Seven mini bananas will cost you 99p for the bunch (or 14.1p each). Loose bananas cost 68p per kg. From this information, can you work out what’s cheapest to buy? Welcome to world of confusing supermarket unit pricing.
With a busy job and excitable children, a visit to the supermarket needs to be a simple and speedy affair.
I don’t have the time to pore over supermarket shelves to work out the best price for my purchases.
Unit pricing is a great idea in theory. It’s a useful tool for people to compare food prices and choose the best value product.
But our research shows unclear and inconsistent use of unit prices in supermarkets is preventing cash-strapped consumers from being able to work out which products are cheapest.
We sent our supermarket shoppers on a mission to visit all the major supermarkets at a number of locations across the UK to see the extent of the problem.
Their research highlighted some interesting issues – for a start, unit pricing was sometimes being used by referencing the quantity and sometimes the weight. What’s more, they were often not being shown for multi-buys or promotions and some pricing was too small to read – or non-existent.
Along with the banana example we found red peppers in 500g packs on sale for £2.09 or £4.18 per kg next to packs of three mixed peppers priced at £1.65 or 56p each. Confused? Don’t worry, so am I. These are just a couple of examples we found – see more in our gallery (for further information about each image, visit our Flickr page):
Clear, consistent food pricing
Which? wants clear, consistent food pricing where the unit price is prominent and easy to read. We also want consistency in the units used on all products and for multi-buys and promotions to show the unit price.
Is unit pricing a bugbear of yours? We’re going to up the pressure on government and retailers in the coming months to simplify unit pricing for you.
If you feel strongly about the issue we’d love your views or examples of confusing unit pricing. If you’ve caught the issues on camera, tweet us your photo or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll add the best of the bunch to our online gallery.