Aldi was placed first in the in-store category in the survey of 6,800 shoppers who were asked about their experience of shopping for groceries both in-store and at online supermarkets over the previous six months.
Marks & Spencer was placed second while Lidl was third, with Sainsbury’s placed bottom of the in-store survey.
Despite Aldi’s stores being described by some in the survey as “untidy” and “a jumble sale” and customers complaining about rushed checkouts, value for money was a key factor in its climb to the top spot.
Supermarkets were ranked in the in-store category based on consumers’ feelings about the appearance of stores, queuing time, staff availability, the range and quality of products and value for money.
Waitrose, which had previously held the top position for three years, fell to fourth place.
Separate studies have previously suggested that the “Waitrose effect” of having one of its stores nearby can help to add value to residents’ homes.
Which? said customers gave Waitrose a two-star rating for its value for money in contrast to Aldi’s five. Which? said Aldi’s special offers rated well, as did the quality of its fresh and own-label products and the ease of finding items on its shelves. It is the second time Aldi has come top in Which?’s annual survey – the previous occasion was in 2014.
Matthew Barnes, chief executive, UK and Ireland at Aldi, said: “At Aldi, we’re proud to offer fantastic quality products at amazing prices and to be named the UK’s favourite supermarket shows just how much we are resonating with shoppers.”
Aldi fans loved the supermarket’s “fantastic prices” with many also praising an “always improving” selection of food, Which? found.
One customer said Waitrose is “a bit pricey – which is why I don’t do my main shop there”, while others praised its “top quality” produce and “polite customers”.
A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said it was “confused by the methodology” used to create the rankings, pointing out that its stores had outperformed the top-ranked in-store supermarket in the star ratings system on measures such as store appearance, queuing time, staff availability and range of products and had matched it on quality of own-label products and fresh products.
Meanwhile, in the online category, Iceland claimed the top spot for the third year running, which it shares with Ocado for the first time. Asda was placed at the bottom of the online supermarkets table.