CMA launches pricing review as grocery inflation 'hits record high'

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is launching a new grocery unit pricing review as grocery inflation hits a record high.

Research by Kantar found that grocery price inflation hit 16.7 per cent in the four weeks to 22 January 2023 - representing the highest level since it started tracking the figure in 2008.

The data analytics company concluded that current inflation levels could add a potential extra £788 to annual shopping bills.

The CMA’s new review is a revisit of the watchdog’s ‘2015 Groceries Super-complaint’, in which it considered pricing and promotional practices in the groceries market, eventually concluding that “complexities and inconsistencies with unit pricing may prevent people from spotting which deal gives them the best value”.

The new review will consider if the unit pricing issues identified during the 2015 Super-complaint remain, along with retailers’ compliance with the law and consumer awareness and use of unit pricing information.

“We know that the increased cost of living has hit the pound in people’s pockets,” said George Lusty, senior director for consumer protection at the CMA.

Lusty continued: “That’s why we’re pressing on with this important grocery unit pricing work to ensure shoppers can more easily compare prices and make choices that are right for them.”

The CMA said the new review is in its early stages and that it has not formed a view on these issues. The regulator plans to release an update on the case page later in 2023.

The news follows research from Which? that found consumer trust in supermarkets had plummeted as inflation has continued to bite.

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