The new year. A time for resolutions, rollbacks and, er, price hikes.
Actually, the price hikes have not exactly kicked in thus far. While Starbucks and McDonald’s (along with utilities and rail services, of course) have been exposed for opportunist price inflation over and above the 2.12% rise incurred with the VAT hike on Tuesday, the supermarkets have so far been slow on the uptake.
Analysis for The Grocer by BrandView.co.uk shows just 5.8% of goods in leading supermarkets have increased in price across tens of thousands of VATable and non-VATable products monitored (from just 0.8% at Sainsbury’s to 7.6% at Morrisons) this week.
This suggests the supermarkets will introduce price increases slowly though whether this is for logistical reasons, out of compassion for impoverished post-Christmas shoppers, or due to fierce price wars, remains to be seen.
So back to new year resolutions, as there have been a number of interesting developments, including a new weight loss website developed by Special K in conjunction with Tesco (p9); while Innocent switched to a vein more humorous than quaint in its new Flash Gordon-inspired fruit ad campaign (p25).
None is more intriguing, however, than Change4Life’s nudge-inspired Swapathon (p12). In a gimmick-filled week for Asda, it’s teaming up with Nestlé, Mars, Birds Eye and Unilever (wink, wink) in a £250k voucher scheme whose “life”-changing properties will last… until the money runs out.
Whether the latest bribes work any better than the NHS Weight Win programme in nudging us to eat more healthily is hard to say. Perhaps it would be better for the government to remind people more forcefully how much money they could save by “swapping” cigarettes for fruit and veg.
And, in the week scientists discovered that eating red-skinned fruit and veg is good for your complexion (p6), think of all the money we could save on sunbed sessions.