My Nectar Prices – will you save money?

The latest Sainsbury’s and Nectar scheme offers personalised discounts on your shopping.

There’s been another change in the way you can get offers at Sainsbury’s via Nectar. It follows a failed revamp of the in-app “Sainsbury’s offers” earlier this year.

So is it any good? And what does it mean for other Nectar/Sainsbury’s offers such as the Double Up promo and Sainsbury’s Weekly Offers? Here’s what you need to know.

What are “My Nectar Prices”?

Nectar Prices is a new discount scheme from Nectar and Sainsbury’s. You’ll be offered reduced prices on a selection of items, with the discount valid on multiple purchases for set amount of time.

You can only get the discounts in-store at Sainsbury’s, and only if you use the SmartShop app or handsets. More on these in a bit.

You’ll also need to be signed up for the Nectar loyalty scheme.

What items are discounted?

The products will be largely based on previous groceries you’ve bought at Sainsbury’s. The more you use your Nectar card at the till, the more you’ll see different discounts appear.

If you’re new to Nectar it’ll take some time for these personalised offers to come along, but existing card holders should see items based on their previous purchases.

On launch I had 12 different products available to me, and all said they could be used multiple times. So for example, I could buy five bottles of HP Sauce and still pay the reduced price.

You need to pay attention to the details with the product as it’s the specific size or flavour that will be at the lower price – so don’t accidentally buy the wrong one.

Here’s what was showing for me:

I’m not a regular Sainsbury’s shopper so the items discounted for me in the first week are a little random. But on the whole they do link through to things I’ve spent (often nabbing freebies via the Shopmium app!).

I’m a little puzzled how Marmite has been decided on as I HATE it and can confidently say I’ve never, ever bought it. Let along at a Sainsbury’s. However, I know my parents do use my Nectar card if they go. And even though they’ve probably not been in a couple of years (all online shopping since the pandemic), maybe they once picked some up?? Who knows.

But that’s an important point to consider if you do share your Nectar account with other family members. If it’s the same card, all the purchases will be considered to work out what you’ll get a discount on.

How good are the My Nectar Prices discounts?

With discounts of up to 30% available, Sainsbury’s claims you’ll save more than £200 a year with the offers. Though that obviously requires you to not just shop regularly at Sainsbury’s but also buy the products on promotion.

Will you really save 30% on items?

So how does this stand up in practice? Though everyone will see different products and discounts, lets take a look at the ones available to me in week one.

Item“Usual” priceMy Nectar PriceDiscount %
Hot cross buns x4£1.50£1.3112.67%
Decaff Yorkshire Tea x 160£4.75£3.8918.11%
Coconut Collab yog 360g£2.50£1.9322.8%
12x Schweppes Slimline tonic£4.90£3.7822.86%
Manilife crunchy peanut butter 295g£3.00£2.3123.00%
BOL Thai Green Curry£2.75£2.2518.18%
McCain Chimichurri chips£2.00£1.6418.00%
Weetabix x 24£2.80£2.1622.86%
HP Sauce 425g£2.30£1.7723.04%
Hovis Seed Sensation bread 800g£1.60£1.2323.13%
Marmite 250g£2.70£2.2118.15%
Clingfilm£2.10£1.6222.86%
———-
TOTAL£32.90£26.1020.67%
Products and discounts showing to me on launch in September 2021

The first thing I noticed was the discounts were nowhere near 30%. The lowest was 18% and the highest 23.13%. In fact the average reduction was 20.67%.

If you’re buying these items anyway, that’s still a decent discount – but don’t just assume you’re saving close to a third.

Will you save more than £200?

The total discount, assuming you bought one of each is £6.80. If you did that and there was a similar saving every week you’re looking at discounts worth £353.60 over a year.

Though of course you’re not likely to buy everything on offer each week. Let’s assume you pick up a third of the items – that would average out at around £120 a year.

But don’t forget you could buy multiple packs of the discounted items, which would increase your savings. I imagine you could easily save another quid or so each week doing this, which brings us much closer to the £200 mark.

However, this will only be the case if you’re shopping weekly at Sainsbury’s. Shop there less frequently and you’ll save less money.

What is the “usual” price?

But are they actual savings? Well the “Usual price” is based on how much the item is selling for at the Beckon Sainsbury’s up to a week before the day the offer is shown to you. This means your discount might actually be less or more than the one shown to you.

Though it’s less likely an individual shop has a different price (unless it’s part of a stock clearance), there’s a chance past or future promotions could change the original price when you actually go to use the offer.

And that’s what I found for five of the 12 discounted items on my account (the rest where the same price):

“Usual” priceMy Nectar PriceActual selling priceDifference
Decaff Yorkshire Tea x 160£4.75£3.89£4.50£0.25
12x Schweppes Slimline tonic£4.90£3.78£3.50£1.40
Manilife crunchy peanut butter 295g£3.00£2.31£3.75-£0.75
BOL Thai Green Curry£2.75£2.25£2.25£0.50
McCain Chimichurri chips£2.00£1.64£3-£1.00
Real selling price via Sainsburys.co.uk on 29/9/21

Three items were selling at a lower price thanks to special offers, therefore reducing the size of my discount. One item was still cheaper with Nectar Prices but another one was the same as the My Nectar Prices offer, and the third was cheaper! In the case of the latter, you’d obviously pay the lower price as listed on the shelves.

But with two items the My Nectar Prices discount actually grew! It seems the “usual” price, as set by the Beckton store a week ago was lower than the full price available to me. Perhaps there was a discount that’s now ended? Whatever the reason, you’d get a larger than 30% discount in these examples.

Since everyone will get different products it’s hard to say how common this will be. And it could also vary depending on the day you use the promotions. The only way to know for certain if it’s a decent discount is to check the price on the shelf when you pay.

Though it’s also a good reminder that just because an item is discounted it doesn’t actually mean you’ll be saving money. So don’t buy anything unless you actually want it – regardless of the amount you might “save”.

Are other supermarkets cheaper?

Sainsbury’s doesn’t have a reputation as particularly cheap. So even with the discounted prices it stands to reason you might still get these items for the same price or less at another supermarket – particularly if they have offers on the go.

Well I had a quick look at the Asda, Tesco and Waitrose websites for the 12 items showing on My Nectar Prices this week – and prices were either the same or less at Sainsbury’s! Quite a surprise. Of course, that will change depending on your offers and the week.

How to use My Nectar Prices

You’ll be able to see your personalised discounts in the Nectar app and on the Nectar website. There’s no need to activate the offers, as you would with the Weekly Offers promotion. You’ll see how long you have to get the discount.

Instore vs online

Importantly you can only currently get My Nectar Prices in-store. I asked Sainsbury’s if they plan to bring them to online purchases and they told me “We will be listening closely to customers’ feedback before bringing My Nectar Prices to other channels.

So… who knows! I found this answer on Twitter which is more hopeful – but don’t hold your breath.

You need to use SmartShop

Smart Shop is a system where you scan as you go. This allows you to pack as you shop and avoid normal checkouts. Instead you’ll go to a dedicated SmartShop till where you settle up. Occasionally you might be randomly asked to rescan your purchases.

Most stores will have a scanner when you enter the store. You’ll need to scan your Nectar card. Otherwise you’ll need to download the SmartShop app to your phone. It’s available to iOS 8.0 or later and “most Android phones”.

How does My Nectar Prices work with other Nectar offers?

This is an extra offer rather than replacing the usual points system. That means you’ll still be able to earn Nectar points on your shopping. The rate will remain at 1 point per £1 spent, which works out as the equivalent of 0.5% back.

But what about other Nectar promotions? It’s mixed news.

Sainsbury’s Offers

The Weekly Sainsbury’s Offers are usually extra Nectar points you can earn on certain items. I assumed this would be ditched in favour of My Nectar Offers. However, apparently they will stay.

Though these aren’t showing on my app, I’ve been told by Sainsbury’s that these offers will continue to appear in your Nectar account. That’ll be a relief to shoppers who were frustrated by changes that Sainsbury’s introduced (but then reversed) earlier this year.

Nectar Double Up

The bad news is that we’ve seen the last of the Nectar Double Up promotion, which as the name suggested doubled the value of your points to spend on certain Sainsbury’s departments.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Double Up for years (it was too complicated and restrictive), but I’m still sad to see it end rather than improve.

You can read more about why Sainsbury’s and Nectar have axed this offer in my article on the Double Up scheme.

Other deals

There’s not really much to shout about here at the best of times, but it doesn’t look like there’s been any change to the other ways you can use your points. You can read more about the best ways to spend and collect Nectar points here.

Are My Nectar Prices good or bad for shoppers?

Andy’s Analysis

My early take on the offer is that it’s OK. If you shop at Sainsbury’s anyway, and if you are going to buy those items anyway, then you may as well grab the discount. But this isn’t going to revolutionise loyalty schemes.

If anything it’s more complicated than it needs to be (not a surprise when it comes to Nectar). Why the need for two different apps to get the savings? Why can’t they offer the discounts online?

Tesco’s Clubcard Prices promotions, for example, are much easier to understand and are on a far larger number of products.

However, if the My Nectar Prices discounts can really be personalised to items you regularly buy, then it will be a welcome way to save.

Obviously, it’s also a disappointment that this will replace the Double Up promotion. It now means there are very few ways to boost the value of your points. Effectively the best place to spend your points is now on your regular Sainsbury’s, eBay or Argos shopping.

Andy’s podcast

Listen to Cash Chats, Andy’s twice-weekly podcast. Episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.