War of words erupts over supermarket budget lines

Somerfield/Kwik Save is locked in an advertising war with Asda over the prices of their budget brands.

This week Somerfield, which merged with Kwik Save in February, launched press ads claiming its Basics brand is the “UK’s lowest priced budget range”.

But last month the Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint from Kwik Save that Asda’s Farm Stores range was “Britain’s lowest priced budget brand”.

Kwik Save said some of the products featured in the ads were more expensive than its own No Frills items. Asda was forced to pull its ad.

Asda spokesman Phil Reed says the supermarket is considering whether to make a counter-complaint to the ASA about Somerfield’s ad. “We have looked at the ads and definitely on some of the lines featured we are cheaper. It is strange given Kwik Save’s objections, that it should now make the same claim,” says Reed.

The ASA upheld Kwik Save’s complaint saying consumers would think Asda’s products were individually the cheapest budget brands available. But Asda maintained the claim was intended to refer to the overall cost of the range.

A Somerfield spokesman says the claim in its ad was made after comparing individual product prices and basket value: “We always check competitor’s pricing and we wouldn’t make this claim otherwise. The vast majority of our Basics products offer the best price and the range as a whole offers the best market value.”

ASA external affairs manager Chris Reed says the previous ruling would not necessarily stand again: “Most consumers will realise there is an advertising battle based on changing price going on.”

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