Supermarket pricing tricks

They lure shoppers in with the promise of multi-buy offers, price drops and BOGOFs but are supermarkets really giving us the best deal? While it's true that most supermarket offer good value for money, many of us are being tempted by deals that are not what they first seem.

supermarket price tricks

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Here are some of the supermarket pricing tricks it's worth keeping a beady, bargain-hunting eye on.

BOGOFs - bargain or bogus?
Shopping list or no shopping list, by the time most of us have hit the fruit and veg, we're already being bombarded with 'buy one, get one free' offers and enticed by the promise of a bargain. Don't be fooled.

First of all, think about whether you need it. If you're not going to get through 2kg of courgettes before the use-by date, then you're literally throwing money away. Take advantage of BOGOFs, by all means, but stick to non-perishables like toiletries or toilet roll that will inevitably get used eventually... and stock up.

Multi-buy mayhem
There's more supermarket sliight of hand to be seen in those all-too-tempting multi-buy deals, or 'multi-buy non-deals' as the BBC's Panorama labelled them following their investigation in December 2011.

The brightly-coloured shelf-edge labels boldly state that bargains are there for the taking with 'two for £2' and the like littering the aisles. However, check the single item price (if displayed) and you'll often find that there's no saving to be had. In some cases, you'll even end up paying more.

To bulk buy or not to bulk buy?
It is now so ingrained in our minds that more means cheaper that we often opt for a bulk-buy without thinking. The more you buy, the better the value, right? Not always. Those 'big value packs' aren't necessarily the good deal they appear to be. In fact, in many cases you can buy the same amount more cheaply if you buy the smaller size. Always check the weight and compare against the smaller version of the same product if you're confronted with this seemingly fabulous offer.

Weigh things up
The great thing about supermarkets is that they are so convenient. Take the fruit and veg aisle, for instance. No need to bother with those fiddly plastic bags when there are so many pre-packed options available. In reality, you'll almost always find yourself paying more for the cellophane-wrapped variety. They are all too often priced per pack without revealing the weight of that pack. If in doubt, buy loose.

Look beyond eye-level
Supermarkets place the goods they want you to buy at eye level - as studies show most of us take goods from eye level. The products that are heavily promoted will have an aisle-end spot at eye level - as well as an aisle facing. The offer may look good at first glance but take the time to look on the top or bottom shelf and you may well find a similar product that works out to be a lot cheaper.

The new, old price
The big four supermarkets have another cunning price trick up their sleeves. Call it what you like, Price Drop, Rollback, the truth is most of us are being duped.

The supermarkets love nothing more than to tell us they have 'slashed their prices'. What they often fail to mention is that they bumped the prices up first. One example was highlighted by Panorama's investigation last year. Supermarket giant Tesco boasted that a medium, fresh chicken would be available at the bargain-basement price of £4 as part of its Big Price Drop. However, two months earlier, they increased the price of a medium, fresh chicken from £4 to £5.

The practice is perfectly legal, provided the higher price is in place for at least 28 days. Clearly though, it pays to pay attention.

What do you think? Have you been lured by supermarket pricing tricks or have you wised up? Leave a comment below...
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