Half-price Tesco turkeys no cheaper than full-price rivals

Other supermarkets selling frozen turkeys at the same price as ‘discount’

By Sean Poulter
Last updated at 10:43 PM on 9th December 2011

For Christmas shoppers watching their pennies, the offer of a half-price frozen turkey sounds too good to miss.

Unfortunately, Tesco’s heavily promoted deal is not all that it seems.

Rival supermarkets are selling their own frozen turkeys for around the same price – without the supposed 50 per cent discount.

Too good to be true? Tesco’s heavily-promoted half-price turkey is not all that it seems

A Tesco half-price, extra-large frozen turkey is reduced to £25 from £50, while the equivalent bird sold by Asda is available at the full price of £24.

In theory, stores are supposed to advertise a product at the higher price for at least 28 days before using it as a benchmark for any price cut promotions.

Tesco insists that it complied with this rule by selling the turkeys at their full original price during the summer months of August and September – when very few shoppers would want a frozen turkey.

The Tesco offer reinforces the view that supermarkets try to pull the wool over customers’ eyes with bogus deals.

Some 42 per cent of shoppers do not believe that all offers are genuine, according to an Ipsos MORI survey last week.

The Office of Fair Trading is under pressure to prosecute supermarkets who mislead shoppers.

Tesco’s turkey offers, which appear on its website, promise that small, medium and large frozen birds will all be half-price until December 27.

But Asda’s prices, without any claimed price cuts, are virtually identical.

They come in at £24 for an extra-large turkey, £20 for a large, £16 for a medium and £12 for a small.

The only apparent difference between the two types of frozen turkey is that Tesco describes its birds as ‘basted’.

Sainsbury’s has a number of Bernard Matthews turkeys. Again the full-price for these is close to the half-price figure claimed by Tesco.

One industry insider criticised the Tesco tactics, saying: ‘It is meant to be the season of goodwill but clearly all Tesco is interested in is confusing its customers.’

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: ‘Supermarkets must do more to help people in tough times by offering real deals, not fake price cuts, and by making it easier to compare prices.

‘With family budgets under pressure from all sides, promised price cuts must be genuine.’

Tesco insisted the claimed savings are real.

A spokesman said: ‘We cannot comment on how competitors market or price their products. We are focused on providing great value for our customers.

‘Tesco own-brand frozen turkeys are a new range this year, introduced to stores in August, which are now part of a genuine half price offer.’

Which? has found that 40 per cent of us will be buying less food this year and one in four will spend less on the Christmas meal.

Four in ten will make savings by shopping at cheaper stores like Aldi and Lidl, while a third will be trading down on products.

Mr Lloyd said: ‘The good news is that own-brand foods can taste just as good as premium brands, if not better, even for classics like champagne and mince pies.’

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