tesco price cuts on healthier options cereal

Tesco is using its power aisles to encourage shoppers to ditch high fat, salt and sugar products in favour of healthier options, in what it billed as a partnership with suppliers in the fight against obesity.

But campaigners have criticised the retailer for sending mixed messages by cutting prices on HFSS lines at the same time.

As part of a month-long health campaign, Tesco has begun highlighting healthier alternatives from brands such as Coca-Cola, Irn-Bru, Kellogg’s Frosties, Heinz Salad Cream, Hellmann’s mayonnaise, KP nuts and Ritz Crackers (see pic).

Crucially, the healthier alternatives carry a lower price point. Matt Davies, Tesco UK and ROI CEO, said Tesco had worked closely with suppliers on the promotion. “For the first time that I am aware of on this scale, we are making the healthier product cheaper.”

However, Tesco has also slashed the price of the HFSS products at the same time - and in some cases, these are now cheaper on a 100g basis than the healthier alternative. A 750g pack of Kellogg’s Frosties, for example - with over a third of sugar RDA per portion - has gone from £2.79 to £2. Although Tesco has cut back the price of 30% reduced sugar Frosties from £2.79 to £1.75, the smaller 640g pack makes it marginally more expensive per 100g than the standard product. For Coca-Cola, meanwhile, Tesco is offering 50p off both full sugar and Diet Coke eight-can packs and multibuys across the entire range.

Malcolm Clark, director of the Children’s Food Campaign, said Tesco was in danger of sending mixed messages by cutting the price of “unhealthy” products at the same time.

“On the one hand I think Tesco should be applauded because this campaign does put the spotlight on those products that are high in fat, salt or sugar,” he said. “But at the same time it appears to be reducing the price of HFSS products and the danger is that, in the name of choice, Tesco is missing out on an opportunity to help customers have a healthier diet.”

A spokesman for Tesco said: “The swaps are simply designed to make it easier for customers to choose foods, which are lower in salt, fat and sugar. In every case the product with less sugar, salt or fat is the same or, in the vast majority of cases, lower in price than the standard alternative.”

Tesco’s Little Helps to Healthier Living Campaign, launched on Tuesday, involves hundreds of price cuts on healthy items.