Both Waitrose and the Co-op are set to cut prices on products by up to 15% this week as the supermarkets prepare to fight it out for customers in a value-dominated market. 

From today, Waitrose will lower prices on more than 200 of its basic own-label products by an average of more than 15%, while the Co-op will invest £50m in lowering prices across 300 essential products, according to The Guardian

The convenience store specialist will also be unveiling 59 “Honest Value” items, including British meat, soft drinks, fruit and vegetables.

This move by the Co-op follows a promise from group chief executive Steve Murrells that it would look to invest in price to stay competitive. 

Both Waitrose and the Co-op are taking action in response to bigger rivals who effectively fired the starting gun on a new price war in the summer. 

In June, Tesco extended its Aldi price match guarantee to more than 500 products. In the time since, Sainsbury’s has made price cuts across more than 1,000 lines, Asda has committed £100m to investing in price and Morrisons unveiled 23% cuts to the cost of some 400 lines. 

With the ravages of the coronavirus having plunged the UK into recession, the supermarkets are keen to ensure that the discounters Aldi and Lidl don’t further increase their collective market shares, as they did during the global financial crisis a decade or so ago. 

Supermarket chains are also concerned by what effect the government’s restrictions on gatherings will have on customer spending during Christmas, particularly with the furlough scheme coming to an end and gathering uncertainty around Brexit.