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Some supermarket bulk buy ‘deals’ are a con, say campaigners

The price per kilogram can be up to 28% higher on bulk buy deals compared with purchasing the individual items separately

Consumer watchdog Foodwatch says some bulk buys are more expensive per kilogram than if the items were bought separately Pic: Foodwatch France

Campaigners have issued a warning to shoppers over special bulk buy deals in French supermarkets.

Consumer watchdog Foodwatch says 'family ' and ‘maxi’ deals are promoted as saving you money but, in some cases, they cost more together than if the individual items were bought separately. 

It says the price per kilogram of bulk buys can be up to 28% higher. 

Practice hits families hard

The study compared 12 everyday items – including soft drinks, biscuits, cheese slices and canned vegetables – in both their regular and bulk formats across a number of different supermarket chains in France.

Although promoted as a cost-saving measure, the price per kilogram of the products was higher than if bought individually, leading consumers to pay more for the products in bulk than if they bought them separately. 

Campaigners say it is an underhand tactic with food inflation still on the rise in France and consumers hunting for cheaper deals. 

French statistics agency INSEE said food prices were 15.8% higher in March compared to a year earlier. 

Families are most affected by the practice, say campaigners, as they often purchase in bulk “out of necessity” to feed larger families and are more vulnerable to the so-called deals.

For Foodwatch, it does not matter whether the fault lies with supermarkets or the manufacturers – they believe something must be done to help consumers.

Read also: Are France’s measures to tackle food price rises working?

‘Raise the pressure on the government’

The campaign has launched a petition calling on the government to ban or regulate bulk buy promotions.

It wants these promotions to be more clearly stated on the packaging.

In addition, Foodwatch has called for regulation to ensure bulk buys are always cheaper per kilogram than their individual items.

It also calls for the government to step in and end the practice of ‘shrinkflation’ - where product sizes become smaller but the price remains the same, ultimately increasing the price per kilogram.

They hope the petition – which has almost 3,000 signatures at the time of writing – will help put pressure on the government to bring in rules to prevent the practice. 

Your view

Do you think supermarkets’ bulk buy promotions should be regulated?

Or should stores be free to market their products as they wish?

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