Asda has today launched its biggest price rollback for a decade and has launched a campaign which claims to rid the industry of “phoney price claims”.

Throughout January, the Walmart-owned grocer has reduced the price of 3,600 products and cupboard stables including potatoes, carrots, bananas, milk, cheese and bread. The majority of cuts will last for between six to 12 weeks. The average price of the product will be rolled back by 13%.

The grocer claims it is the breadth of cuts which makes it the biggest rollback for more than 10 years, with one in five products across the store rolled back.

Asda’s customer research found shoppers were looking for more permanent price cuts, not short-term promotions. The research said they actually “want to buy each and every week” rather than “phoney half price deals” or “bogus Bogofs”. Darren Blackhurst, Asda’s chief merchandising officer said: “People are sick and tired of being tricked and deceived by dodgy claims and bogus BOGOFs. Unlike our rivals we’re lowering prices on a more permanent basis on the products people want to buy not just products we want to sell them. We also want people to check our prices every time they shop. In fact we love it when they do, as all the independent price checkers show that Asda has more low prices than any other supermarket. 

“That’s why we’ve launched our three point checklist for the new decade which we’re calling on other stores to adopt. If they don’t, the industry risks being tarred with the same brush as the banks.” 

Last week rival Tesco revealed its bumper price cuts, claiming to save customers more than £280m starting this week with 12,000 special offers on popular grocery items. It said the New Year savings will save the average shopper £7.56 compared to the same time last year on a basket of everyday products including bananas, tea, beer, meat and fish.

Asda’s three point checklist is – you shouldn’t have to pay more depending on where you like; don’t fall for gimmicky price claims; and don’t trust ‘buy one get one free’ offers – always ask what the starting price used to be, as the price may have been inflated.

According to Asda’s Pulse of the Nation panel, customers are this month spending more time eating and entertaining at home, and they want help with lowering the cost of packed lunches. They also want to eat more healthily after the Christmas splurge. Rick Bendel, Asda’s chief marketing officer said: “Our customers told us loud and clear what they wanted us to include in this rollback. But they have diverse needs, which is why this is our biggest campaign for a decade, on the widest range of products.

“They hate it when items are on a short-term promotion aren’t available when they need them. Instead they want to see more permanent reductions that deliver on our promise to have low prices every day, and every week of the year. 

“Some customers also told us they were worried about prices going up due to VAT but as these cuts show our pricing plans for 2010 already far exceed the impact of any VAT increases.”