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What is the truth about supermarket price wars?


With the Grocery market now growing at its slowest rate since 2005, it is rumoured that a “supermarket price war” has been declared. But should consumers really be getting excited?  We have had so many fake supermarket price wars in recent years how can we even tell if this will cut the cost of your weekly shop.


Characterised by repeated cutting of prices below those of competitors, supermarkets often use this to increase their revenue in the short term. However, most supermarket chains are investor lead, and the powers that be fear a price war will slash industry profits.


But are these great offers all they seem? Most people will agree that their average trip to the supermarket does cost more these days. It may surprise you that the average price cut advertised on TV can be often as little as 1 penny and that this price flexing is damaging how customers really understand the concept of great value.


Its worth noting that the Office of National Statistics has said that food prices have only increased by 0.02 per cent over the last 12 months.


The biggest faux of the current supermarket pricing is the money back price guarantee, an offer where if any branded items in store could be found cheaper elsewhere, the money is refunded in vouchers.  This really is an easy promise as the top branded food lines actually all cost pretty much the same where ever you buy them, however customers are attracted by this.


So where does your high street grocer and butcher stand in all this?


We compared prices from the website with the best priced equivalent from the supermarket, and found that the high street grocer and butcher was averagely 1/3 cheaper than the supermarkets on many products. What is important is that we do not undermine the value of the products that local farmers, growers, butchers, and fish mongers produce. It’s very difficult to compare the high quality, great value cuts of meat we find in our local butcher, or the organic veg at our local green grocer with what we find on the supermarket shelves.


It could be determined that any price war is actually a well oiled well engineered marketing ploy to make customers think that supermarkets are slashing prices.  My advice is; look to your high street, and your local shops, you’ll often find that your local shop keeper knows best.


Finally, watch out for a new channel 4 documentary ‘Shop Secrets’ which will be investigating the situation and the many tricks that supermarkets legitimately use to dupe shoppers that they are getting great value.

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