Supermarkets ‘misleading’ customers?

supermarket prices

supermarket pricesNearly three-quarters (74%) of consumers believe that supermarkets are deliberately trying to mislead them by using confusing pricing practices, according to a survey by Which?.

The consumer group conducted a poll on 2,100 shoppers and also found that four-fifths (78%) said their weekly grocery bill had increased in the last 12 months to an average of £76.83.

In response to complaints from consumers that price tags are often inconsistent and hard to read, the watchdog has launched a campaign to make supermarkets adopt clearer unit pricing to allow shoppers to easily compare the value of similar products.

Not meeting criteria

Although current legislation requires retailers to provide both a selling price and a unit price for products, a spot check of each of the 10 leading supermarkets by Which? found none met the watchdog's best practice criteria - which was developed with Trading Standards and the Royal National Institute of Blind People for size and legibility of unit pricing.

The unit price is the price by weight or volume that allows shoppers to compare the true cost of products, even if they come in different sizes.

According to the standards, the recommended font size for unit prices tags is 5mm, while the unit price should not be less than 50% of the height of the selling price. There should be sufficient contrast between the print and background.

A total of 88% of respondents said they use unit pricing to help them work out which products and promotions are the best value for money.

On the other hand, of those who were aware of unit pricing but did not use it, 22% said it was because unit pricing was too small and hard to read.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "All food and drink should be clearly and consistently priced by weight or volume across all stores, including products which are on special offer.

"While there are some changes which supermarkets can make voluntarily, it's now time for the Government to change the law so that supermarkets 'price it right' across the board."

Best deal

With household budgets squeezed and food costs on the rise, it is no surprise to see that 91% of consumers say they shop around for the best supermarket deals.

As many as 82% even said they are buying more items from cheaper supermarkets when it comes to their food shop.

Remember, pounds saved at the supermarket can go a long way to boosting your family finances, so stay savvy and make the most of the latest offers and vouchers.