Trading Standards Test On Weekly Shop

26 February 2010, 05:41 | Updated: 26 February 2010, 05:43

We’ve all seen the adverts where supermarkets compete on price, but are they really doing all they can to give their customers the best value for money?

Suffolk Trading Standards is today arming consumers with valuable information when it comes to doing their weekly shop.

An investigation carried out by Suffolk Trading Standards took samples of value and standard products purchased from the big four supermarkets and sent them away for nutritional analysis.  The results reveal that spending more doesn’t always mean you get a better quality item.

Clare Davies, Senior Trading Standards Officer, said; “Our investigation has shown that, in general, when in comes to buying meat products you should invest a little of your money in the more expensive product as the quality of the item you will purchase will be of a better quality.  However, when it comes to buying basic ingredients such as cheese, flour and apple juice, there is hardly any difference in the nutritional content and therefore, if that’s what’s important to you, you might as well buy the cheaper version and save yourself some money.”

The two products which stand out from this investigation are the cheese purchased from Morrisons and the apple juice purchased from Tesco.  The results from the nutrition analysis on the standard product and the value product were almost identical and any difference could be put down to natural variations in the ingredients.  It could be argued that these two items are the same product packaged in a different way.

When it came to the pricing, on average, consumers were spending twice the amount to buy the standard product on offer rather than the value range.  A basket of standard products purchased by trading standards officers cost £21.72.  For the same products bought from the value range, the cost was only £11.22.

Clare Davies said; “When you compare the price of the products we bought from the supermarkets our basket of standard products was almost double that of the value ones, however the results from our nutritional analysis shows that you’re not getting double the quality for your money.  Our advice to consumers is to read the information contained on the labels to see what’s in the product and make sure you’re getting the best value.”

Cllr Rae Leighton, Suffolk County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Protection, said; “The findings from Suffolk Trading Standards’ investigation will mean a great deal to consumers.  In these times of economic uncertainty the general public is still concerned about every penny they spend.  These revelations show that the big four supermarkets are generally charging double the price for a very similar product with almost the same nutritional profile.”