Refill packs poor value for money, finds Which?Some refill packs can cost more than a new jar

16 February 2012

Refill packs - Nescafe Original, Schwartz Black Pepper

Refill packs of some products can cost more than a new jar or packet, Which? has found.

Eagle-eyed Which? member Alan Styles first alerted Which? to the issue when he spotted an ‘Eco Refill’ pack of coffee in his supermarket that was more expensive than a new jar. 

When Which? examined the prices of refills it found even more examples.

A Nescafé Gold Blend 150g Refill Pouch costs £3.06/100g in Waitrose – but a 200g jar costs £2.50/100g. 

Asda, Waitrose and Morrisons sell Nescafé Original Refill Pouches that cost more per 100g than a 200g jar. 

And if you want to buy Schwartz Coarse Ground Black Pepper in Tesco, you can choose between a 33g jar, which costs £1.68, or a 33g refill pack, which costs £1.82.

Which? members can read the full story in the March issue of Which? magazine. If you're not already a member, you can sign up to try out full access for one month, for just £1.

Refills should be cheaper

Which? shopping expert Matt Clear said: 'This could catch out those shoppers who don't go to the trouble of scrutinising the unit price - most of us just assume that refill packs are cheaper. 

'Refill packs typically involve less packaging, which is good for both consumers and manufacturers, so supermarkets should be encouraging us to buy refill packs by making sure they’re cheaper than the normal version of the product.'

When Which? asked manufacturers and shops to explain the differences, Schwartz and Nescafé said that prices are set by retailers, while Waitrose said: 'We don’t believe it’s appropriate to comment on branded suppliers’ products.' 

Morrisons and Asda said they would reduce their refill prices.

Email Which? or leave a comment on our Which? Conversation blog post if you spot any more examples of poor-value refill packs.

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