Co-op and Waitrose are slashing prices on essential products - here’s why

Supermarket chains Waitrose and Co-op have announced they will cut prices on hundreds of essential products to prepare for a budget christmas season.

The prices of more than 200 of Waitrose’s basic own brand products will be lowered by 15 per cent, and the Co-op is investing £50 million in lowering the price of more than 300 of its own-label items.

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The price cut is an attempt by the supermarket to get an upper hand on bigger rivals, after a price war was started in the run up to Christmas. Shoppers are expected to be on a tighter budget this year after being put under tougher financial strain because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Which products are getting cheaper?

Products being lowered will include beef mince, washing liquid and tea, pasta, rice and coffee.

Co-op will also be introducing a new low-price range for shoppers on a budget, called ‘Honest Value’. This will include 50 items, ranging from meat and soft drinks to fruit and vegetables.

Limits on household gatherings, and fears about the longevity of the government’s furlough scheme, mean that shoppers are expected to spend less on food this festive season.

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Research from Retail Economics shows that more than a third of shoppers are expected to cut back on their Christmas spending this year, with just 12 per cent expecting to spend more than last year.

Supermarket price war

Tesco kicked off a price war within the supermarket world when it pledged to match Aldi on nearly 500 products in June. Sainsbury’s followed suit, and announced price drops on 1,000 products. Asda also said it would invest £100 million on price cuts.

During the last recession, discount retailers Aldi, Lidl and B&M undercut the market and took a major market share from the leading retailers.