UK grocers push suppliers to lower prices

BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson.

Despite continued decline in grocery inflation rates, several U.K. supermarket chains are asking suppliers to lower their prices.

Waitrose is the latest grocer to ask suppliers to add deflation proposals” to joint business plans for 2024. In early November, Waitrose buyers sent an email to suppliers asking them to identify areas of their supply chain that have had price drops so they could also lower prices.

We have in good faith supported you with cost increases and now our ask is that you engage with us where we are starting to see cost decreases,” the email said, according to The Grocer.

Waitrose did not respond to a request for comment from SeafoodSource. A Waitrose spokesperson confirmed the contents of the company’s email to The Grocer.

Market data shows that, following recent inflation, some elements of cost price have started to subside. Weve asked suppliers to let us know where theyre seeing costs fall to make sure we remain competitive,” the spokesperson said.

Waitrose’s push on suppliers follows a similar effort from Tesco in June, when it asked suppliers to lower prices so it could pass savings on to shoppers. A Tesco spokesperson said the market is moving from inflation to deflation,” and that it wanted to get out in front of rival supermarkets by cutting prices more aggressively, according to The Guardian.

Food inflation has actually been declining through 2023 in the U.K., but the country is still facing economic struggles. Food inflation decelerated from 9.9 percent in September to 8.8 percent in October, according to new data from the British Retail Consortium and NielsenIQ.

“This is below the three-month average rate of 10.1 percent and is now at its lowest since July 2022,” the BRC said.

Research firm Kantar found that food inflation dropped to 9.7 percent in  October, while take-home grocery sales over the same period rose 7.4 percent compared to October 2022.

Grocery price inflation has finally dropped into single digits after ... 

Photo courtesy of British Retail Consortium

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