Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Half price but how good a saving is it?

There's a full page ad in the Guardian (and probably other papers) today showing the massive savings that Sainsbury's is offering on fresh fruit. Save £2, it trumpets, on strawberries which are down from £3.99 to £1.99 this week or £1.69 on nectarines down from £3.39 to £1.69.

Now don't get me wrong, Sainsbury's if you're reading this. I'm sure these fruits have been on sale at the higher price over the last few weeks. In fact the small print at the bottom of the page tells you exactly when those prices were charged. The question is was that a reasonable amount to charge at the time for fruit that was only just coming into season and, probably in the case of stone fruits like plums and apricots, as hard as a rock? As I pointed out yesterday you can buy a can of apricots that taste as good for just 24p.

If you look more carefully at the cherry offer you'll also spot that the not-so-special offer of £1.99 is for only 300g of cherries. I paid 68p a quarter pound (110g) in my local greengrocer the other day which works out at £1.85 for 300g and I'm sure he hasn't got a fraction of the buying power of Sainsbury's

Oh, and if you're looking for these products in a Sainsbury's Central or Local you may not find these reductions anyway. Not all stores stock these lines at these prices, the company is careful to state (again in the small print).

Sainsbury's of course is not the only supermarket which does this kind of promotion. As I remarked yesterday on Beyond Baked Beans Tesco is currently offering fresh peppers for 32p each which looks like a fantastic reduction from the 88p they were charging a couple of weeks ago (or indeed for the £1 plus I saw them charging back in April or May) but in effect amounts to no more than that we're finally being asked to pay a reasonable price for produce for which we've previously been charged well over the odds. About time, but no great cause for celebration.


Hippolyra said...

I paid 35p for peppers the other day. Oranges were 27p in Tesco last night. I usually buy my fruit in the market where it is at least 50% cheaper.

The supermarkets claim that the reduced fruit and veg are to encourage you to be healthier, they will be getting the supplier to fund the offers, there is no danger that the supermarket is being generous or acting in the interest of our health.

Cynical? Moi?

Fiona Beckett said...

You're so right, hippolyra - I forgot to mention markets. Even cheaper. And I didn't even touch on how supermarkets 'encourage' their suppliers to chip in. They've improved the standard of food in this country, no doubt about it, but our food is not cheap by European standards.

Hippolyra said...

I forgot to say - well done on your mention in Delicious Magazine Fiona!

Fiona Beckett said...

Thanks! A mention in the press always helps . . .

Career Misfit said...

I've noticed supermarkets pulling this trick on a few occasions. I watched the price of teabags (which are near to one of the checkouts in our local Somerfield) over a few months steadily climbing, then one week they cut about a pound off a pack of 160. Of course, they were zooming off the shelves but really, it was the same price it started at. A bit of thought and people would have realised but then, supermarkets aren't generally set up to encourage that sort of sharpness. ;o)

On a side note though, I have to compliment Somerfield on their free magazine, it's got some great recipes in that are super-cheap to cook and really tasty; it puts a lot of rivals' magazines to shame.

Fiona Beckett said...

Not sure if they have it at our local, very small Somerfield but will look out for it. Thanks for the tip!