Chocolate pricing

Discount grocer Aldi secures $4.80 cheese blocks in plastic security cages to deter shoplifting amid cost of living crisis

  • A photo shared on Twitter appears to show a UK Aldi store using security labels on blocks of cheese.
  • Other items spotted in supermarkets with security labels include butter, chocolate and toothpaste.

Discount retailer Aldi appears to be putting security tags on blocks of cheese to deter theft at a store in England’s Midlands.

A photo shared on Twitter showed blocks of white cheddar cheese from Aldi’s Essentials range with labels, which the user said were taken at a store in Wolverhampton, just north of Birmingham.

The cheese was priced at £3.99 ($4.76) for a 900 gram (32 ounce) block. Insider was unable to independently verify the use of security tags, and Aldi did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Another Twitter user posted an image of £6 ($7.14) jars of Lurpak butter with security stickers at an Asda store in Elswick, Newcastle.

“Generally Asda has not started labeling this product, individual stores can add labels to products they may have noticed are missing,” an Asda spokesperson told Insider. “We have no data to suggest it is stolen more than anything else or more than it has been in the past.”

“We certainly don’t see this as a change in customer behavior or a side effect of inflation, only one store probably had some of this product stolen recently and decided to put tags on the rest to s to make sure they don’t get robbed either,” the spokesperson added.

A Sainsbury’s that Insider visited in London had security stickers on a wide range of items. These included many medical, health care and beauty products, such as hay fever tablets, disposable masks, plasters, mouthwashes, hair wax and toothpaste, as well as Cadburys and Lindt chocolate bars.

“To maintain favorable prices, these products have been protected by a security device,” said a sign in the store. Sainsbury’s did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

It is normal for high value items including alcohol, video games, meat and batteries to come with security tags or cases. But they are rarely used for everyday products.

This comes amid a period of runaway inflation, which is expected to trigger an increase in retail theft. A store manager told a UK industry publication The grocer that more shoplifters were targeting lower-priced everyday items, while another said an elderly customer tried to steal shampoo and washing powder.

“We have seen this before in previous periods of austerity or economic downturns,” Sinéad Furey, a senior lecturer at the University of Ulster, told the publication.

The price of food and non-alcoholic beverages rose 8.7% in the year to May 2022, according to the UK Office for National Statistics – and increased by 1.5% between April and May alone.