Supermarket price cuts are not trusted by shoppers, an exclusive poll for The Grocer reveals.
Three out of five people surveyed by Harris Interactive believe supermarkets bump up prices on other products to make up for cuts. Only 13% were convinced this was not the case, while the rest were unsure.
Shoppers were unimpressed by the major multiples' price-cutting spree this summer, said Dan Bottle, senior research executive at Harris Interactive.
Asda announced reductions totalling £250m over 10,000 products, while Tesco promised cuts of £270m on 3,000 lines, as well as launching a £4m 'swingometer' campaign.
"There is an important message here to supermarkets," said Bottle. "There is a general feeling of mistrust between the supermarket giants and consumers."
The online survey of 1,891 adults aged 16 to 64 also found that the price cuts had gone unnoticed by many customers, with 47% of shoppers saying they had not seen any recent price changes. A third actually said they had noticed an increase in supermarket prices, with older shoppers more likely to say prices had risen.
Asda was quick to defend its pricing strategy. "Our recent price investments have delivered significant savings to customers coming into our stores, and customers notice this at the checkout each and every week rather than on each item," said a spokeswoman.
Tesco said its pricing was "completely transparent", with weekly updates on its price-checking websites.
The survey showed price nevertheless still has a big influence over where consumers choose to shop, with 33% saying price was very important and 40% viewing it as somewhat important. Younger customers placed more onus on the price of goods than older people.
Interest rate hikes do not seem to have had much effect on consumer spend. Nearly two thirds of shoppers said they had not reduced their weekly spend as a result of the increased rates, compared with 15% of shoppers who said they had tightened their belts.