Money Wellness
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calendar icon19 Sep 2023

Nectar and Clubcard prices – too good to be true?

An investigation into Sainsbury’s Nectar and Tesco Clubcard prices has uncovered the supermarkets are using tactics that make loyalty discounts seem better than they are.

Over recent years, it has become commonplace for the big supermarkets to offer loyalty schemes that mean members pay less than non-members for some products.

The consumer group Which? has tracked the pricing history of member-only offers at Sainsbury’s and Tesco over six months and found that nearly a third (29%) of the products were at their so-called ‘regular’ price for less than half of that time.

At Sainsbury’s, it was 34% of 71 products. And at Tesco, it was 24% of 70 products.

Dodgy deals

Some of the more suspect deals included:

Sainsbury’s

Cadbury Dairy Milk (four x 33.5g bars)

Nectar price: £1.50

Regular price: £1.65

The regular price went up from £1.50 a month earlier. This was the highest price at any supermarket during the investigation. The price was £1.50 at Asda, Morrisons and Tesco.

Nescafe Gold Blend (200g)

Nectar price: £6

Regular price: £8.10

The regular price only went up to £8.10 two days before the launch of the Nectar price. Before that it was £6. The £8.10 price made it £1.10 more expensive than at any other supermarket.

Tesco

Heinz Salad Cream (605g)

Clubcard price: £3.50

Regular price: £3.90

The regular price was £2.99 and was increased to £3.90 22 days before the launch of the Clubcard price. It had only been £3.90 for 14% of the previous six months.

Blue Dragon Sweet Chilli Sauce (380g)

Clubcard price: £2

Regular price: £2.70

It was only at the regular price for eight days before the introduction of the Clubcard price – just 4% of the previous six months.

Call to make discounts meaningful

Which? has reported its findings to the Competition and Markets Authority.

The consumer group is also calling on supermarkets to make sure their deals are meaningful. It says if people are giving supermarkets their data in order to access these deals, it’s the least they can expect.

Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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