Christmas confusion keeps unit pricing on our listWhich? looks at festive food pricing

19 December 2011

As shoppers start buying their food for Christmas, Which? is urging supermarkets to make their pricing clearer to help people find the bargains.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: 'Unit prices should be a useful tool for people to compare food prices and choose the best value product. It's especially important as our research shows that many people will be trying to cut back on food costs this Christmas.

He added: 'Some of the pricing labels we've found could leave people paying over the odds for products that they believe to be cheaper.'

Christmas food prices

Examples of poor food unit pricing included Christmas cakes where one was priced per kilogram and one priced per 100g, and clementines which didn't have a unit price at all.

See some more examples in our Christmas food gallery.

Which? thinks it should be much more straightforward to compare food unit prices in the supermarket. We'd like to see retailers and government working to make things easier for shoppers to compare. We're asking for:

  • unit prices to be prominently displayed on all labels
  • consistent units used on all products
  • multi-buys and discounts to show the unit prices.

Unit pricing 'hassle'

When we discussed food unit pricing on Which? Conversation, user Don noted: 'We have just returned to UK after 12 years living on the continent. I simply do not remember this problem there. Everything seemed to be priced per kilogram or per litre, making the sums very simple.'

Dave Suffolk said: 'Of course any unit price can be worked out if you have a pair of scales handy and a calculator (or you're good at mental arithmetic). But the point of having a comparable unit price is to save you that hassle and educate those who can't or won't do it.'

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