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Customers feel misled by supermarket prices

Which? tells supermarkets to ‘Price it Right’

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Which? research shows that 74% of people think supermarkets try to mislead them with confusing prices.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which? said: ‘With household budgets squeezed, it’s all the more important that stores make it as easy as possible for people to spot the best value products. All food and drink should be clearly and consistently priced by weight or volume across all stores, including products which are on special offer.’

Many supermarkets provide unit prices (the price per kilo or per litre) that are difficult to spot or, in some cases, impossible to compare between brands. Many supermarkets fail to display unit prices on special offers, so it’s hard for customers to tell whether the offer is ‘special’ after all.

Clearer unit pricing would enable customers to compare like-for-like products and see which are the best value for money straight away. For instance, if a 600g jar of mayonnaise costs £3.49 and a 400g jar is £2.50, a clear unit price per 100g  would show clearly which jar gives the most mayonnaise for your money.

Which? food unit pricing research

We asked 2,100 people about their shopping habits, and 91% said that they shop around for the best deal. Of those who used supermarket unit pricing, 88% said it that helped them to work out which products and promotions were the best value for money. 

Of those shoppers who were aware of unit pricing but were not using it, 22% said it was because unit pricing was too small and hard to read.  

Morrisons announces unit pricing change

As Which? released the new research, Morrisons announced that it would take steps towards clearer unit pricing.

The supermarket chain has promised to make unit prices consistent among similar products. It will also be making changes to the print on shelf labels so that unit prices are larger and more visible.

Dalton Phillips, chief executive of Morrisons, said: ‘For too long, retailers have not given customers enough information to easily compare prices. By doing this we believe we can restore trust in supermarket prices.’

Sainsbury’s has also announced that it will trial a new labelling format, which will include clearer unit pricing, to see if it will help customers identify the best deals. 

Support better supermarket pricing

Which? would like to see all supermarkets take steps to improve their unit pricing, so that no matter where you shop you’ll always be able to work out the best deal. However, to ensure consistency across the supermarkets, we would like to see the government give supermarkets clearer rules about how to display unit pricing so that it is genuinely helpful for shoppers.

You can add your support to our campaign by signing our unit pricing pledge. The more people who sign, the better our chances of getting clear and consistent unit pricing into every UK supermarket. 

More on this…

  • Watch our unit pricing video to see why things need to change
  • See some examples of confusing supermarket prices
  • Join the future of food debate over at Which? Conversation
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