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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Emma Gill

This lesser known budget supermarket is owned by B&M, and for bargains like this it's worth seeking out

Whether it's basics like bread and milk, or family favourites like fish fingers and beans, prices of most things are going up. With families struggling to make ends meet, many people are changing the way they shop - and for some that means changing where they shop.

We've all heard of the budget stores like Home Bargains and Poundland and we've been sampling them all over recent weeks to see what savings can be made. But there's a lesser known chain that's gradually getting people's attention and that's Heron Foods.

It actually started life as Grindells Butchers in 1978 before changing its name and opening its first store - Heron Frozen Foods - in Hull in 1979.

Read more: Mum regrets buying cheaper loo roll after needing ice to soothe pain

Heron Foods in Tyldesley. The brand is owned by B&M (Manchester Family / MEN)

Then, in 2017, the chain was taken over by B&M in a £152m deal and now operates more than 250 stores, including 29 across Greater Manchester, some of which have been rebranded B&M Express. By recent figures it's actually outperforming B&M, with Heron's yearly sales increasing from £102m to £113m, and B&M's falling from £1.019bn to £957m. Although neither sound like they're struggling there.

Heron sells everything from frozen food and cupboard staples, to fridge essentials, fruit and veg, and a whole lot more. I visited the branch in Tyldesley, Wigan, to see what bargains I could pick up and I was surprised by just how cheap many of the products were.

I was surprised by how cheap many of the items were (Manchester Family / MEN)

While some were cheaper with multibuy - like the two packs of Bird's Eye Crispy Chicken for £2.50 - prices generally seemed low across the board, which makes it easier if you can't afford to bulk buy in order to keep costs down.

The price of eggs - £1.39 for a pack of 15 - was pretty much as cheap as you can get them, just 7p more than Asda's new Just Essentials range, which recently replaced Smart Price.

Not everything is cheaper mind. A Kingsmill 800g loaf was a pretty standard £1.15, while a two-litre (3.5-pint) bottle of semi-skimmed milk cost £1.55 - more than most supermarkets are now charging, with four-pint bottles for £1.35.

But it was the 'Best Buy Now' offers on individual items that did stand out - like the four-pack of Muller Light Greek Yoghurts for 89p, Belvita biscuits for £1 and the huge 754g bottle of Hellman's Squeezy Mayonnaise for £2.

Some of Heron's Best Buy Now offers (Manchester Family / MEN)

Drinks were cheap too, with a 1.25l bottle of Pepsi Max Lime priced just 79p and a 1-litre bottle of Robinson's double strength blackcurrant for £1. The same cordial costs £2.25 in Tesco and even under Asda's multibuy offer, still works out more expensive at two bottles for £3.

There were large packs of frozen food under Heron's XSELL brand, such as a 1.5kg bag of waffles for £1.75, but even the well-known brands were cheap - like the pack of 10 Young's fish fingers I picked up for £1, paying 25p less than the 'great value' price it had on the box.

And there were some great deals on their equivalent of wonky stock - with a 907g pack of 'bacon misshapes' for £1.49 and a 500g biscuit variety pack, containing broken and misshapen biscuits, for just 69p.

Probably the best bargain I picked up was a 375g jar of Ragu Original Chunky Bolognese sauce for 29p. It had obviously been reduced from £1 label on the jar because it was short-dated, but we all know stuff like that can be used well after its 'best before'.

Its ice cream deals are particularly popular (Manchester Family / MEN)

As for the fruit and veg, the variety wasn't huge and some didn't seem as fresh as you can buy from the bigger supermarkets, but there were still some good buys to be had - like a four-pack of Pink Lady apples for £1.89 and the 1kg bag of Royal Gala apples for an impressive £1.69.

It's the offers on chocolate and ice cream you might find hard to resist - like the four-pack of Wispa Gold bars and Cadbury Buttons for 79p each.

But while they're still relatively cheap compared with today's prices, it's worth keeping an eye on the sizes too, as both are smaller than you'd typically find in the larger supermarkets - 33.5g Wispa Gold bars compared with 38g and a 95g pack of Buttons compared with the standard 119g, so you're only really getting slightly more Wispa for your money.

Overall I picked up a pretty big haul for just over £50 though. It's probably not somewhere I'd go for a weekly shop, but I'll definitely be back soon to bag more of the bargains in store.

It was a pretty big haul for just over £50 (Manchester Family / MEN)

My full Heron shop

  • Warburtons sliced white rolls 6-pack - £1.09
  • Kingsmill soft thick white - £1.15
  • Seabrook salt and vinegar 6-pack - £1.15
  • Hellman's Squeezy Mayonnaise 754g - £2
  • Giant white baps 6-pack - £1.25
  • Pink Lady apples 4-pack - £1.89
  • Birds Eye Crispy Chicken 70g - 2 for £2.50
  • Ye Olde Oak hotdogs - 69p
  • Biscuit variety 500g - 69p
  • Royal Gala apples 1kg - £1.69
  • Eggs 15-pack - £1.39
  • Maryland choc chip cookies 2-pack - £1
  • Twix 16-pack - £2
  • Ragu Original Chunky Bolognese sauce 375g - 29p
Ragu sauce for 29p and Belvita biscuits for £1 were among my bargain buys (Manchester Family / MEN)
  • Belvita blueberry and flaxseeds 6-pack - £1
  • Almond fingers 6-pack - 79p
  • Apple rounds 6-pack - 89p
  • Muller Light Greek Yoghurts 4-pack - 89p
  • Mars praline ice creams 6-pack - £2
  • Chicken breast slices 105g - £1
  • Fresh Deli Honey Ham 180g - £1
  • Cadbury Wispa Gold 2 x four-pack - 79p each
  • Semi skimmed milk 2 litres - £1.55
  • Moo Banana Milk 1 litre - £1.25
  • Toilet roll 4-pack - £1.35
  • Utterly Butterly 500g - £1.39
  • Sultana Scones 4-pack - 69p
  • Diet Coke and Dr Pepper - two cans for £1
  • Brioche rolls - £1.09
  • Richmond Skinless Sausages 16-pack - £1.69
Some items were cheaper than what it said on the pack, like these fish fingers for £1 (Manchester Family / MEN)
  • Young's fish fingers 10-pack - £1
  • Skinny Whip bars - £1
  • Bacon 150g - 75p
  • McVitie's Trio biscuits - 49p
  • Mature Cheddar 280g - £2
  • Curly fries 600g - £1.29
  • Choc Brownies 4-pack - £1
  • Bacon Misshapes 907g - £1.29
  • Cadbury Giant Buttons 95g - 79p
  • Typhoo One Cup teabags 100-pack - £1.25
  • Hartley's strawberry jam 300g - £1
  • Pepsi Max Lime 1.25l - 79p
  • Robinson's double strength blackcurrant 1 litre - £1

Total £51.59

A kilogram of Royal Gala apples cost £1.69 (Manchester Family / MEN)

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