ASDA shoppers who are used to bagging a bargain from the low-cost supermarket are shocked at some of the store's recent price hikes.

Customers who buy Asda's Just Essentials brand have noticed that some items in the range are up at least 45% compared to six months ago.

Surprisingly during the cost of living crisis, supermarkets' own brands and budget ranges have gone up more than premium branded foods.

Research from Which? shows price hikes of up to 175% on everyday budget own-brand products, compared with 88% for big brands.

Asda's popular Just Essentials range was a rebrand of its former Smart Price range, and it has become a firm favorite among shoppers who are trying to keep costs down.

So much so that the retailer was forced to ration its products, preventing customers from buying more than three of any one item.

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One shopper compared the prices of a big family shop from the Just Essentials range in September 2022 to one now, six months on, with some shocking revelations.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, she said: "In September 2022, the full shop came to £50.87 and, impressively, was enough to feed my family of four for a week.

"Now that same shop costs £64.02, an increase of 26%.

"Of the 57 Just Essentials products I bought from Asda's Trafford Park store, 35 have gone up in price, 14 of them by 25% or more.

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She found that six items had gone up by at least 45%, with one of them – a 400g tin of chicken soup up by a staggering 87.5%, from 24p to 45p.

Pears saw the second highest price hike, up from 45p to 70p, an increase of 56%, and tomato soup was up 50% too, from 30p to 45p.

Meat also took a hit, with an eight-pack of pork sausages up by 46% from 96p to £1.40 and a whole chicken up 45%, from £3.19 to £4.62.

Asda has come under fire from shoppers for increasing the price of its Just Essentials range with some saying it is "unfair to target those in most need".

One shopper said: "If I had any money to spare then I wouldn't be buying the cheapest of everything there is.

"I buy Asda's Just Essentials range because it's cheap and it's all I can afford.

"I don't know how they expect us to keep paying more for things.

"It's the most basic stuff, not a luxury."

Another said: "We have cut back so much, over the last few months especially.

"There really is nothing else we can cut back on.

"It isn't fair to introduce a new budget range and then increase the prices when it's all people can afford."

However, all is not lost for Asda shoppers as even with some of the recent price rises, they still offer some of the cheapest around.

A 500g pack of pasta shapes for instance, up from 35p to 41p, is the same price as Aldi and Lidl.

Same with the 500g pack of spaghetti, at 28p.

An Asda spokesperson: "We launched the Just Essentials By Asda range last year to provide customers with the option of getting all of their weekly essentials from the same low-cost brand range in all of our stores nationwide.

"We’re working hard to keep prices in check for customers despite global inflationary pressures and we remain the lowest-priced major supermarket – a position recognised by Which? in their regular monthly basket comparison which has named Asda as the cheapest supermarket for a big shop every month for the last three years.

"Last week we announced we would be freezing the prices of over 500 popular branded and own-label products, more than half of which are fresh meat, dairy, fruit and vegetable products until the end of May."

Food inflation shot up to 17.1 per cent in February and supermarket prices are now the second biggest worry for people, after soaring energy bills.

Research shows that annual grocery bills are now £811 higher than a year ago.

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