Did you catch last night’s Supermarket Wars documentary on Dispatches? Presenter Harry Wallop explored how the supermarkets compete on price, meet our online demands and use special offers to lure us in…
The show covered a breadth of issues, including the reliance of special offers to reel us in – hook, line and sinker! Now, the trouble is, all too often these offers aren’t quite as special as they seem. Our head of campaigns, Alex Neill, told Dispatches viewers:
‘We’ve found lots of the big supermarkets are routinely giving offers that aren’t special and are misleading. That’s why we’re saying to the Government, if the supermarkets aren’t going to stop doing this then they need to step in and make the rules much clearer and tougher and Trading Standards need to enforce those rules.’
In our latest research, we found Muller Corner yoghurts available for £2 per pack in Asda before being included in a ‘two for £5’ offer (or £3.88 for one).
Not so special offers
We offered Asda the chance to respond to this and the supermarket said:
‘We would never deliberately mislead our customers. Our aim is to simply have the lowest prices for the longest.’
While some offers seem dubious compared to their non-offer price, a number of others are a bit barmy. During the show a number of you shared your examples on Twitter using #SupermarketWars. Tony found an offer where the original price was cheaper than the special offer:
— Tony Freebody (@TonyFreebody) July 28, 2014
Savvy shoppers go the distance
The show also featured some impressive shopping strategies as people shared how they go the extra mile, sometimes literally, by visiting a range of supermarket for the best deals:
— Peter Abatan (@manbatan) July 28, 2014
I personally alternate between two online supermarkets – one for basics, one for fresh produce – but don’t think I have the discipline to go to these lengths. And as Patrick flagged, we have to weigh up the efforts involved in this strategy:
#SupermarketWars what about the time it takes to go from supermarket to supermarket. U have to factor in the value of that.
— Patrick (@kevillepatrick1) July 28, 2014
Did you see the programme last night? Have you been inspired to shape up your shopping habits to respond to demands on your finances, health or time?