We’re calling for supermarkets to Price it Right. To show how complex some unit price comparisons can be, we created our own supermarket to put shoppers to the test. Could they work out the best value?
For one night only, we turned a stately conference room into our very own Which? supermarket. Wood panelling and smart portraits adorned the walls, but our bright red supermarket shelves packed with ‘Price it Right’ emblazoned food stole the show.
We gathered together shoppers from across the UK and representatives from some of the major food retailers to talk about supermarket unit pricing and how it could be improved. Our very own executive director, Richard Lloyd, kicked off the debate and set a challenge for our guests…
But I’m getting carried away. If you haven’t read any of our previous Conversations about this topic, you might be wondering what unit prices are. A unit price is the price of food displayed using a consistent measure, such as per litre or kilo. At the moment, it’s harder than it should be for shoppers to make informed choices because this information isn’t always consistent or easy to see.
We know that food prices are a big concern for people. We believe it should be straightforward for shoppers to compare the price of food. Our gallery shows examples of poor unit pricing that we’ve found in our research.
The Which? supermarket sweep
So what was Richard’s challenge? Well, we gave each team a basket and a shopping list, and asked them to scour the Which? supermarket for the best value items. You can see how they got on in our video:
Our shoppers relished the challenge, but they were frustrated by the difficulties they encountered when trying to find the best value bananas, tomato ketchup and chocolate bars. One of the shoppers said:
‘Normally you’d just be attracted by what looks like the cheapest, it’s only then sometimes when you look at it more closely that it’s not quite the deal it’s making itself out to be and that’s what I find frustrating. If it’s a deal, tell me it’s a deal, don’t try and trick me.’
Morrisons and Sainsbury’s are pricing it right
Before we launched our Price it Right campaign, all of the major ten retailers were displaying unit prices in ways that made it difficult for shoppers to compare products and find the best price.
Recently, Morrisons has started rolling out new labels for its shelves, making prices much easier to compare. And it’s not just Morrisons – Sainsbury’s is also rolling out new labels to help customers shop for fruit and veg without needing a calculator. There are some examples of their new labels on the left.
It’s brilliant that Morrisons and Sainsbury’s are bringing new, clearer shelf labels to their customers. We want every supermarket to do the same.
Have you spotted any confusing pricing labels in your local supermarket? If you shop at Morrisons or Sainsbury’s, have you noticed their new shelf price labels?