The UK’s top ten supermarkets have received a glowing commendation from the consumer minister, Jo Swinson, for improving the clarity of their prices and making it simpler for consumers to shop. This comes just a month after consumer watchdog Which? accused them of “dodgy discounts and misleading multibuys.”
Ms Swinson visited a London branch of Sainsburys yesterday (December 4th). Speaking of the top ten supermarkets in the country, she said: “It is great that they have committed to greater consistency and clearer labels.
“We will now look at the current legislation to see if it’s preventing supermarkets from making further improvements.”
Her comments follow a meeting in May that urged retailers to improve the clarity and consistency of their pricing. Swinson added that she had long campaigned for supermarkets to display clear and simple pricing information to consumers.
Ms Swinson added: “It can be hard for households to work out the best deal when food is sometimes priced individually – like a mince pie – or soups and sauces which can be priced by both the gram and millilitre.”
Approximately £74 billion will be spent in the UK’s ten largest supermarkets this year, this makes up, roughly, around half of the market. Ms Swinson believes that by providing clear and simple prices shopping becomes a “win-win situation” as the supermarkets continue to make profits while the consumer is given a fair way to understand the prices that they are paying.
The comments from the consumer minister are in stark contrast to the report that consumer watchdog Which? released last month. They analysed over 70,000 grocery prices and found many examples of multibuys that cost consumers more and “dodgy discounts” where the offer ran for much longer than the item was at the higher price.
Mike Coupe, Sainsburys group commercial director, said: “It’s part of our aim to make things simpler for customers. We hope that other retailers will follow our lead on this important issue.”
According to the government, all of the ten major supermarkets are now committed to making sure that unit pricing is consistent across brands and within their own brands, when it is within their control. The government is also calling on the manufacturers of brands to follow the lead of these supermarkets and take a consistent approach to measurements on labels