Supermarket Pricing – Misleading & Confusing

soosie wales, thrifty thursday

Supermarket Pricing – Misleading and Confusing

In the news today it’s been reported that supermarket pricing is misleading and confusing. Deals are not necessarily the bargains we hoped for. After a 3 month study by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) they have concluded that supermarkets do bend the rules occasionally.

REALLY!!  it took them 3 months to find that out? Well No Shit Sherlock – we already know that the supermarket pricing is not always what it’s cracked up to be.

The CMA examined the prices of 150,000 products and found 800 that had misleading prices. Well to me that’s 800 too many!

We all know that supermarkets increase prices then reduce them to make special offers look better.
We all know that supermarkets try to confuse us on the ‘unit price’ using price ‘per 100g’ on one size of a product and ‘per 100ml’ on another size.
We all know that supermarkets price single items at one price but some multipacks can cost more for the equivalent single price.
We all know that supermarkets have shelf edge labels that mislead us. For example £1 each buy 2 for £2. These stupid pricing labels should be picked up by the member of staff adding it to the shelf!
We all know that supermarkets put offers on some products but don’t include the whole range of flavours but have them all on the same shelf!!
We all know that supermarkets say ‘it’s an online price’ if you query why an offer isn’t available instore, even when presented with a screen where it says NOTHING about it being an ‘online’ offer.. oh no you don’t matey, that’s your current price and I want it NOW!!
We all know that supermarkets are shrinking the size of packs rather than increase the price – they even shrink the pack size AND increase the price!
We all know that supermarkets change the recipe of products to save money on the ingredients. They hope you won’t notice but if you buy something regularly then you will.
We all know that supermarkets price single items at one price but multipacks can cost more.

supermarket pricing, labelling error, soosie wales

Stupid labelling – £2 each or 2 for £4!!

How do we, the savvy shoppers get around all this smoke and mirrors??

Use a site like My Supermarket to check the ongoing price of products. Just click on the item and it will show you a graph of the average price over the past 12 months.
Get your phone out and open the calculator (or use a calculator!!) and work out the ‘unit’ price for yourself.
Check pack sizes – is the larger / smaller one better value than the one on offer.
If you spot a ‘stupid’ shelf edge label remove it and take it the customer services desk and ask that it’s reviewed.
If they reduce only some flavours ask why, if the flavour not on offer is on the same shelf tell them that it’s misleading and demand that it’s included or made clearer what is on offer.
If you’ve checked the price at home and it’s not there instore challenge it! If a normal member of staff can’t help get a manager to come and sort it out. Show them the evidence and insist they give you the right price.
Shrinking sizes of packaging is something I think we’ll have to live with as long as they don’t increase the price too much. It’s a consequence of the recession. Smaller packs means prices can be kept down.
If they have changed the flavour and you don’t like it take it back if you can or keep the packaging and receipt and complain!
Some supermarkets like Asda have a ‘try me, love me’ policy and will refund the cost of any own brand item.

What else can we do?

Take pictures and post them on the supermarkets Facebook page or Twitter page asking them to comment on it.
Blog about it! I did when I saw a very misleading display in Tesco.
Make a fuss!!  Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury, Tesco et al.. I don’t care!

Come on supermarkets, stop treating your customers like idiots. Give us clearer, honest supermarket pricing that is not misleading and confusing.

If you’d like ideas on Savvy shopping click here to see my past posts.

What’s your view on Supermarket pricing?

Pop a comment below and let me know of your experience of supermarket pricing.


I write Thrifty Thursday posts to share my shopping views. These posts are NOT in conjunction with any other sites and any sites mentioned are purely ones that I personally use. I receive no payment from any site for Thrifty Thursday posts. 


  1. Alyssiarose

    I’ve personally never trusted supermarkets and I rarely buy in to their ‘deals’…

  2. Georgia

    I work for a well known supermarket & never buy into the deals unless it’s loo roll, that stuff is expensive.. haha

    1. Soosie (Post author)

      I work for one too. I still check deals everywhere. There are some products I wouldn’t buy unless on offer…and loo roll is one of them!

  3. chickenruby

    My mother is always picking up ‘bargains’ was £150 now £25, but that’s £25 more than she was planning to spend, I keep trying to tell her they only have to sell the product at an inflated price for 28 days in one store before they can drop the price. I saw the news this week with the Robins squash how they put the price up from £1 a bottle to £1.60 for 28 days so they could then sell 2 for £2.50 to fool you into thinking you have a bargain.


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