We looked at 115 products, comparing 300,000 prices, and found that multibuy special offers aren’t always as good a deal as they seem. Are they just a supermarket tactic to sell you more than you need?
We looked at online shopping promotions at Asda, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. We found that some multibuys wouldn’t save you any money at all. And overall, there often wasn’t a lot of difference between the multibuy and standard prices.
We also found a range of multibuys that were just plain daft. To give you one example, we found a pack of four tins of Heinz soup for £2.99 next to individual tins on multibuy for 80p each or four tins for £3.
You’re not sold on multibuys
Last time we wrote about multibuys here on Which? Conversation, you had strong views on the subject. Edward Crooks has been put off multibuys for life:
‘I used to buy a particular brand of paté from a well-known supermarket. It went missing from the shelves for about a week. When I saw it next the price had jumped from 59p to 85p for the same pack. Several weeks later it was on offer(!) at two packs for £1.50. I have never even looked at a multi offer again.’
Craig even thinks multibuys should be banned:
‘BOGOFs and multibuys should be curtailed or outright banned (as in other countries) because they are so wasteful, and unfair (and make my brain hurt when I try to work them out!).’
And it’s a debate that won’t be going away anytime soon. We’ve found that multibuys could be on the increase; the 115 products we looked at were on offer for a greater amount of time in the first half of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.
Multibuys can cause multi-headaches
Not all the examples were straightforward price rises, but we still felt they could be misleading. Sometimes supermarkets yo-yo between multibuys and discounts. This means that a discounted product increases in price as it goes into a multibuy offer and is then discounted when the multibuy offer has finished.
In Asda, we found that Goodfella’s Deep Pan Baked Pepperoni Pizza more than doubled in price when it was on multibuy. The pizza’s original price was generally £1. On offer, its price increased to £2.68/£2.50 for one or £4.50 for two.
But this means that if you always take ‘advantage’ of the offer (multibuy or discount), the product nearly always costs the same. Some of the products we looked at did this for most of the year, rendering the ‘normal’ price pretty redundant. Over 365 days, Tesco and Sainsbury’s sold Nestle Munch Bunch Yogurt (4x100g) for either £1 on discount or two-for-£2 on multibuy. Whether you buy the product ‘on offer’ or not, the yogurts still cost around £1 a pack.
Do you believe that multibuys are worth stocking up on, or are you fed up of the sight of them?