Several newspapers have run stories this week about own brand budget lines getting more expensive at the supermarkets.
Unsurprisingly, not all of them have credited The Grocer as the source of the story. And it hasn’t been reported accurately everywhere, either.
As we reported in Saturday’s magazine, the story is this: In three of the big four supermarkets, over 40% of budget own label products are more expensive than they were last year.
Some of the rises weren’t just by pennies, either. A basics cheese and tomato pizza that cost £1 at Sainsbury’s last year now costs £1.50. And at Tesco, which pledged to hold prices as it rebranded Value as Everyday Value in April, a kilo of value diced beef increased from £3.10 to £3.98. A 500g bag of grated cheese shot up from £2.18 to £3.
These increases are well above the 2.7% annual inflation rate reported by the ONS today, and they’re sharper than increases on standard tier or branded items.
A value own label box of 24 breakfast wheat biscuits has increased by 49% to 94p in the last year at Tesco. We know that wheat has been one of the worst hit commodities, but a box of 24 Weetabix has increased by a far smaller 9.6% to £2.17.
All the multiples have expanded their budget own label ranges in the last year - by over 20% across the board - catering to a growing demand for frugal options. Other prices have also stayed the same and lowered, and the vast majority of shoppers will put at least one own label budget item in their basket.
But with the mults slugging it out on branded and high ticket Christmas items, one could be excused for wondering if these increases are all strictly input cost driven.