Asda, Waitrose freeze prices on hundreds of products

An Asda store in England.

Asda and Waitrose, Great Britain's third- and eighth-largest supermarket chains, have instituted price freezes on hundreds of products.

Asda announced on Tuesday, 13 June it has frozen the prices through August of over 500 products, mainly “cupboard essentials” including cereals, pasta, and tea; and “summer favorites” including salads, burgers, and ice cream.

“We’re always looking at ways we can support our customers and communities throughout the year,” Asda Chief Commercial Officer Kris Comerford said in a press release. “We know that household budgets are tight at the moment, so we want to be able to offer the best value and give customers the confidence they can shop the products they love throughout summer.”

Comerford said Asda’s Income Tracker, which measures the average discretionary income of U.K. households, has shown a steady decline since the start of the U.K.’s cost-of-living crisis as it emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Monday, 12 June, Waitrose announced it was cutting prices on 200 items “in every aisle,” including sugar, sausage, salads, and ice cream. The cuts follow previous cuts to prices of 300 other items made in February 2023.

“We’ve made these cuts with absolutely no compromise on the high quality, high welfare, and delicious recipes our customers expect from us,” Waitrose Commercial Director Charlotte Di Cello said in a press release. “We’ll still react to any drops in food inflation and pass on savings to our customers as soon as the prices we pay begin to fall, and we’ll continue to pay farmers a fair price for their products too.”

U.K. food inflation continues to rise, though at a slower rate than in late 2022 and early 2023. Grocery inflation hit 17.2 percent in May, which was actually down from 17.3 percent in April and 17.5 percent in March.

Several U.K. food retailers have publicly stated they expect prices to rise in 2023 overall, but are predicting the rate of inflation will decline through the year, according to Reuters.

In May, U.K. Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt met with food manufacturers to discuss increases in food prices, and a committee of U.K. lawmakers began investigating the country's food supply chain to determine what is causing price increases for grocery staples and whether they have been fair to U.K. consumers. The U.K. government has not proposed any formal price controls on food items.

Overall U.K. consumer price inflation reached 8.7 percent in April 2023, the most recent month for which data is available, and food and drink price inflation soared to 19.1 percent, near a 46-year high.

Britain’s Food and Drink Federation CEO Karen Betts said in May her association believes the inflationary crisis will soon abate in the U.K.

“We believe food and drink price inflation is close to its peak, and food and drink manufacturers will continue to work hard to keep prices as low as possible,” Betts said.

Photo courtesy of AlanMorris/Shutterstock


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