Jaffa Cakes, pasta, orange juice and ketchup are just a few of the many items that you can buy for just 25p at the Easy Foodstore in North London’s Park Royal.
The Easyjet founder Sir Stelios Hajo-Ionnaou opened the budget food store as a “new concept store” that challenges regional supermarket prices.
As a result, the store has gathered huge amounts of attention from both the mainstream media and public. I went there to investigate and talk to shoppers about their experience.
I arrived at 9:30am – half an hour after opening, and was met with a queue of 100 people, standing patiently in the cold.
Students, pensioners and working professionals formed a snake-like trail around the shop. “I’ve been waiting for an hour now, but I know it will be worth it”, explains a young couple standing in line with their two children.
In the last 30 years, the UK has seen a rise in competitive supermarkets; especially after price comparison facilities were introduced.
The success of German supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi in the UK have allowed the British public to enjoy daily foods at much cheaper prices to what they are being offered in stores like Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
The early 2000s introduced the phenomenon of Poundland and 99p stores which became a national craze. They offer a selection of food, healthcare, home products and gifts, all for the price of a pound.
Easy Foodstores similarly offers everything at one price tag. Having products set at a single fee is convenient as people can keep track of their spending, as well as being able to buy the same products they love without prices fluctuating drastically.
Easy Foodstore offers prices that guarantee ultimate money saving at a great value. The average price for a packet of Jaffa Cakes is £1.25 across UK supermarkets, and Easy food store offers them at the price of just 25p – a fifth of the price elsewhere.
With unemployment remaining a problem in London, Easy food store seems to offer something honest and useful to the public with no ulterior motive. The Easyjet owner has stated: “I’m not doing this to make money”.
Although Easy Foodstore lacks the aesthetic qualities of our average supermarkets, people are able to have a positive experience despite the bleakness of the warehouse style layout.
Matt Johnston and Ellias Bishop, who had just come out of the store with their shopping, said: “They need to do this everywhere. It’s not a fancy place, but who needs that when you can buy three months worth of pasta for less than £3.
“We are both baristas and we rent a place just around the corner. We get by with money but London is expensive so this will give us an opportunity to save on a lot of cash. We’ll definitely be doing our shopping here much more.”
However, despite it’s initial success there are already beginning to be some noticeable changes.
A few days after it’s successful launch, Easy Foodstore updated their website confirming they would raise their price to 29p meaning the 25p price was an introductory offer.
Although this is just a 4p increase, it raises the question of whether the prices will go up further – eventually losing its novelty of being extremely affordable.
Another update to the website, stated the store would be narrowing the list of products down to it’s best sellers, meaning less of a range.
Easy Foodstore currently sells 76 products in total. This means customers can buy one of each product in the store for exactly £19.
With the number of products reduced, customers may be left with less of a choice.
One couple in the queue they told us they’d driven 70 miles to get to the Easy Foodstore. “We came from the other side of Oxfordshire, to see what all the hype was about. We know it’s a long way away, but we were curious to see what the shop was like, and where else can you buy Jaffa Cakes for 25 pence?”
Easy Foodstore is offering something that almost sounds too good to be true.
Although it’s early days, it’s safe to say that if the concept of the store catches on and expands, it would be a huge benefit to the struggling residence of Britain.
All images credited to Katrina Mirpuri