Scrapping cut-price supermarket alcohol would mean families paying less for their groceries, according to a report in the the journal Clinical Medicine.

Dr Chris Record says that setting a minimum price would reduce alcohol sales and force supermarkets to switch price promotions to other products.

He says that while harmful and hazardous drinkers would pay more, the effect across the board would be a reduction in average weekly supermarket bills for the majority.

He says: “A minimum price of 50p per unit should largely remove the sale of alcohol as a means by which supermarkets attract customers.

“It is hoped that retailers will respond to this change by introducing price promotions on health foods, such as fruit and vegetables, which would benefit most families financially and lead to an improvement in the nation’s health.”

The British Retail Consortium has hit back at the report and said that introducing minimum pricing would simply force up the price for the majority of people who buy alcohol weekly and consume it responsibly with their family.

BRC food director Andrew Opie said: “It’s wrong to assume that only problem drinkers buy value goods. Minimum pricing simply penalises ordinary shoppers, such as families looking for value, who buy alcohol as part of their weekly shop and consume it responsibly with their family and friends. Without a comprehensive strategy excessive drinkers will just find the money to buy more expensive alcohol without changing their behaviour.

“The price of alcohol is not the issue – it’s the person consuming it. Retailers are working closely with the Department of Health to promote responsible alcohol consumption and already provide on-pack unit labelling to help customers make more informed choices.

Dr Record, a liver specialist at Newcastle University, reports that alcohol discounting is “universal” in UK supermarkets, and that 80% of alcohol purchases are made by 30% of the population.