Co-op Food enters price war with ‘Fair and Square’ campaign

The Co-operative Food is investing £100m in price this year and launching a ‘Fair and Square’ campaign as part of its strategy to become the leading convenience retailer in Britain through a focus on price, own-label food and store refurbishments.

Video: Co-op Food’s new TV ad on the importance of bacon


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The campaign, which launches in store today (23 April), follows the Co-op’s move to reduce the price of more than 1,000 lines last year. The latest cuts will see the cost of products including bread, meat and eggs come down.

A ‘fair and square’ logo will appear on products that have had their prices reviewed and the Co-op promises to review the price of more products every month to ensure customers are getting the best deal. Steven Murrells, chief executive at Co-op Food, said in a tweet that the company would be investing “over £100m” this year.

It will be supported by a TV campaign, created by Leo Burnett, that focuses on the “importance” of products including bread and bacons. There will also be print ads.

“Throughout local stores, you will start to see our fair and square logo highlighting our quality products, such as free range eggs, British chicken and bread. The prices on these products have been reviewed and are now fair and square, which know is very important to all our customers and members.

“You can be confident that when you pick up your every day essentials, you’ll see more change in your pocket,” says the company.

The focus on price is the latest phase of the Co-op’s “True North” strategy to position its food business as the ‘leading convenience food retailer’ in Britain. The strategy has seen the supermarket focus on value, streamlined promotions, developing its own range and refreshing its stores, with an increased emphasis on new store formats.

The latest data from Kantar Worldpanel shows that Co-op held a 6.1 per cent share of the UK grocery market in the 12 weeks to 30 March, behind Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. For the year to the 4 January, Co-op says sales at supermarkets open for more than a year were down 0.2 per cent, although sales were up by 0.6 per cent in the second half. At its core convenience chain, like-for-like sales increased 1.6 per cent for the year and 5.3 per cent in the second half.

The Co-op is the latest supermarket chain to focus on price as the big five aim to counter the rise of the discounters Aldi and Lidl, both of which are enjoying double-digit sales growth. Just yesterday (22 April), Tesco increased its price investment, bringing down the cost of a further 30 products, as well as the cost of its online and click-and-collect grocery service.

Asda last year announced plans to invest £1bn in price and £250m in quality over the next five years and claims to have already saved the average family at least £165 on essential items such as bread, milk, pasta and butter. Morrisons says it will also invest £1bn in price over the next three years.

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