SuperValu and Tesco criticise Aldi-backed price survey

Price comparison focused on mid-range own-brand supermarket products

A Tesco spokesman said, ‘We have strong concerns about a report, paid for by Aldi, that does not compare like-for-like products and is based on a very limited list of products.’  Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

A Tesco spokesman said, ‘We have strong concerns about a report, paid for by Aldi, that does not compare like-for-like products and is based on a very limited list of products.’ Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

A price survey showing variations of up to 50 per cent in the cost of own-brand goods has been criticised by Tesco and SuperValu.

The survey by Grant Thornton, commissioned by Aldi, showed it was neck and neck with Lidl as the cheapest retailer in the State.

SuperValu, which the survey found to be the most expensive for a basket of 62 randomly selected, commonly bought groceries, questioned the validity of the comparisons and the impartiality of retail analyst Grant Thornton. Tesco also expressed concerns, while Dunnes Stores made no comment on its findings.

The price comparison focused on mid-range own-brand products, which make up more than 50 per cent of Irish consumers’ weekly shopping baskets with weights adjusted to make products comparable.

The basket, which included jam, cream, honey, ice-cream, rice, orange juice, cheese, yoghurt, soda bread, and fruit and vegetables, was found to cost on average €65.04 in Aldi, €65.53 in Lidl, €76.54 in Tesco, €80.74 in Dunnes Stores and €95.50 in SuperValu.

“We have strong concerns about a report, paid for by Aldi, that does not compare like-for-like products and is based on a very limited list of products; barely 7 per cent of the products that we believe matter most to Irish shoppers,” a Tesco spokesman said. “Through our investment in ‘The 800’ which is made up of the products that matter most to customers, we believe we cannot be beaten on price.”

SuperValu said it had “fundamental questions” about the report. It questioned whether the comparisons were valid and cited one example – a 500g tub of cherry tomatoes – where it said it had found a price discrepancy.

A spokesman said, “Any grocery retailer can select a basket of goods from their store shelves, which shows that they provide better value than their competitors. A basket of 62 products is not representative of the value on offer in store at SuperValu where we have over 20,000 products on sale, a multiple of what the discounters offer.”

He also said the survey did not reference its voucher offer “where shoppers can avail of up to €16 off a grocery basket of €80 dependent on the level of vouchers they have redeemed through our real rewards loyalty programme”.

He also pointed out that “prices vary from week to week due to promotional offers and price cuts” and added that SuperValu was “particularly disappointed at Grant Thornton on the basis that they quote themselves as doing an independent survey despite the fact that it was commissioned and paid for by Aldi. A comprehensive survey of the Irish grocery market using just 62 products is clearly not representative of the full story.”