Some products in Tesco’s “half-price Fruit & Veg Pledge” rose sharply in price just weeks before they were put on offer, it has been revealed.
Tesco is offering at least five fresh fruit and vegetable products at half price every week during the whole of 2007, as consumers are urged to eat ‘five-a-day’ to stay healthy.
But today the supermarket giant confirmed apples, peaches, nectarines and plums all rose in price in the month before being featured in the first week of the promotion.
However, a spokeswoman said the fluctuations were due to seasonal variations, such as rises in transport costs around Christmas.
‘Any suggestion that we ramp up prices in order to cut them again is the purest nonsense,’ she said.
Gala apples rose in price from £1.19/kg in the week beginning 11 December to £1.99 in the week of 18 December. They were then slashed to 99p in the first week of this year.
Plums were £1.48 for 500g at 11 December, but went up to £2.99 in the week of 28 December, before being cut to £1.48 again in the first week of the pledge.
Nectarines similarly rose from £1.49 to £2.99 before being cut to £1.48, while peaches rose from £1.99 to £2.99 before the price was halved.
The Mail on Sunday, which revealed the rises, said trading standards officers were looking into whether shoppers were being misled by Tesco over the pledge.
But Tesco accused competitors of attempting to undermine its health drive, and said the supermarket giant was doing more to promote healthy eating than any other retailer.
‘This is a competitor briefing to one newspaper – probably because that competitor doesn’t exactly have a strong record on health.
‘If trading standards do want to take a look, that’s fine.
‘We’re doing more than anyone else on health and this promotion will help more customers than ever get their five a day.
‘We’re confident our customers know we offer excellent value and compare well to any other supermarket on quality and price,’ the spokeswoman said.
A number of products, ranging from carrots, courgettes and onions to salads, vegetable stir-fries and organic grapes have gone on sale at half-price for two or more weeks after remaining at a constant price since December 18, she added.
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