Iceland store front

Surprisingly, the retailer was 4% pricier on frozen than Asda, but 14% cheaper on ambient

Iceland is best known as a frozen food retailer - but it is more price competitive with the big four on chilled and ambient products than frozen, new research for The Grocer has revealed.

Overall, Iceland was 7% cheaper than lowest-priced major multiple, Asda, and 17% cheaper than the priciest of the big four, Sainsbury’s, in an analysis of comparable branded and own-label products by [2 September 2013].

Across the 735 comparable products stocked at Iceland and Asda, Iceland was 5% cheaper for chilled products and 14% cheaper for ambient, according to BrandView.

However, across frozen, Iceland was 4% more expensive - mainly because of higher prices in frozen fish and ice cream. For example, a pack of four Birds Eye fish fillets in batter cost £2 at Asda but £4 at Iceland and a pack of three white Magnum ice creams costs £2 at Asda but £2.50 at Iceland.

Although Iceland is known primarily as a frozen food retailer, more than two thirds of its product range is non-frozen. Inside the freezer, almost two thirds of Iceland’s range is own-label, while outside, the range is dominated by branded products.

“The battleground for Iceland is outside of the freezer because that’s where products are comparable from a shopper point of view,” said Kantar Retail analyst Bryan Roberts.

“Iceland has to fight harder there because it has lower own-label participation and is therefore less differentiated.”

Iceland’s executive director of people and customers, Nick Canning, said Iceland rigorously benchmarked itself against the major multiples to ensure it offered better prices across its range for the same quality products.

“We are delighted that this independent research confirms what we and our customers knew all along - that Iceland consistently offers better value than all the major supermarkets across everyone’s complete everyday shopping basket,” he said.

The suggestion it was pricier than Asda on frozen could be down to a lack of “strictly comparable products” or differences in the retailers’ promotions at the time, he added.

Roberts said that Iceland had raised its game in chilled and ambient and deserved recognition.

“Iceland is often overlooked because shoppers see it as a frozen food shop but it actually has a very broad range and is a very good place to shop.”

Iceland chalked up sales growth of 4% in the 12 weeks to 15 September, giving it a market share of 2%, according to Kantar Worldpanel.