Who? said budget own-brand items ran out of stock three times more often than in 2020, with own-brand cheese being the most affected. However, some supermarkets had frozen the prices of certain products to mitigate inflation.
The report also indicates that supermarkets offered fewer discounts and promotions in all popular grocery categories. He also said many manufacturers have reduced product sizes while charging the same price in a process called “shrinkflation”.
A multipack of Walkers classic variety crisps was reduced from 24 bags to 22 at Tesco, Asda and Morrisons last autumn, but its price has remained the same.
Similarly, the contents of a Nescafé Azera Americano decaffeinated instant coffee dropped from 100g to 90g at Tesco in February while its price remained at £5.49. “This is an effective price increase for buyers of 11pc per 100g”, Which? mentioned.
Which ? the analysis looked at more than 21,000 races between December 2021 and February 2022 at their equivalent two years prior.
Sue Davies, Whose?, has slammed supermarkets for ‘inconsistent’ and ‘confusing’ pricing, urging retailers to be ‘more upfront’ about the costs of their products and provide clear unit prices – such as cost per 100 g or 100ml – while ensuring budget items are readily available.
“During an unrelenting cost of living crisis, consumers should be able to easily choose the best value product without worrying about price drops or budget limitations at their local store,” she said.