Ocado cuts price of milk, butter and 'everyday essentials'


Online retailer Ocado has slashed the price of milk and other "everyday essentials" as it looks to compete with other grocers.

Retailers are attempting to pass on wholesale savings to consumers. Part of the move will see Ocado dropping the price of four pints of its own-brand milk by 10p to £1.45 and two pints by 5p to £1.20.

It has also unveiled cuts to the prices of more than 100 “everyday essentials” across a range of branded, own-brand and Marks & Spencer items, including Lurpak garlic butter, down 25%, 100g of Ocado grated parmesan, down 16%, and own-brand seeded rolls, down 17%.

More than 60 reductions reflect recent M&S price cuts and include products such as Greek-style yoghurt, salmon fillets, avocados, ciabatta rolls and tortilla wraps.

It follows Ocado’s Price Promise launched earlier this year, which compares prices against more than 10,000 like-for-like products on Tesco.com.

Ocado Retail chief executive Hannah Gibson said: “Together with the Ocado Price Promise, cutting the prices of these 100 essentials means we’re even better value, alongside the service, range and quality which our customers love.”

Last week, M&S cut the price of 70 staple products by between 3% and 25%.

The upmarket food shop is also locking the prices of 150 products until the autumn, including pork sausages, cheddar cheese and coleslaw.

Morrisons, Britain’s fifth largest supermarket group, also announced last week that it was cutting the prices of 47 products by an average of more than 25%.

Asda previously froze the prices of more than 500 products until the end of August, while Sainsbury’s said it would cut the price of toilet paper by as much as 11% following other recent price reductions, while Waitrose reduced the price of more than 200 products.

Ocado’s move comes a day after supermarket senior executives from Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons were quizzed by MPs on food price inflation and why prices are still rising when commodity and wholesale costs are dropping. Supermarkets are under increasing pressure to hand down savings they are seeing on wholesale items to consumers, who have faced punishing food price inflation in recent months.

Data from the BRC-NielsenIQ Shop Price Index this week suggested retailers are beginning to pass on lower wholesale costs, with food inflation easing for a second month running as supermarkets cut the price of household staples.Food inflation decelerated to 14.6% in June, a relatively significant drop from May’s 15.4% and below the three-month average of 15.2%.

Fresh food inflation saw a significant slowing from May’s 17.2% to 15.7% as retailers dropped the prices of staples including milk, cheese and eggs. But food price inflation needs to fall substantially further to help rein in higher-than-expected overall UK inflation, which is still running at 8.7%.

The Bank of England last week lifted interest rates to 5%, with a bigger-than-expected 50 basis point hike to try to tame rising prices. The Bank suggested some retailers were jacking up prices or failing to pass on lower costs to consumers as a way of increasing their profit margins at a time of stubborn inflation.

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