Jo Swinson at supermarket

Jo Swinson has congratulated supermarkets for making pricing clearer

Consumer minister Jo Swinson has praised supermarkets for making the prices of the products they sell clearer and simpler.

In May this year, the government asked the major supermarkets to improve the way they displayed unit prices.

Speaking on a visit to Sainsbury’s Nine Elms store in London this morning, Swinson said the 10 major supermarkets – Aldi, Asda, The Co-operative Group, Iceland, Lidl, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose – had committed to displaying a consistent unit price across similar products and were improving the visibility of on-shelf labels.

Sainsbury’s has changed 30,000 shelf-edge labels over the last 18 months; Morrisons has changed 2,000 labels; and Asda and M&S were reviewing their practices. Tesco and Waitrose had increased the font size of labels, and The Co-op had stripped out unnecessary information.

Swinson also said six of the 10 supermarkets were including unit prices of promotions. Iceland, for example, now displays a ‘normal’ and an ‘offer’ price on promotion labels.

“I’ve long campaigned for supermarkets to display clearer and simpler information for consumers,” Swinson added.

“It can be hard for households to work out the best deal when food is sometimes priced individually – like a mince pie – or soups and sauces, which can be priced by both the gram and millilitre.

“It’s a win-win situation if the big 10 are giving consumers a fairer way to understand the prices they’re paying. We will now look at the current legislation to see if it’s preventing supermarkets from making further improvements,” she added.

Swinson’s comments come two weeks after a Which? report supermarkets were continuing to bombard consumers with “dodgy discounts and “misleading multibuys”.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: “This is a victory for the 32,000 people who signed up to our Price it Right campaign which launched more than a year ago. We now need the remaining supermarkets to commit to making special offer deals simpler to understand.

“With rising food prices one of consumers’ top worries, it’s only right that supermarkets play fair and help consumers find the best deal.”