Shopping ethically and sustainably can add almost £500 to your annual shopping bill, analysis has revealed as eco-campaigners warn cheaper products often come at a greater environmental cost.
Research looking at the ‘shopping basket’ of goods used to work out inflation found that it costs on average an extra £476 a year to buy ethically-sourced versions of products compared to the own-brand equivalents in three major supermarkets.
The study, commissioned by the renewable energy supplier Pure Planet, compared items such as a 300g bag of Asda’s own spinach at £1.05 with the same size bag of Asda’s Grower’s selection organic spinach at £2.00.
The stark price differential was apparent in products from other supermarkets such as Tesco and Waitrose.
A 500ml bottle of organic olive oil costs £5.00 at Waitrose, compared the store’s own version of the same size, which £2.35 – £2.65 cheaper than the original.
Similarly, Tesco’s own brand peanut butter costs £1.30 compared with a jar of Whole Earth organic peanut at £3.00.
Following the findings, a spokesman for Greenpeace said: A Greenpeace UK spokesperson said: “Some cheap products are cheap because the real costs of making them have been externalised, whether it’s environmental damage from waste and pollution, workers being paid low wages, or more planet-heating emissions.
“Conversely, some products are more expensive because the companies making them have taken care to minimise their impact on people and nature.
“This is why it’s so important that we work towards an environmentally responsible economy that cuts waste and pollution, stops climate change, and doesn’t export our environmental impacts to other countries.”
Researchers selected a ‘basket shop’ of items from the Office of National Statisitcs’s CPI basket and compared prices across three supermarkets, Asda, Tesco and Waitrose.
The average basket shop of goods was made up of 10 items including milk, cereal, carrots, bananas and washing up liquid.
The non-organic basket of essentials came out at an average price of £10.53, whereas the average basket of ethical essentials is £19.69, almost £10 more per week.
The supermarket where it costs most to choose sustainable groceries is Tesco where basket of organic goods costs on average £10.60 more than Tesco own selection.
Waitrose is narrowly behind with an ethical shop costing £9.73 more than the standard.
Asda is the most eco-affordable out of the selected shops with a sustainable shop costing £7.14, £3.46 less than at Tesco and £2.59 less than at Waitrose.
Steven Day, Co-Founder of Pure Planet, said: “We live in an age where living more sustainably is a need not a choice, to preserve the planet for future generations.
“Its disappointing for shoppers to be paying more in supermarkets for sustainable goods.”