Save Money on your Food Shop by Taking the Downshift Challenge Image

We are always looking at ways in which our customers can save money in their daily lives in order to help improve their personal finances. In this blog we are looking at how to save money on your food shop by taking the Downshift Challenge.

This was covered by the Money Saving Expert and all round financial guru, Martin Lewis and has been proven over time to work for many people. So if you haven’t heard of it yet perhaps you could give it a go in the New Year in order to save money and improve the state of your personal finances.

The idea comes from looking at the prices and ingredients used in branded goods and those often referred to as premium and then comparing them to supermarket’s own brand products. Provided they are close enough in content you then choose the cheaper option saving yourself the difference for that one item. If you do this across you entire shopping list over a whole year the savings can be surprising.

If you take a look at the list of ingredients used in many products you’ll find that the own brand ones contain largely the same ingredients. And it’s the same again when you look at other products such as painkillers, shampoo and conditioners and cleaning products. It’s purely the packaging that is designed specifically to appear like it’s actually a premium product when that may not be the case much of the time.

There will be some instances where you will prefer the taste of the branded goods, but equally if you give the idea a go there is a good chance that you will find that the own brand products are just as tasty and provide the same nutritional value, but for far less money.

In the majority of supermarkets there are four differing brand levels; premium, branded, own brand and basic.

Level One – Premium classed products are often covered in superlatives such as finest or luxurious implying it’s the best you can get. These are usually the most expensive.

Level Two – Branded products are easy to spot. There is a massive amount of different branded products about, such as Andrex, Hovis, Mcvities and Kellogg’s to name but a few. They are names we all know, with many of them advertising on the TV.

Level Three – These are the supermarket own brand products. Each supermarket will usually have their own version of a product type and often provide most products.

Level Four – These are the basics supermarket ranges which can also be referred to as the savers range, dependent on which store you are in.  These are generally the cheapest available.

In the Downshift Challenge the idea is for you to drop down one level from where you usually shop when you are working through your shopping list. So if you usually purchase a branded breakfast cereal, on your next shop you try the supermarket’s own brand. Or if you buy a premium level loaf of bread, on your next visit downshift to a lower priced branded one. Or even try dropping two levels and opt for the supermarket’s own brand version.

Once you have completed your shop you will then be able to compare your previous shopping bill to the latest one and see the savings you have made.

If you continue to do this across a longer period, such as six months or even a year, you could see a substantial saving. You could even be able to save enough to take a small holiday or buy a special item that you would like, such as a new television for example.

If you are unsure of which lower level products you should try instead of your usual premium brand then perhaps you could have a look at the website This is a website where food critic Martin Isark compares and contrasts between the own brands and big brand names to give his opinion on which is better. You may not agree with all his choices but it’s a good place to start.

We hope this helps you save a few pounds every week and helps you improve the state of your personal finances.