Sizzling summer: the real cost of a Great British BBQ in 2021

The new Best Value BBQ Report from the personal finance experts at money.co.uk reveals how to stay on budget during what’s set to be a summer full of sizzling BBQs.

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The arrival of summer means warm weather, spending more time outdoors, and of course the beloved Great British barbecue. 

From smoke-filled gardens, sizzling sausages, and a splatter of ketchup on the side of your paper plate; the great British summer just wouldn’t be the same without firing up the coals and enjoying an al fresco feast. 

However, it’s important that budgets aren't burnt for the sake of a banger and burger. The average BBQ now costs UK consumers around £51 in food, but this price significantly increases depending on your guests' dietary requirements, and those costly add-ons. 

The average cost of a family BBQ revealed

Delicious hot dogs, sizzling sausages or plant-based alternatives? Our report looks at the cost of a family BBQ whether you are a meat eater, vegetarian, vegan or even pescatarian. 

Family Meat BBQTwo AdultsCostTwo ChildrenCost
Beef burgers200g£2.75Beef burgers120g£0.99
Pork chops113g£2.00Pork chops56.5g£0.64
Veggies600g£2.11Veggies300g£1.06
Chicken drumsticks50g£2.00Chicken drumsticks20g£0.37
Chicken thighs30g£1.65Chicken thighs13.5g£0.37
Sausages350g£2.00Chicken breast27g£0.37
Baby back pork rib (rack)100g£3.00Sausages175g£0.39
Medium steaks120g£3.70Small steaks 50g£0.99
Large steaks 75g£4.00
Burger buns2 buns£1.00
Total £24.21Total £5.18
Family Plant-Based BBQ Two AdultsCostTwo ChildrenCost
Veggie burgers200g£1.49Veggie burgers120g£0.99
Veggie sausages 350g£2.00Veggie sausages 175g£0.39
Plant-based burger 200g£1.25Plant-based burger 120g£0.99
Plant-based sausages 350g£2.35Plant-based sausages 175g£0.39
Veggies600g£2.11Veggies300g£1.06
Total £9.20Total £3.82
Family Fish BBQ Two AdultsCostTwo ChildrenCost
Salmon130g£2.95Salmon65g£0.99
Cod130g£2.75Cod65g£0.99
Tuna130g£4.00Tuna65g£0.99
Veggies600g£2.11Veggies300g£1.06
Sea bass130g£4.00Sea bass65g£0.99
Total£15.81Total£5.02

During the summer, Brits are well versed in taking advantage of sunny afternoons and longer evenings to enjoy a BBQ feast with their nearest and dearest. The average family in the UK consists of two adults and two children, so from this the team have determined the average cost of a family BBQ, plus the perfect portion sizes guaranteed to satisfy appetites of all sizes! 

For a traditional meat-eating family, a BBQ this summer will cost approximately £29.39. For families following a vegetarian or plant-based diet, the cost decreases by a significant 55%,  at an average cost of £13.02 for a typical BBQ.

For fish-loving pescatarian families, a summer BBQ will cost around £20.83 on average -  59% more than a vegetarian or vegan BBQ. 

Dinner for 2: Plant-based BBQ’s are 163% cheaper for vegan couples 

Meat BBQ for TwoTwo Adults Cost
Beef burgers200g£2.75
Pork chops113g£2.00
Veggies600g£2.11
Chicken drumsticks50g£2.00
Chicken thighs30g£1.65
Sausages350g £2.00
Baby back pork rib (rack)100g£3.00
Medium steaks120g£3.70
Large steaks 75g£4.00
Burger buns2 buns£1.00
Total Cost£24.21
Plant-based BBQ for Two
Veggie burgers200g£1.49
Veggie sausages 350g£2.00
Plant-based burger 200g£1.25
Plant-based sausages 350g£2.35
Veggies600g£2.11
Total Cost£9.20
Fishy BBQ for Two
Salmon130g£2.95
Cod130g£2.75
Tuna130g£4.00
Veggies600g£2.11
Sea bass130g£4.00
Total Cost£15.81

For couples firing up the coals this summer, a traditional meat centric BBQ will set you back £24.51 on average, but opting for a vegetarian or vegan alternative BBQ will save you £15.01 from the cost of your shopping bill. 

What’s more, opting for a fish based BBQ this summer will cost 34% less than a traditional BBQ meat-feast, at an overall average of £15.81. 

Aldi crowned the cheapest supermarket for BBQ food

Aldi, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose, Morrisons, or Sainsbury’s? 

Our report analyses the big six UK supermarkets against each other to reveal which offers the cheapest basket of BBQ goodies. 

Budget Supermarket BasketMeat Cost AveragePlant-Based Cost AverageFish Cost Average
Asda£52.84£28.31£18.29
Aldi £38.52£15.47£20.25
Morrisons£50.10£20.55£28.41
Tesco£52.27£30.35£29.44
Sainsbury's£42.26£29.10£31.05
Waitrose£55.43£37.65£38.30
Luxury Supermarket BasketMeat Cost AveragePlant-Based Cost AverageFish Cost Average
Asda£75.80£36.84£25.11
Aldi £73.02£28.92£25.12
Morrisons£76.36£41.10£36.40
Tesco£93.87£53.05£41.30
Sainsbury's£85.65£76.81£42.21
Waitrose£104.88£67.10£51.85

Taking into consideration the number of guests and dietary requirements, we looked into which famous chain will give you the best value for money when it comes to BBQ essentials this summer.

Looking at pricing data from June 2021, we found that Aldi was - unsurprisingly - the cheapest overall supermarket for a meat, vegetarian, vegan and pescatarian cookout. 

A basket of groceries for a traditional BBQ, including chicken, burgers, sausages and steaks, will cost an average of £38.52 to feed between two and 10 guests. 

A plant-based BBQ will set you back an average of £15.37 for between two and 10 guests. Hosting a party of 4 will set you back £12.14 at Aldi - that’s £9.86 less than if shopping at supermarket giant Tesco, and £10.71 less than a BBQ basket at Waitrose. 

If opting for a fish-based BBQ this summer, Aldi customers can expect to pay around £20.25 for between two and 10 guests. 

Hosting a party of 6 will set consumers back just £21.15 at Aldi, compared to supermarkets Morrisons (£31.30) and Sainsbury’s (£34.50), a respective 47% and 63% cheaper. 

Budget vs Luxury ranges: Which of the big six supermarkets offers the best deals?

The Best Value BBQ Report also analysed the price difference between ‘value’ and ‘finest’ food options across each supermarket to reveal where the best deals can be found to suit the mood of your occasion. 

The team studied own-brand items – such as quarter pounder beef burgers (two or four per pack), pork sausages (six or eight per pack), and burger buns, alongside ‘finest’ options of the same items. 

Opting for ‘value’ items will save you £36.36 on your summer BBQ  

Budget - Meat BBQCost - Two PeopleCost - Four PeopleCost - Six PeopleCost - Eight PeopleCost - Ten PeopleAverage Cost
Aldi£26.40£29.87£39.81£41.89£54.64£38.52
Sainsbury's£23.37£29.49£43.77£49.74£64.95£42.26
Morrisons£32.56£39.04£49.57£52.26£77.08£50.10
Tesco£34.93£42.08£51.23£59.16£73.96£52.27
Asda£28.96£40.59£54.98£60.82£78.84£52.84
Waitrose£29.81£38.11£58.4164.31£86.51£55.43
Luxury - Meat BBQCost - Two PeopleCost - Four PeopleCost - Six PeopleCost - Eight PeopleCost - Ten PeopleAverage Cost
Aldi £40.99£50.60£73.58£81.86£118.06£73.02
Asda£42.24£56.94£79.61£88.61£111.60£75.80
Morrisons£44.90£56.15£79.50£90.15£111.10£76.36
Sainsbury's£42.83£56.83£90.08£102.26£136.26£85.65
Tesco£55.09£71.79£96.28£107.70£138.47£93.87
Waitrose£61.87£71.22£111.49£120.77£159.05£104.88

Our report reveals that filling a barbecue basket with supermarket own brand value items could save consumers up to £36.36, compared with purchasing items from the finest ranges. 

Comparing the average prices between each supermarket analysed in the report, we can reveal that - on average - purchasing only luxury BBQ items will set you back £84.93, as opposed to value items at £48.57 - a saving of £36.36. 

Overall, Aldi was revealed as the supermarket offering the best deals across BBQ meat products, with the average basket costing £38.52 based on the average BBQ party size of 6. 

Sainsbury’s (£42.26) took second place, with Morrisons (£50.10) following closely behind in third. Tesco (£52.27) and Asda (£52.84) are neck- and-neck in fourth and fifth place. 

The most expensive supermarket for our budget barbecue basket is Waitrose (£55.43), £16.91 more expensive than Aldi. 

However, analysis of the data per party size reveals that if you are hosting a traditional BBQ for two this summer, it is in fact more cost effective to shop at Sainsbury’s, with a BBQ shop costing £3.03 less than Aldi. 

If you want to splash the cash this summer and treat your guests to a luxury barbecue feast, you can opt for the finest range of food products at each supermarket. 

Looking at the cost of luxury barbecue essentials, Waitrose was crowned as the most expensive overall at £104.88 on average for a barbecue shop for between 2 and 10 guests. 

Tesco (£93.87) takes second place with Sainsbury’s (£85.65) coming in third position. Whereas, Morrisons (£76.36), Asda (£75.80), and Aldi (£73.02) all had similar luxury basket costs. 

Luxury items add £23.74 to a plant-based shopping bill

Budget - Plant-Based BBQCost - Two PeopleCost - Four PeopleCost - Six PeopleCost - Eight PeopleCost - Ten PeopleAverage Cost
Aldi £6.07£12.14£17.42£18.21£23.49£15.47
Morrisons£8.18£15.16£23.34£24.54£31.52£20.55
Asda£8.20£19.70£30.70£35.55£47.40£28.31
Sainsbury's£9.50£17.50£31.00£35.00£52.50£29.10
Tesco£9.25£22.00£33.00£38.25£49.25£30.35
Waitrose£11.35£22.85£39.95£47.30£66.80£37.65
Luxury - Plant-Based BBQCost - Two PeopleCost - Four PeopleCost - Six PeopleCost - Eight PeopleCost - Ten PeopleAverage Cost
Aldi £9.44£21.07£31.41£36.18£46.52£28.92
Asda£10.90£24.85£40.30£46.35£61.80£36.84
Morrisons£11.50£27.50£45.50£52.50£68.50£41.10
Tesco£14.75£37.25£57.75£67.50£88.00£53.05
Waitrose£18.75£44.75£73.50£86.25£112.25£67.10
Sainsbury's£17.50£42.50£70.00£80.00£174.05£76.81

If hosting a plant-based BBQ this summer, our report reveals that Aldi is the cheapest supermarket to stock up on plant-based meat alternatives. 

Aldi’s value range will only cost consumers an average of £15.47 for between two and 10 people. If you’re looking to treat yourself, opting for the supermarkets ‘specially selected’ range, expect to add an extra £13.45 to your barbecue shopping bill. 

Sainsbury’s emerged as the most expensive supermarket with their luxury range amounting to £76.81 - a staggering  £47.89 more expensive than the specially selected food bill from Aldi. 

However, if opting for Sainsbury’s value range, your barbecue basket can be reduced by £47.71. 

Luxury vs budget BBQ: There’s a £9.38 difference if you prefer to eat fish

Budget - Fish BBQCost - Two PeopleCost - Four PeopleCost - Six PeopleCost - Eight PeopleCost - Ten PeopleAverage Cost
Asda£9.88£10.73£19.76£20.61£30.49£18.29
Aldi £12.07£12.86£21.15£21.94£33.22£20.25
Morrisons£15.65£15.65£31.30£32.50£46.95£28.41
Tesco£17.50£19.25£30.40£32.15£47.90£29.44
Sainsbury's£17.25£17.25£34.50£34.50£51.75£31.05
Waitrose£21.10£21.10£42.20£43.80£63.30£38.30
Luxury - Fish BBQCost - Two PeopleCost - Four PeopleCost - Six PeopleCost - Eight PeopleCost - Ten PeopleAverage Cost
Asda£13.65£13.65£27.30£28.65£42.30£25.11
Aldi £15.24£16.53£26.20£27.49£40.15£25.12
Morrisons£20.00£20.00£40.50£41.50£60.00£36.40
Sainsbury's£23.45£23.45£46.90£46.90£70.35£42.21
Tesco£22.50£24.50£45.00£47.00£67.50£41.30
Waitrose£28.50£28.50£57.00£59.75£85.50£51.85

Those planning to recreate a mediterranean holiday vibe by adding fish and seafood to their summer BBQ’s can save almost £10 by opting for a supermarket's budget offering. 

Asda was revealed to be the cheapest BBQ option for pescatarians, with a budget shop costing just £18.252 for 6 people. However, the brands ‘extra special’ range will add an extra £6.82 to a shopping bill. 

Waitrose is the most expensive supermarket option for fish-lovers, with luxury items amounting to £51.85 - £13.55 more expensive than its  value basket offering.

Salman Haqqi, money.co.uk’s personal finance expert offers his top tips on how to save money on your summer barbecues:

“One of the best things about summer is inviting all of your friends and family round for an impromptu alfresco BBQ, to enjoy delicious food and great company while the sun sets.

“Hosting a BBQ can be quite expensive, but thankfully there are ways to stretch your budget as you welcome others back into your gardens this summer. 

“It’s certainly worth bearing in mind that the fewer people you invite, the fewer you will ultimately have to feed. However, if you’re looking to host a larger celebration, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask invitees to bring drinks, meat or side dishes with them. This not only means that guests will bring food with them they know they will enjoy, it will also ensure there is plenty to go around and a good selection of options for all.

“Try to look for more inexpensive cuts and types of meats while browsing the supermarket - replace the pricier options of steak and salmon with pork, turkey, cod or haddock. Finally, use your freezer space to avoid any food waste! Take advantage of any reduced food and special offers at supermarkets, and stock up on essentials for future BBQ’s.” 

Top tips for saving money on your BBQ

Delving a little deeper into holding BBQ’s on a budget, the money.co.uk team have also researched some top tips from some of the most influential money-saving bloggers in the UK on the best ways to stretch the summer savings on al fresco dining:

  • When it comes to the most common items that are leftover from a BBQ, Jack Monroe of cookingonabootstrap.com offers up some great ideas, and suggests that any leftover bread can certainly be given a new lease of life: 

“Roux, cheese, break up bread, stir, dish, cheese top bake. Mac-n-cheese/bread pud hybrid. Freeze half a loaf after purchasing so it stays in good nick, and use it for toast, bread pudding, bread crumbs and bread sauce etc..” 

“Hummus makes an excellent pasta sauce hot or cold with veggies, stuffed in an aubergine or topped on a pizza as a vegan alternative to cheese.”

“Whole lemons and limes can be cut in half and popped in the washing up bowl to cut through grease. It can also be added to a cup of hot water each morning for a refreshing start to the day, or the juice can be squeezed into ice cube trays and frozen to use when needed.”

  • The team at moneysavingcentral.co.uk emphasise the importance of reducing waste by cooking your BBQ items in sections: 

“We used to open and cook everything we had purchased and so much ended up going in the bin. When you cook in sections you open one packet at a time and can stop once everyone is full, then freeze any uncooked leftovers for another BBQ. Make sure you cook the hotdogs first to fill everyone up!”

  • Becky Goddard-Hill of family-budgeting.co.uk reminds us to stay focused during BBQ food shops, to stick to a shopping list, and not to fall for clever marketing tricks pushed in our direction: 

“In stores, all the logistics, merchandising and promotions are subordinated to one thing - to increase sales. Here are some to the techniques used:

  • Contrast perception: The brain instantly responds to a simple trick. The old price is crossed out and a new, cheaper price is written in. 

  • Greed: An ancient vice on which salesmen have learned to make money. Hence the ‘buy 3 for the price of 1”, “no more than 10 packs per household” promotions.

  • Sense of obligation: This works well when giving away free product samples. Many people have a sense of obligation, when it seems impossible to leave without buying a product. It’s a social instinct.”

Methodology and sources

In the new Summer Sizzler Study by money.co.uk, the consumer spending experts have revealed the average cost of a British BBQ this summer. 

We analysed 22 popular barbecue foods in six supermarkets, and calculated the average basket price of our shopping for June 2021. The Best Value BBQ report also analysed the price difference between value and finest food options in each supermarket to reveal where the best deals can be found. 

Our basket included own-brand items – such as quarter pounder beef burgers (two or four per pack), pork sausages (six or eight per pack), and burger buns, alongside finest options of the same items. 

Average cost: We looked at the cost for party sizes of two, four, six, eight and 10 people and from this we found the average basket value for each supermarket by finding the average cost between two and 10 guests. In the copy we have put the average guest size as six due to the average of two, four, six, eight and 10 equalling this figure. 

Asda missing tuna data: Asda’s luxury and budget basket total excludes tuna due to the item not being available online to analyse. 

Please note: All food items are fresh products and not frozen 

Sources: 

https://www.trolley.co.uk/ 

The report also looks at the average cost of a traditional, vegan/vegetarian and pescatarian BBQ for adults and children. 

Traditional/Meat BBQ - Adults and Children

We began by creating a list of 12 of the most popular BBQ foods using the following article: 

https://www.omnicalculator.com/food/bbq-party 

We then used a calculator to work out the average portion size needed to cater for a party size of four, six, eight and 10 adult guests and one, two, four, six, eight and 10 children. To calculate the average cost for each party size we used a calculator and Trolley.co.uk to find the average price of each product across the UK's biggest supermarkets.

We then revealed how much money on average Brits would be spending for each party size overall during summer/or a heatwave using this article as a source: 

https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/shopping-deals/britain-braced-1billion-bank-holiday-23839267 

Trolley.co.uk: When using this source to gather the costing figures we pulled all the products available in each food category and found the average/typical price for the portion. For each portion we found the average price for each pack (for example a four pack of chicken breast fillets) and then doubled the quantity for the amount of food required for the number of guests. 

Omnicalculator: This source gets the price range for each portion from here and here and the data is correct as of 12/05/21. 

Sources: 

https://www.omnicalculator.com/food/bbq-party 

https://www.trolley.co.uk/ 

https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/shopping-deals/britain-braced-1billion-bank-holiday-23839267 

Please note: The appetite setting on the calculator was set at “Bring the food” with the portion sizes being equivalent to this appetite measurement. The same appetite setting was applied to calculate the children's portion sizes, so that it was proportionate to the adults hunger levels. 

When using the calculator to determine the average cost of each product we converted USD to GBP, currency conversion correct as of 18/05/21.

Vegetarian/Vegan BBQ - Adults and Children 

We began by creating a list of 5 of the most popular vegan and vegetarian BBQ foods using the following articles: 

https://www.omnicalculator.com/food/bbq-party 

https://www.vegansociety.com/news/blog/8-best-vegan-bbq-recipes 

We then used a calculator to work out the average portion size needed to cater for a party size of four, six, eight and 10 adult guests and one, two, four, six, eight and 10 children. To calculate the average cost for each party size we used a calculator and Trolley.co.uk to find the average price of each product across the UK's biggest supermarkets.


Trolley.co.uk: When using this source to gather the costing figures we pulled all the products available in each food category and found the average/typical price for the portion. For each portion we found the average price for each pack (for example a pack of two vegetarian burgers) and then doubled the quantity for the amount of food required for the number of guests. 

Omnicalculator: This source gets the price range for each portion from here and here and the data is correct as of 12/05/21. 

Sources: 

https://www.omnicalculator.com/food/bbq-party 

https://www.trolley.co.uk/ 

https://www.vegansociety.com/news/blog/8-best-vegan-bbq-recipes 

Please note: The appetite setting on the calculator was set at “Bring the food” with the portion sizes being equivalent to this appetite measurement. The same appetite setting was applied to calculate the children's portion sizes, so that it was proportionate to the adults hunger levels. 

When using the calculator to determine the average cost of each product we converted USD to GBP, currency conversion correct as of 18/05/21. 

Pescatarian BBQ - Adults and Children

We began by creating a list of 4 of the most popular fish to BBQ using the following articles: 

https://progressivegrocer.com/10-most-popular-fish-make-90-volume 

https://www.omnicalculator.com/food/bbq-party 

We then used a calculator to work out the average portion size needed to cater for a party size of four, six, eight and 10 adult guests and one, two, four, six, eight and 10 children. To calculate the average cost for each party size we used a calculator and Trolley.co.uk to find the average price of each product across the UK's biggest supermarkets.

Trolley.co.uk: When using this source to gather the costing figures we pulled all the products available in each food category and found the average/typical price for the portion. For each portion we found the average price for each pack (for example a two pack of salmon fillets) and then doubled the quantity for the amount of food required for the number of guests. 

Omnicalculator: This source gets the price range for each portion from here and here and the data is correct as of 12/05/21. 

Sources: 

https://www.omnicalculator.com/food/bbq-party 

https://www.trolley.co.uk/ 

https://progressivegrocer.com/10-most-popular-fish-make-90-volume 

Please note: The appetite setting on the calculator was set at “Bring the food” with the portion sizes being equivalent to this appetite measurement. The same appetite setting was applied to calculate the children's portion sizes, so that it was proportionate to the adults' hunger levels. 

When using the calculator to determine the average cost of each product we converted USD to GBP, currency conversion correct as of 18/05/21. 

Data correct as of 21/05/2021