Asda has upped the stakes in the banana price war by slashing prices by 18% to 55p/kg the lowest since last November.

The move by Asda was matched almost immediately by Tesco, which on Thursday cut its price to 55p, and Morrisons, which reduced the price of its loose bananas to the same on Friday. As The Grocer went to press, Sainsbury's had not confirmed if it, too, would lower its price, but it has matched Asda's cuts on previous occasions and is expected to do so this time around.

This is the fourth time Asda has cut its banana price in the past two months. Loose bananas are now 42.3% cheaper at Asda than they were at the end of July, and 23p cheaper than its packaged basic-tier Smart Price bananas.

The supermarket kicked off a price war on staples at the end of July, when it announced a range of price reductions on 'core essentials' such as milk, bread and bananas. The move was part of its pledge to stop selling alcohol below cost, it said, as it promised to offer customers discounts in other areas.

On 27 July, Asda reduced the price of bananas from 97p to 85p/kg, which was followed by a cut to 74p on 5 August and a further reduction to 67p on 13 August.

Following Asda's price cut this week, the average price of loose bananas across Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Waitrose stood at 61p/kg, compared with 59p a year ago. Sainsbury's was selling bananas for 67p/kg, with Waitrose at 72p.