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Food unit pricing thwarts Easter bargain hunts

Which? calls for clearer unit pricing on food

Which? has renewed calls for clearer and more consistent food unit pricing, highlighting the issues consumers may have comparing prices on various Easter deals.

Which? research has shown that food unit pricing can be confusing to consumers, with supermarkets often failing to label products in a way that makes prices easy to compare. 

In the run-up to Easter, Which? looked at examples of Cadbury’s Creme Egg pricing from a few major supermarkets, and found examples of inconsistent and potentially confusing unit pricing.

Although some eggs offered a cost per 100g, others were just priced individually, meaning that people could find it tricky to work out what was the best deal.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: ‘People are struggling with rising food prices and shouldn’t be expected to carry a calculator around the supermarket to work out the best value.’ 

Bargain Easter eggs?

One of the key problems with unit pricing is that supermarkets don’t always offer a unit price on special offers. This means that a deal where you can buy 12 eggs in a pack might seem like a bargain, with £1 off the marked price, but actually costs more per 100g than a similar deal which offers 55p off a pack of three.

  • Waitrose charged £5 for a 12 pack of Cadbury Creme Eggs, but its Creme Egg six packs sell for an everyday price of £2 per pack. 
  • Asda charged the same for a dozen boxed eggs as 12 single Creme Eggs, although the unit pricing suggested otherwise – £1.22/100g for a single egg and 84.2p/100g for a 12 pack. 

And the problem isn’t limited to Easter eggs – Which? has discovered examples of confusing prices in many other areas of the supermarket. For example:

  • Tesco sells some brands of ketchup priced per 100ml but others priced per 100g. 
  • At Morrisons, some loose tomatoes were priced per kg, with others priced per individual fruit.

Clearer unit pricing

Which? is campaigning for clearer and more consistent food unit pricing. We’d like to see supermarkets showing consistent unit prices on all products, so that consumers can easily compare deals and find the bargains.

We’d also like this method of pricing to be used on all deals and multibuys, to avoid situations such as the Crème Egg one, where it is difficult for people to work out which deal represents the best value.

You can support our food unit pricing campaign by adding your email address below, and letting us know which supermarket you usually shop in. The more people who tell us that they want to see unit pricing improved, the more likely it is we will be able to persuade supermarkets to change their practices.

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