Morrison First To Remedy Cryptic Pricing

07:26 Thursday 6th September 2012
The Bigger Breakfast
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: Do you ever suspect that your local supermarket is trying to be a bit sharp on prices, especially on things like pre-packaged fruits and vegetables? Well you’re not alone, are you Tony Bonsignore?
TONY BONSIGNORE: You’re not. It’s a problem apparently. And it’s a big problem. We can’t see it. Do you know what unit pricing is Paul?
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. But they .. I always look at the prices, but then they change it don’t they? You look at the tomatoes, and it will be priced per 100 grams, then you look at the carrots and it’s priced per kilo. Then you have to work it all out, and you can’t be bothered.
TONY BONSIGNORE: Yes, exactly. And that is exactly one of the things that Which, the consumer body Which, today, looking at this.
PAUL STAINTON: I’m on it Tony. I’m on it, aren’t I?
TONY BONSIGNORE: Yes. And they say that is one of the problems apparently. Number one, it’s not consistent. It’s a big problem when you come to things like muli-buys as well. How do you compare a BOGOFF with a normal priced item? And also a big problem apparently on unit pricing is the size of the unit price as well. So sometimes it’s very very small lettering. For those of us without twenty twenty eye sight you have to go right up to the label to actually see what it is, and that makes it difficult to compare. Which has surveyed just over 2,000 people. Three quarters of them, it reckons, believe that supermarkets are trying to dupe them. And it’s started a campaign to try and make supermarkets be clearer about this unit pricing thing.
PAUL STAINTON: So what can we do? Make them price it on a certain weight ratio, or if they’ve got to price it in kilogrammes?. Have they got to price it in 100 grammes?
TONY BONSIGNORE: This is what Which would like to see. They’d like to see a number of things, but they would like to see some consistency on exactly what you’ve talked about there. So why not make it, say everybody has to do per kilogramme, rather than 100 grammes. Make it consistent. And they say include all those special offers in. Because quite a lot of the stuff you buy in the supermarket now is on some sort of special offer. They say so be consistent, and this other big thing as well, make it clearer. Make the font bigger. Make there more of a contrast between the letters and the background, ao those of us without perfect eye sight, we can take that information in easily, and so we can shop a bit better.
PAUL STAINTON: Supermarkets must be ecstatic at this.
TONY BONSIGNORE: They’re absolutely over the moon. (THEY LAUGH) Well one is. Morrisons has got in on it, and they say they’re going to change all their labelling, and they’re going to do all of this. So they are the only big supermarket who say they’re going to change this. The rest of them, no. They say they haven’t done anything wrong. The British Retail Consortium, the body that represents all the supermarkets, it insists that pricing is clear, and there’s nothing to be done.