As of this week Somerfield will no longer feature in The Grocer 33. You can call it foresight, if you wish, as The Co-operative Group confirmed its interest, on Wednesday, in swallowing it whole, but in fact we took the decision for a very different reason.
Quite simply, the more limited Somerfield offer that CEO Paul Mason and his team have pursued has made it increasingly difficult to refresh the list of SKUs we monitor, which we need to do to stop the grocers price chasing. We have therefore taken the opportunity to update the already extensive list of products whose prices we track, and will be able to update even more regularly in future.
You can expect further enhancements to The Grocer 33 in the next few weeks as we seek to mine the pricing information we have much more thoroughly. But the fruits of this labour can already be seen in our story on page 4. The media is using some sensational figures to proclaim food price inflation a biblical event - which indeed it is in the poorest countries - but in their feeding frenzy, they're often ignoring the evidence, including Sir Terry Leahy this week, who put food price inflation at Tesco at about 3%.
We know how you feel, Terry, because they've ignored us, too. We went to the trouble of providing the Daily Mail's Sean Poulter with our pricing data. He decided, like his rivals, to base his story on figures from the website www.mySupermarket.co.uk, to show food price inflation at a whopping 11%. As you'll see, our own price checks tell a sobering but more sober story, but it is a no less interesting one for that, with Asda prices rising the fastest (though their prices are still cheapest) and Sainsbury's rising slowest, while our numbers for Tesco come out at 3.04%. Just as Terry said.