Supermarkets are launching big promotions and promising that they will increase the purchasing power of consumers. But by no means all promises are fulfilled, Test Aankoop reports. The consumer organization has informed the Economic Inspectorate.
In times when, among other things, spaghetti, toilet paper, mustard and butter have risen so sharply in price that they now cost 30 percent more than a year ago, it is worth keeping an eye on promotions. Test Aankoop has investigated a number of large campaigns by supermarket chains – including the Kleine Leeuwtjes at Delhaize, the Brand Festival at Colruyt and ‘1,000 products for less than 1 euro’ at Carrefour – and came to the conclusion that not all of them are equally correct.
Carrefour speaks of ‘Up to 1,000 products for less than 1€’, but there are only 347 on their website. Moreover, 104 of these are unavailable. A price comparison of 36 products also shows that they already cost less than 1 euro before the promotion. ‘Carrefour has not made any product cheaper for its promotion. On the contrary, we discovered that 11 products have even increased in price,” says Laura Clays, spokeswoman for Test Aankoop.
Another action by Carrefour also raises eyebrows. The promise is to freeze 100 products in price for 100 days, but whoever goes to look will find only 58. And 28 of them are already unavailable online.
Also Albert Heijn dares to exaggerate with numbers. ‘More than 1,000 products, 2nd free’ states the supermarket, but online the promotion appears to only apply to 580 products. And when Test Aankoop takes a closer look, it turns out that only 264 products actually have a second free copy linked to it. For the other products, these are smaller discounts.
The Little Lions action of Delhaize is an example of how it should be done: the selection contains 424 products and the range is a good cross-section of what you find in the supermarket. A number of products were reduced in price for this promotion. ‘But under the pretext that the discount at Delhaize on products with nutriscore A and B increases from 5 percent to 10 percent, the supermarket chain still succeeds in misleading the consumer,’ says Laura Clays. Customers with a superplus card do not automatically receive a 5 percent discount on those healthy products. Anyone who spends at least 99 euros is entitled to a 10 percent discount on fresh products with nutriscore A and B the following month. ‘That is not a transparent way of communicating’, it sounds.
Also the Brand Festival at Colruyt plays it right at first glance. You can find 137 products cheaper, although it is necessary to buy more than 1 pack to get the discount.
Price per unit
‘It is very important in these uncertain times to inform consumers correctly about promotions and discounts,’ says Clays. ‘People are looking for ways to reduce their bills, for example by shopping more cheaply, but false promotions and misleading information make that task very difficult. We therefore ask all supermarket chains to always provide correct information and we will also inform the Economic Inspectorate of the false actions that we have encountered in our investigation. We have, of course, contacted Carrefour and Albert Heijn about this.’
While promotions are still a good indication of a lower price, the consumer organization recommends checking the unit price as well. This is the only way to check whether the promo is really interesting.