Rules on price comparisons in advertising have been relaxed, allowing retailers to compare prices on a wider range of products.

New rules released today by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) will allow advertisers to compare products that may not be identical, but nonetheless meet the same need or intended purpose.

Advertisers were previously required to compare prices with a competitor for an identical or substantially equivalent product, which prevented certain price comparison claims that may have benefited consumers.

The ruling is likely to be welcomed by grocers who frequently use price comparison adverts to promote their value credentials compared with their rivals.

The CAP said the new ruling could allow grocers to compare the price of, for example, non-branded baked beans with a competitor’s price for premium branded baked beans. It added: “However, it remains the case that advertisers must make the basis of their comparison clear.”

The CAP said the change to the rules, which take immediate effect, will benefit both consumers and advertisers by allowing a broader range of comparative claims to be made, while retaining robust protection in the codes to prevent misleading advertising.