The infamous £2 chicken, which became the emblem of super-cheap supermarket food four years ago, has made a brief return to supermarket shelves.

Last week, Tesco ran a four-day bogof on a £4 medium British chicken, offering one whole chicken for the equivalent of £2. With a weight of 1.3kg to 1.5kg, Tesco's chicken had a per-kilo price of £1.33 to £1.53; by comparison, the standard shelf price of a medium chicken in the big four typically is about £3.10 per kilo [].

The retailers routinely run multibuy deals on whole fresh chicken but producers and suppliers said the bogof marked a new low. "From a consumer point of view, the retailers will say they are helping to combat food inflation, but it sends the wrong messages in terms of the value of British chicken," said NFU chief poultry adviser Kelly Watson.

One poultry supplier said Tesco's deal should be seen in the context of wider supermarket price wars.

"It's a signal to competitors that they are taking the battle for the hearts and minds of shoppers very seriously," he said.