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Grocers called by Government to explain pricing


Leading UK supermarkets have been called on by the Government to explain inconsistent and misleading pricing on food and drinks products, it has emerged.

Widespread use of “unit prices” has confused cash-conscious shoppers, according to Consumer Affairs Minister Jo Swinson, and as such 10 of the UK’s top supermarkets are to meet ministers at the Department of Business later today to justify their strategies.

According to The Guardian, Swinson will question attendees over inconsistencies such as no unit pricing on promoted items and other unclear policies after consumer group Which? called on MPs last year to amend complex legislation which allowed grocers to continue the practice.

By law, food retailers must provide both a selling price and unit price on food and drink products , as the unit price allows consumers to more accurately compare the real cost of goods, irrespective of size.

A Which? survey undertaken last year found that 88 per cent of consumers found this system useful in determining best value for money, though 22 per cent did not use it as the information was too small and difficult to read.

Supermarket Morrisons has been praised by the group for its commitment to ensuring fair pricing after re-labelling products in a clearer style and the grocer is to attend the meeting with Swinson later today.

Head of Government Affairs at Morrisons Guy Mason welcomed the move, telling the newspaper: “This is an issue of growing importance which has come to light because of the professional way consumers shop.

“They need to know exactly what they are spending their money on and our own research shows that customers make a choice within three seconds of reading a label.

“We have begun to make changes already and so welcome the move by the Government to highlight good practice and to come up with a fairer, more transparent system.”

Published on Tuesday 21 May by Editorial Assistant

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