Supermarket price promises under the microscope

A new Which? investigation reveals that supermarket price match schemes differ greatly, meaning it can be hard to tell which supermarket is cheapest.

We analysed shopping trips made to Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco who all run price match schemes.

In the majority of cases the supermarket visited claimed to be cheaper than its rivals however each supermarket calculates its price match schemes in different ways so we believe these claims should be taken with a pinch of salt.

We analysed the till receipts of 19 Asda shopping trips, 20 Tesco shops and 20 Sainsbury’s shops. For each shop, we checked the prices with the supermarket’s own online price match. Asda was the cheapest on the most occasions (17 out of 19) according to its “Price Guarantee”, Sainsbury’s was cheaper than Asda and Tesco for 10 of the visits, and joint cheapest for another two, according to its “Brand Match”. For Tesco, it was cheaper than Asda and Sainsbury’s for 10 of the 20 visits according to its “Price Promise”.

Rising food prices are consistently one of the top financial worries for consumers. Our latest consumer research shows only three in 10 (30%) say they trust supermarkets to charge a fair price for food.

Seven in 10 (71%) shoppers say price is one of the most important factors when shopping for food meaning supermarket price-matching schemes can be an attractive incentive. However, for the 59 shopping trips we analysed, the vouchers our shoppers received offered an average discount of just £1.45.


Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

“Supermarket price-matching schemes can save you money but we believe they should be taken with a pinch of salt because they are difficult to compare.

“At a time when consumers are facing a squeeze on their household incomes, we want all the supermarkets to do whatever they can to help consumers find the best deal.”


Notes for editors:

1. Populus, on behalf of Which?, surveyed 2,028 GB adults, of which 1,969 were grocery shoppers, online between 28 and 30 June 2013. Data were weighted to be representative of the GB population. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

2. Price matching schemes compared, full article here.

We weren’t able to do a close analysis of Ocado’s price-matching scheme as it doesn’t provide a breakdown of what was and wasn’t included on its website.


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