Aldi and UK retailers The Co-operative Group and Waitrose have signed up to a campaign run by consumer watchdog Which? to support simpler, clearer and more consistent pricing in supermarkets in the country.
The three retailers have joined Morrisons, which signed up to the ‘Price it Right’ campaign when it launched in September last year. The campaign aims to improve food labels in stores to help shoppers compare the price of products more easily.
“Hard-pressed shoppers want to know at a glance what the cheapest deal is without having to get their calculators out, so it’s a win for consumers that four major supermarkets have committed to improving their labels,” said Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd. “The remaining supermarkets should now follow suit, and listen to the thousands of people that have backed the Which? campaign.”
In the longer term, Lloyd said Which? wants the Government to simplify pricing legislation so that retailers and manufacturers can make food prices “even easier to compare”.
The voluntary commitment includes displaying a consistent unit price by using the same unit measurement, including the unit price of food items on promotion, and making sure unit pricing labels are clearly visible.
Morrisons has already introduced new labels in many of its stores, while Sainsbury’s has been working on transparent pricing over the last 18 months. Lidl and Tesco are also making “active steps” towards simpler pricing. Which? said.
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Asda has said it will look at improving its labelling but Iceland Foods and Marks and Spencer have still yet to take any action, the consumer group said.
A spokesperson for Iceland said it already prides itself on the “clarity and transparency” of its pricing, and on the “exceptional value” it offers its customers.
“We pioneered the introduction of “round sum” pricing in UK food retailing and today 70% of what we sell, whether under our own brand or manufacturers’ brands, is clearly priced in multiples of £1 or 50p. We fully comply with all relevant legislation and have seen no evidence of customer demand for us to complicate our price and value message by introducing unit pricing on the lines that Which? is campaigning for.”
Marks and Spencer did not return a request for comment.
Business Secretary Vince Cable welcomed the move. “Clearer prices and promotions will be a big help for consumers who want to be more savvy and work out how to save more on their weekly shop. In addition, more transparency will boost competition and help support a stronger economy.”