Tesco has been foiled for apparently raising prices on certain items just before reducing them for a price promotion. So are ‘price checks’ helpful in keeping shopping costs down or do you say BOGOF to it all?
I’m all for cost-cutting incentives that can help me shave some pennies off my weekly food shop. I successfully managed to bag a voucher worth the grand total of £1.08 when trying out Asda’s 10% cheaper price guarantee for Which? Convo.
But are the headline-hogging antics of the likes of Asda and Tesco – which hit back with its own price check scheme this month – softening the blow of the rather less PR-friendly rumour that our supermarkets are unreasonably raising prices?
Food prices up and up…
It’s no secret that the cost of food has been going up. But it’s the rate at which food prices in Britain are rising that’s surprising, prompting suggestions that the supermarkets’ are raising prices excessively.
Official figures from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) indicate that food prices in Britain are rising around three times as fast as the rest of Europe.
A separate report by bank UBS examined food pricing trends across a handful of developed nations. The UK, it says, stands out with ‘significantly more consumer food price inflation than elsewhere’ – more than might be reasonably justified by the global pattern of rising food costs, or a weaker pound.
Who took the ‘special’ out of special offers?
So are the supermarkets fuelling food costs with over-the-odds price increases? They would probably argue that in-store discounts, BOGOF offers and price guarantee incentives – which aren’t counted in inflation calculations – are helping their customers get more for their money than the stats suggest.
But food trade publication The Grocer recently found Tesco apparently tinkering with ‘before and after’ prices on a number of products. ‘Tesco said it had reduced the price of its Finest traditional pork sausages 454g from £2.79 to £2.58,’ reported The Grocer. ‘The retailer had been charging £2.59 for this line as recently as 10 January. ‘
And Asda was rapped by advertising watchdog the ASA in February for ‘misleading’ price claims it made while promoting its original price guarantee initiative.
Neither of which fill you confidence that we’re truly being given a good deal.
Is it possible to work the system?
It seems that if you’re prepared to invest a bit of effort in bothering to use these schemes – and then working them to your advantage – there are savings to be made.
Which? Conversation commenter Buyer received a £6.68 voucher after buying just five items using Tesco’s price check, getting double the difference back because the goods were cheaper at Asda. That sounds like shopping research time well spent to me.
Do you feel like you’re getting a good deal, or being ripped off, by your supermarket? Do price guarantee schemes compensate for rising food prices, or are they just clever trickery by supermarkets?