Supermarkets- how low can they go?

This post looks at one of my pet peeves- the supermarket price war. It always frustrates me how the majority of advertising campaigns for supermarkets, reduce consumer interest and choice down to price alone. While I agree that price is an important factor in purhasing decisions, multiple other factors exist that determine whether a customer shops in supermarket A or B; and I wish that adverts would reflect this.

I find the “we do it cheaper” argument unimaginative and frankly poor. Surely, supermarket giants like Tesco and Asda, can withhold public support without resorting to lowering their competitors and at the same time demeaning consumers as labelled bargain-grabbing shoppers/pound-savers. Moreover, as this Daily Mail article (not usually the most reliable of sources, but totally in agreement here) suggests- the price war has become farcical as many better value claims do not hold true; and dishonesty, in my mind, does not becometh a supermarket. As a BBC Watchdog report discovered-

“30 cases in recent days where Asda ‘rollback’ prices had actually gone up, rather than down.

These included multi-packs of Diet Coke at £3.75, which were up from £3; Kellogg’s Special K Oats & Honey at £2.99, which were up from £2.07.

Programme researchers bought a multi-pack of Robinson’s Fruit Shoots at £2.89, which was up from £2.76; and Aquafresh Extra toothpaste, which was up from £2.90 to £2.98.

Tesco was found selling its own-brand ‘Bigger Pack Better Value Ready to Serve Custard’ at 99p per kilo. However, smaller packs of the same product worked out cheaper at 87p per kilo.”

Furthermore, Sainsbury’s is also vying for the position of the ‘cheapest’ of the big four supermarkets by fixing its tills at 18 of its stores to match rivals’ prices– all in an aggressive attempt to gain consumer loyalty. However, I believe that this ‘loyalty’ comes at a price-

1) Firstly, it is likely to be short term as continuous price reductions are unsustainable in the current finanical climate and increasingly difficult to attain with the producer and supplier. A recent example is the ‘milk war’ in Australia as supermarket price-cuts have resulted in job losses and reduced profits in the dairy sector.

2) Secondly, the “cheap card” can only be played so many times as consumers will begin looking for other benefits for shopping at a certain shop- such as product quality or customer service, as ultimately the price-war gets boring.

3) Finally, with all the supermarkets going for cheap, surely the choice of where to go gets even harder.. if Tesco says it is cheaper than Asda, who says it is better value than Sainsbury’s, who has more discounts than Morrison, who has the most daily deals, then who is offering the best deal?! It all gets a little tricky, so I’d rather supermarkets were trying to be the best, rather than the cheapest, anyday- and that way, they might be able to stand out that much more.

Just low prices. Enough said.


An advert by Tesco recently banned by ASA after complaints by Asda

The one-pound deal.. worth it?

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