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As Tesco shoppers begin to enjoy instant discounts at the checkout thanks to its new Brand Guarantee, the decision to only compare branded products could alienate a significant proportion of them, new research carried out for The Grocer has suggested.

The Bridgethorne Shopper Index found a clear desire that own-label goods should be included in the scheme. Two-thirds (67%) of shoppers said they expected price-matching to cover all grocery items, whether branded or own label, with just 26.4% happy for the schemes to include only branded products. Just 6.4% said they felt own-label on its own would be best.

Tesco’s previous Price Promise initiative had compared both branded and own-label products. But when Brand Guarantee went live on 12 October, Tesco chief customer officer Robin Terrell said its customer research had found it was mainly brands shoppers wanted to compare.

With that change and Morrisons’ decision to convert Match & More into a more basic loyalty programme from Monday (2 November), the only retailer now to price-match on brands and own label will be Asda.

Overall, the research found a very high level of consumer awareness of the supermarkets’ price-matching activity, with 87% of respondents claiming to be familiar with the schemes. However, it is clear they have a stronger resonance with older shoppers. Almost all (96%) shoppers over 55 were aware of price-matching, compared with 77% of shoppers between 18 and 34.

“Our awareness of and engagement with supermarket loyalty cards and price-matching schemes is now a firmly entrenched aspect of shopper behaviour,” said Bridgethorne joint MD John Nevens.

“If you set these dynamics against a backdrop of an increasingly competitive sector, with the rise of the discounters, conventional loyalty schemes may become obsolete. The key for retailers seems to revolve not only around getting the value for money equation right but also engaging with the emerging younger, even more promiscuous shopper.”