Which? has called on Government to change the law to prevent the major grocers misleading shoppers on price.
New research carried out by Which? has revealed that 74% of consumers feel that the grocers are trying to mislead them by using confusing pricing practices ahead of its new ‘Price it Right’ campaign.
The majority of shoppers (78%) say their weekly household grocery bill has increased in the past 12 months, spending an average £76.83 per week. More than 90% are shopping around for the best deal and 82% are buying more groceries from cheaper supermarkets.
Morrisons, which has been consulting with Which on the study, responded by introducing a new pricing policy that chief executive Dalton Philips said would restore “trust” in the grocer so they can easily compare prices.
Under current legislation, retailers are required to provide both a selling price and a unit price for food. The unit price is the price by weight or volume that allows shoppers to compare the true cost of products, even if they come in different sizes.
Morrisons said it will introduce new shelf edge labels with a larger unit price which will allow customers to see the price and the size of the product more easily.
Morrisons said it will also bring in more consistent unit pricing across the store so customers can make clear comparisons and clearer unit prices on items that are on promotion so that customers can compare deals with standard prices.
The changes will start now and finish rolling-out by the end of 2013, the grocer said. Some 30,000 prices will have to be changed in the average store and in the case of pre-packed food some manufacturing processes will have to be changed and this will take time.
Philips said: “For too long, retailers have not given customers enough information to easily compare prices. By doing this we believe we can restore trust in supermarket prices.”
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “With household budgets squeezed and rising food costs among the top worries for consumers, it’s all the more important that stores make it as easy as possible for people to spot the best value products.
“All food and drink should be clearly and consistently priced by weight or volume across all stores, including products which are on special offer. While there are some changes which supermarkets can make voluntarily, it’s now time for the Government to change the law so that supermarkets ‘Price it Right’ across the board.”