Asda Just Essentials

One shopper described the products in bright yellow packaging as “poverty markers”

Asda has defended its Just Essentials range after claims its packaging stigmatises shoppers battling the cost of living crisis.

The supermarket has faced criticism from some shoppers on social media for the “garish” yellow packaging featured on the products, which began hitting shelves in May to replace Asda’s former Smart Price range.

The Sun newspaper quoted one shopper as saying the products scream “we are poor”. Another said the bright colour suggested those on lower incomes should have a “basket full of poverty markers”.

Some Facebook users also criticised the range.

However, Asda has responded by highlighting a series of social media posts praising its new range. One wrote: “As long as your family is fed who cares what the packaging looks like. I’ve tried a fair bit. the beans are better than Heinz in my opinion and over £1 cheaper.”

An Asda spokesman said: “We don’t understand why anyone would feel embarrassed for saving money.

“We are delighted by how much our customers are loving the new Just Essentials range, as shown by the great response and how they continue to add Just Essentials products to their basket every time they shop.”

The Grocer first revealed the launch of the 300-product range in March, with products ranging from beans, bread, crisps and biscuits, as well as non food products such as washing-up liquid and powder.

Asda described it as a “bold” move to target price-sensitive customers but stressed it wanted to emphasise the quality as well as competitiveness of its range.

The supermarket said the range, which is 50% broader than its predecessor, would ensure families could access nutritious food no matter their budgets.

Paul Stainton, a partner at IPLC Europe, said he believed price competitiveness was more important than packaging, though he claimed Asda still had more to do to compete with the discounters.

“Although garish, I think it is good in the way it stands out and sort of demonstrates Asda’s commitment to low prices and value,” he said.

“However, Asda are still more expensive on some value tier products than other competitors. Last week’s Grocer 33 saw Asda hiking prices by 15.9% – the highest level of all.”

He said examples of where Asda’s budget range was more expensive than Aldi Everyday Essentials included baked beans, canned garden peas and potatoes.