Big supermarkets under fire over `bargains'
The BBC's Panorama programme has revealed that the big supermarkets' pricing is not as clear as it seems. And we've got some more evidence that shows the price cuts aren't as huge as they'd like you to believe.
Following a BBC Panorama investigation into supermarket pricing, lovemoney.com has received further evidence that prices are not what they seem.
The Panorama investigation, broadcast on BBC1 on Monday night, found that Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons are all using misleading sales tactics.
Bigger packs that cost more
The BBC investigation found that Asda was charging £3.20 for a 1kg tub of Clover spread, 20p more than buying two 500g tubs separately. At Morrisons, the difference was a whopping £1.70.
Meanwhile, Tesco was charging £12 for a 1.5kg tub of ‘Big Value’ Vanish stain remover, £3 more than buying three 500g containers.
No Wow from Asda
A check of the ‘Wow’ deals on Asda’s website revealed that 11 of the items on sale had been at the same price for six months. Astonishingly, four items were actually more expensive than they had been before.
Asda removed the items after the BBC contacted them with its findings.
Tesco’s Big Price Drop – not so big after all
Tesco has already come under fire for its Big Price Drop campaign. An earlier Which? investigation found that prices were being raised then dropped ahead of its Big Price Drop. The BBC investigation backs this up, highlighting its medium whole roast chickens.
They rose from £4 to £5 for just over two months before the Big Price Drop, before dropping down again to £4.
And data we’ve received from supermarket comparison website mysupermarket.com shows that the majority of the 1.4% reduction in prices happened in the first week after the Big Price Drop. And mysupermarket.com also says that the scrapping of double Clubcard points on 24 October essentially meant an average 1% loss for customers.
In pounds and pence terms, on an average basket of 60 items, the average saving in the five weeks after the Big Price Drop was just £1.22. And, in fact, by the third week of the Big Price Drop prices were higher than the previous week.
Tipping the scales
When it came to comparing loose fruit and veg, there were also some strange inconsistencies. At Asda, three loose red onions cost 86p a kilo. Put them in a bag and they cost £2.85. Similarly, five looses bananas at Sainsbury’s cost 42p but buy them in a bag and you’ll pay £1.
Now... more expensive than it was before
Morrisons advertised bottles of fabric conditioner on offer for £2 each. However, they had been on sale for £1.65 two weeks before. Morrisons told the BBC that the product had been more expensive earlier in the year.
James Foord of mysupermarket.com said: “Looking at what our customers have been buying shows that, despite big claims and huge amounts of advertising, things are not always what they seem.
“With so many different promotions, deals and claims by all the retailers it's very confusing for the consumer to work out where the best deals truly are. We owe it to consumers to make is as easy as possible to cut through the marketing and show where the value really is.”
Compare prices on your supermarket shopping at mysupermarket.com
Have you found supermarkets playing fast and loose with their prices? Or do you think we benefit from the competition? Share your thoughts in the Comments box below.