The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is launching a review into supermarket pricing to ensure that retailers are sticking to rules that help shoppers accurately compare products.

Man browsing in Iceland Supermarket

The CMA said it had started to review unit pricing, which shows how much a particular product costs by weight or volume, following concerns from consumers. 

The announcement came after grocery price inflation hit a record 16.7% in January, according to data from Kantar.

The watchdog said consumers shopping for food and other essential products “need confidence that they have the right information to make great choices and are getting fair deals”.

The review follows a study by Which? on supermarket pricing, which found that grocers are “letting shoppers down” with varying price discrepancies and missing labels. 

“We know that the increased cost of living has hit the pound in people’s pockets,” said CMA senior director for consumer protection George Lusty.

“That’s why we’re pressing on with this important grocery unit pricing work to ensure shoppers can more easily compare prices and make choices that are right for them.”

Which? head of food policy Sue Davies welcomed the move. She said: “Grocery prices are a huge concern as households all over the country grapple with the cost-of-living crisis, so it’s timely and important for the CMA to be looking at whether prices are clearly and fairly displayed at the supermarket.

“We know poor, inconsistent and sometimes missing price information is a problem and that’s why Which? is campaigning for pricing transparency from supermarkets, so that shoppers can easily work out which products are the best value.”

The review follows a 2015 super-complaint, in which the CMA first examined pricing in supermarkets and found that complexities and inconsistencies with unit pricing and promotions prevented shoppers from finding the best value.