Should we be alarmed by £2 salmon?

salmonTed S. Warren/AP/Press Association Images

Whole, frozen, wild salmon has arrived at Asda, for an astonishingly cheap £2 each. The fish is generally considered the superior alternative to farmed salmon, which has been affordable and available for years. It has raised questions as to how it is possible for Asda to offer a luxury treat for such a low price.

It also begs the question of what its rivals will do about it?
The £2 cost is for a fish weighing 840g, which will feed four people for about 50p a head.
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This isn't the first time Asda has revealed a rock bottom price for its salmon. It hit the headlines in December 2009 for bringing the cost down to £3 for a whole wild salmon. It is roughly a fifth of the price at Waitrose and Tesco and a twelfth of the cost at Marks & Spencer.

In the past Asda has stated that the low costs are partly because it has cut the cost of shipping. This time round it says it saves money because it places large orders early, and therefore secures a lower price. It adds that it opts for smaller fish, which are naturally cheaper.

There are others who question whether they can be paying a fair price to fishermen if they are selling for a profit - and whether they are offering it as a loss leader in order to beat the other supermarkets.

In a market where ranges of finer foods and luxury options are selling more than expected, there is an issue of whether Asda is trying to make a name for itself among customers who might normally choose higher-priced supermarkets.

The question is, therefore, whether Asda will be left to champion cheap fish alone, or whether this will spark a fishy price war.

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Should we be alarmed by £2 salmon?

This takes time, but once you know the cost of a phone call, putting the dryer on, or a bag of potatoes, it enables you to judge far better how much you can afford to consume.

Once you know the base price, you are in a position to keep your eyes open for a better offer. If you see a discount you can judge for yourself whether it actually constitutes a bargain. For bigger things like utilities it enables you to do a proper price comparison and see if you can cut your bills.

Don't just assume that the premium range is better, try the every-day brand, or even the basic version and see if you spot the difference. Likewise, consider trading down your supermarket from one of the big players to local markets or discounters like Aldi.

If you plan what you buy to match what you actually cook and eat then not only will you be able to budget far more effectively, but you'll also waste much less and find your money goes further without you having to try.

If you can't think of a way to get your meat for less, consider a vegetarian day once a week. If you can't find petrol any cheaper, then work on making your driving as efficient as possible. The more you can think of clever alternatives the less you will have to make painful cuts to make ends meet.

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