tesco farms

The launch of Tesco’s Farms brands helped the UK’s biggest supermarket become the top annual price cutter last month as industry-wide deflation remains at historic levels.

The Grocer Price Index, collated by Brand View from more than 61,000 SKUs across the big four supermarkets, showed deflation edged back out to equal its record level of -2.9% in the month to 1 April.

Tesco saw its prices fall by 3.4% across its product range year-on-year - equalling its highest level of GPI deflation to date - partly driven by big price drops in categories that saw the launch of its own-label Farms brands during the month.

Tesco’s prices dropped by a notable 8.4% year on year in the meat, fish and poultry category that houses its new Willow, Woodside and Boswell Farms ranges. The price drop was markedly higher than average deflation for the category across the big four, of 4.5%.

Farms brands were also launched in the fruit & veg category, which was 3% down in price year on year at Tesco and down 2.6% overall. Tesco also saw deflation in alcohol (-5.9%), chilled (-3.6%), bakery and frozen (both -3.3%). Across the big four, the largest annual price falls were seen in meat, fish and poultry, frozen (-4.1%), dairy (-3.8%) and soft drinks (-3.7%).

The overall GPI figure has been unusually stable over the past four months, with just seven basis points splitting the four monthly GPI readings since the month to 1 February 2016.

In the month to 1 April, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s both saw annual deflation of -3%, while Asda saw deflation ease to -2% having recorded -3% in the month to 1 March. Waitrose, which is not included in the overall GPI figure, saw prices drop 1.3% year on year.

Morrisons had been the biggest annual price cutter last month, recording price falls of 3.6% across its range.

Prices did go up in the month to 1 April on a month-on-month basis, largely driven by a price rise in alcohol over the Easter period. Month-on-month alcohol prices were up 4.8% during the period, while deli was up 3.1% and biscuits, confectionery and snacks rose 2.5%. The biggest month-on-month falls were in meat, fish & poultry (-1.7%) and household (-1.5%).