Tesco halts frozen food price war with Iceland

Tesco has dropped its in-store poster campaign which claimed its frozen food was cheaper than rival Iceland’s. The supermarkets had come to blows over their marketing tactics and accused each other of “dirty tricks”.

Iceland, which attempted to counter the campaign by arming staff with stickers claiming its frozen food is actually cheaper, says Tesco withdrew the campaign following talks with Hertfordshire Trading Standards Office.

A Tesco spokesman denies the move is a climb-down and says the campaign ran its intended “four-week” course. He says: “We will be launching the second half of the campaign to highlight our lower prices compared with Iceland in specific ranges. Iceland seems to think the public shouldn’t be informed that we are cheaper.”

Hertfordshire trading standards officers warned Tesco marketers that the campaign’s claim was too general and that clarification of the product lines being referred to was needed. A spokesman for the office says: “It now looks like as if Tesco is amending its campaign. If Tesco launches a second campaign it would be courteous to run it past us.”

An Iceland spokeswoman says: “We do not object to companies using price comparisons which deal with specific items. But, Iceland does object to generalising and misleading point-of-sale ads, such as the freezer banners which were used by Tesco in its recent marketing campaign.”

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