Sainsbury's v Tesco: price comparison spat goes to court
Tesco's campaign does not take quality and ethical sourcing into account, claims Sainsbury's
A BATTLE between supermarket giants Sainsbury's and Tesco over a price comparison campaign looks likely to end up in the High Court.
Sainsbury's has previously complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about Tesco's Price Promise promotion, which pledges to match the price of own-brand products at rival retailers or refund shoppers with vouchers. Sainsbury's claims the campaign does not take into account the quality or source of products, and suggests that more than 1,000 of its items are being "unfairly" compared.
For example, says Sainsbury's, Tesco does not consider whether a tea is fair-trade, whether a fish product is sustainably sourced or whether bottled water comes from a natural spring rather than the water mains.
But the ASA threw out Sainsbury's initial complaint and a subsequent independent review by Sir Hayden Phillips found that the Tesco campaign was fair.
Sainsbury's has now launched a judicial review of the decision, which is likely to be heard next summer. It is the first time a supermarket has taken the ASA to court over one of its decisions, says The Independent.
Both supermarkets claim they are taking a stand on behalf of the customer: Sainsbury's says the "huge majority" of customers want to make fair comparisons while they shop, while Tesco says that customers want reassurance on the price of their whole shop, not just on big brand products.
Own-brands have become a key battleground and differentiator for the leading supermarkets as the price of branded food and drink has converged, says the Daily Telegraph.
Sainsbury's own brand products now account for 50 per cent of the company's food sales. It insists the sourcing and quality of its food sets it apart from its rivals.
Sainsbury's offers a similar price-matching promotion to Tesco, but only on branded products. ·