset the benefit of the stronger pound. As a result, although prices are down in supermarkets by 5.4 per cent in Corfu (£63.23) and 10 per cent in Crete (£64.64), the negative impact will be felt more sharply in mini-marts. Prices are up 5.5 per cent to £69.91 in Corfu, while self-caterers will have to pay almost 28 per cent more in a Crete mini-mart (£103.96).
The shopping bill in Turkey is also far more expensive than in Spain or Portugal. At £68.67, self-caterers should save 13.6 per cent on 2014 prices on a supermarket shop in Marmaris but will pay a 27.9 per cent premium to use a mini-mart where prices have risen around 15 per cent to £87.84.
Cyprus supermarkets remain most expensive but UK tourists will see the benefit of local price cuts and the powerful pound as the Post Office shopping basket costs 26.7 per cent less this year in Limassol (£68.97). A 17.3 per cent fall in mini-mart prices (£89.61) takes that cost below Crete.
Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money, said: “This year’s report reveals that it’s not just restaurants and bars that are cutting costs to attract custom. The same is happening in shops where there is fierce competition for business – especially in the Western Med.
“Self-catering can be a great way to save money so the shop price falls are great news for families on a strict budget. However, the wide variations between prices in resort convenience stores and bigger supermarkets make it important to do some homework before leaving home.
“While basic staples like milk, eggs and bread can cost less or only marginally more in local mini-marts, most food and drink items will cost a lot more. This year we found examples of basics like coffee, tea bags, fruit juice and tomatoes costing over twice as much in a mini-mart³.”
More than 10,000 Post Office branches offer euro over the counter, while Turkish lira are available at over 4,000 Post Office branches. Up to 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 Post Office branches or online at postoffice.co.uk for next day branch or home delivery - with improved exchange rates for higher value purchases.
Families can visit www.postoffice.co.uk/selfcateringcosts to compare the prices for 20 typical self-catering items in shops and supermarkets across Europe.
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