Supermarkets urged to review unit pricing

Shoppers are confused by unit pricing, with many feeling that supermarkets are deliberately trying to mislead them, according to new research from Which?

The consumer watchdog said many retailers use unit prices (the price per kilo or per litre) that are difficult to spot or make it impossible to compare between brands. Additionally, prices are often left off special offers altogether, so it is hard for consumers to work out whether savings are genuine.

In a survey of 2,100 people, 91% said that they shopped around for the best deal, but 74% of consumers said they felt misled by “confusing prices”. Nearly a quarter (22%) said that they were not using unit pricing because it was “too small and hard to read”. Of those who did use unit pricing, 88% said it was the best way to work out which promotions gave the best value for money.

Which? said it wanted to see clearer unit pricing, which “would enable customers to compare like-for-like products and see which are the best value for money straight away”.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: “With household budgets squeezed, it’s all the more important that stores make it as easy as possible for people to spot the best value products. All food and drink should be clearly and consistently priced by weight or volume across all stores, including products that are on special offer.”

The report has been released as Morrisons announced it was reviewing its pricing to make unit prices more consistent along similar products. It has also promised to make unit prices more visible on shelf labels.

Dalton Phillips, chief executive of Morrisons, said: “For too long, retailers have not given customers enough information to easily compare prices. By doing this, we believe we can restore trust in supermarket prices.”

Sainsbury’s has also announced a new labelling format that includes clearer unit pricing, which it will be trialling in stores soon.


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