Watch out! Your supermarket trolley could add 25% to your shop

Wondering why your weekly food shop has gone up? This new trolley design could be adding an extra £7 to your basket each week!

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

Supermarket aisle with empty green trolley

Image source: Getty Images

The weekly food shop is an expense that every household in the UK will be accustomed to. As a result, supermarket chains are amongst some of the wealthiest retail companies in the world. The average store brings in £160.5 billion every single year!

Despite these profits, supermarkets have ways to trick customers into spending more money than they need to. Recent reports have revealed the latest supermarket trick that could have you spending 25% more each time you visit!

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Here’s how to spot it and how you could make savings on your food shop this year.


The trolley that makes you spend more at the supermarket!

Some UK supermarkets are now using parallel-handled trolleys that have handles like those on a wheelbarrow rather than one straight handlebar. Recent research by Bayes Business School has found that the newly designed parallel-handled trolley could add £7 to your weekly shop!

The reason behind the new trolley’s impact is likely to be unexpected!

According to the research, when shoppers push the new trolley, it activates their bicep muscles instead of their tricep muscles. The psychology behind it is that we associate using our bicep muscles with pulling things towards us and our tricep muscles with pushing things away. Apparently, using parallel-handled trolleys puts shoppers in a better position to accept things that they like. And as a result, they are more likely to add more to their trolley!

City, University of London conducted a further survey that found the new trolley design could increase your food shop by 25%. With the old trolley, participants in the survey spent an average of £22. However, those who used the new design added an extra £7 worth of goods to their basket.

How to save money on your food shopping

In light of this research, the most obvious way to save money on your food shopping is to stick to the traditional shopping trolley!

However, even before the new trolleys came into play, Brits still spent more than they needed to on their weekly shop. If you are guilty of overspending at the supermarket each week, here’s how to make some serious savings!

Shop at the right time

I worked in Morrisons for over a year, and I learned that timing your food shop really matters!

If you shop at the right time, you will notice that many food items are reduced by up to half of their original price! Supermarkets do this for fresh produce that can’t be sold past its sell-by date.

To reduce waste, staff spend the end of each working day decreasing the price of items that are close to their sell-by date. Therefore, if you chose to shop near closing time, you could bag yourself some great savings!

Collect points and use loyalty cards

Ever said ‘no’ when asked if you want to sign up for a loyalty card?

Too often, shoppers decline to sign up in a bid to save time or avoid being bombarded with spam emails. However, signing up for supermarket loyalty schemes could actually lead to excellent savings!

For example, if you walk around Tesco you will notice that most items have two prices. The more expensive price is how much a non-Clubcard member will need to spend. The cheaper price (usually shown in yellow) is the cost for anyone who has a loyalty card.

While the price differences may seem small at first, making the most of Clubcard offers every time you shop can really add up! Tesco claims that it saves its customers £400 per year with its Clubcard scheme.

Making a shopping list

This one may sound simple, but you may be shocked at the difference a basic shopping list can make to your expenses!

Having a list to hand when you do your shop will stop you from buying extra items that you don’t need. This means that, even with supermarket tricks in place, you should be able to say no to items that aren’t necessary.

The best way to make a shopping list is to plan your weekly meals in advance and buy only the items that are needed for these meals. A good tip is to try to plan your meals so that some ingredients can be used more than once to cut down the number of items you need to buy.

Use coupons

It’s common practice to use discount codes and coupons when shopping online. However, many UK supermarket shoppers don’t realise they can use discounts in store as well!

Some supermarkets will send discount codes to loyalty scheme members, but others can be trickier to find. 

A great place to look is WeThrift. The discount site regularly uploads working codes that can be used to save money in hundreds of UK stores. Simply download the coupon and show it in store to receive money off your next food shop. 


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