Have you noticed supermarket value brands being axed recently?

It's something that The Grocer has done an investigation on, something BBC Radio 4's PM programme noticed last night and I have noticed as of late, anyone else noticed that the range of value brand products in supermarkets reduce as of late at the worst possible time for hard-pressed consumers?

I have noticed this happen at both Aldi and Morrisons personally and I do know that the media has reported that Tesco and ASDA has also done it. The rationale is that reducing the amount of brands that a supermarket sells reduces operating costs but why the value brands. The PM programme example from Aldi focused on oats. Their basket of goods had included the value product and now they had to switch to the regular product. That had increased their basket of goods experiment by a pound.

The erosion of the value brands will not be welcome and will only make things more difficult. It will make it easier for the big supermarkets to align their prices with the challenger supermarkets and raise prices on the supermarket own brand products that remain.
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  • Mnoee
    Mnoee Posts: 796
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    I've noticed a few things in Tesco. I shop online only, and It's difficult to tell what's actually discontinued and what's just out of stock. Looking through my favourites items say either 'This product is unavailable', 'This product is not available right now' or 'This product is no longer available'. The last suggests permanently - but some things marked as that have returned in the past.

    Even if they're not discontinued, if they're not available to purchase they may as well be - and just browsing through my favourites items an awful lot are unavailable at the moment. 
  • pumpkin89
    pumpkin89 Posts: 627
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    It's not always that clear cut.  For example, there are lots of Sainsbury's Basics products that have been removed, but the equivalent standard Sainsbury's product has been reduced in price (often price matched to Aldi).  At a time when most customers are looking for low prices, it makes more sense to get the economies of scale on one main product rather than continuing with two very similar products (nobody sells value milk, for example, but they do compete to have the lowest price for milk).

    Where cheaper products have been removed and what remains is much more expensive, it's normally due to the cost of the product increasing dramatically.  A lot of people seem to believe that supermarkets are increasing prices to increase their profits - most are actually subsidising customers, as the cost of the products have increased much more than the retail prices.
  • k3lvc
    k3lvc Posts: 4,175
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    Also worth bearing in mind the industry situation in terms of manufacturers - they're unlikely to commit to breakeven/loss-making contracts for own-label to utilise factory capacity at a time when energy/ingredient/transportation costs are increasing

    You only need to look at supermarket shelves at the moment to see the impact and how the number of items being sold is being reduced (either through planning or just non-availability)
  • GaleSF63
    GaleSF63 Posts: 1,535
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    Mnoee said:
    I've noticed a few things in Tesco. I shop online only, and It's difficult to tell what's actually discontinued and what's just out of stock. Looking through my favourites items say either 'This product is unavailable', 'This product is not available right now' or 'This product is no longer available'. The last suggests permanently - but some things marked as that have returned in the past.

    Even if they're not discontinued, if they're not available to purchase they may as well be - and just browsing through my favourites items an awful lot are unavailable at the moment. 
    I've lost count of the number of times that has happened with Tesco so I no longer take any notice, just leave it in my favourites hopefully to reappear. It usually does.
  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 9,073
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    When I worked for a supermarket a fair proportion of their basic items were loss leaders and so sold below cost. This is clearly ultimately done in the hope that people now, or in the future, buy the more profit items whilst picking up the budget ones. 

    Selling things at a lost can only be sustained so long and there has to be a realistic prospect of it leading to more profitable sales that offset the loss. It doesn't seem overly surprising with predictions of an 18 month recession (or longer) that the worst offenders may be withdrawn 
  • Nelski
    Nelski Posts: 15,197
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    Asda have launched a new yellow basics range. Tried some in my delivery today. Haven't tried yet but prices are great so hopefully tastes ok too
  • p00hsticks
    p00hsticks Posts: 12,579
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    k3lvc said:
    Also worth bearing in mind the industry situation in terms of manufacturers - they're unlikely to commit to breakeven/loss-making contracts for own-label to utilise factory capacity at a time when energy/ingredient/transportation costs are increasing

    You only need to look at supermarket shelves at the moment to see the impact and how the number of items being sold is being reduced (either through planning or just non-availability)

    I think there may also be some of the same factors in play that we saw in the pandemic, in that when there are shortages of particular ingredients (flour and sunflower oil aretow that spring to mind givn the situation in Ukraine), the maunfacturers respond by  reducing the number of different lines of simialr products they are producing, and it;s ofte nthe supermarket own brands that get cut.
  • jon81uk
    jon81uk Posts: 3,749
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    Asda have introduced more basics products than before.
  • biscan25
    biscan25 Posts: 452
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    This is much more of a problem in smaller supermarkets, my Local Tesco/Sainsburys have even stopped stocking the 'middle' range on some lines, just selling the Finest/Extra special equivalents. I'm in SE London and have to drive to the bigger stores to buy the cheaper products. That or go to Lidl (which is my preferred but the OH is less fond).
    Pensions actuary, Runner, Dog parent, Homeowner
  • k3lvc
    k3lvc Posts: 4,175
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    biscan25 said:
    This is much more of a problem in smaller supermarkets, my Local Tesco/Sainsburys have even stopped stocking the 'middle' range on some lines, just selling the Finest/Extra special equivalents. I'm in SE London and have to drive to the bigger stores to buy the cheaper products. That or go to Lidl (which is my preferred but the OH is less fond).
    But this is all based on a more research/data than you could even know to understand what people in the catchment area will buy and how to maximise profit from the available shelf space. If your shopping habits/requirements are different from the 'norm' for the area then you're either left to comply and buy what they have or to shop elsewhere (or online)
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