Last week, the German discount store announced a major one-day promotion in its five Dublin stores, cutting the price of fruit and vegetables by 50%.
Tesco immediately hit back, taking a full-page ad in the Irish national papers to announce a similar promotion, but with a 51% price reduction.
But while shoppers cashed in on the bargain prices, Irish Farmers’ Association spokesman PJ Jones accused the retailers of “engaging in a reckless campaign of below-cost selling and destabilising the market for Irish vegetables and potatoes”. The number of growers had fallen sharply in recent years, he claimed, and those remaining had invested heavily to ensure quality produce.
“They are in no position to fund these price-cutting campaigns by having their already low margins reduced still further.
“If growers are forced to produce below cost,” he warned, “then the days of quality Irish produce on supermarket shelves will be limited.”
Lidl recently took Tesco to the Irish High Court, forcing it to discontinue a prices comparison campaign that the discount chain claimed was unfair and damaging.
Neither company had any comment on the latest skirmish.