Asda brings ‘Smart Price’ value range to all stores following calls from Jack Monroe
Asda has pledged to make its low-cost value range available in UK supermarkets after anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe highlighted how the cost of inflation is affecting the most financially vulnerable.
In an announcement on Monday, February 7, the supermarket chain said it would nearly double the number of stores carrying its Smart Price range across all of its 581 locations.
Asda’s Smart Price range – which includes items such as a 15-pack of eggs for £1.18, a tin of peas for 21p, carrots for 20p and 500g of pasta for 29p – is currently made up of 200 items , 150 of which are available in 300 stores.
But from March 1, the 200 lines will be rolled out and made available in supermarkets across the country.
Meg Farren, chief customer officer of Asda, said the retailer made the decision after the issue of rising daily grocery costs was highlighted by Monroe.
“We want to help our customers’ budgets stretch further and have taken on board feedback on the availability of our Smart Price range from Jack Monroe,” said Farren.
“We are taking steps to bring our full ranges of smart pricing and on-farm stores in-store and online to make these products as accessible as possible.”
Last month, Monroe – a food writer who started her career sharing inexpensive recipes she created as a single mother with a young son – posted a Twitter thread giving examples of price increases that she had jotted down in her local supermarket over the past year.
His comments came after latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the consumer price index measure for inflation fell from 5.1% in November, the highest level in nearly 30 years.
The current figure is the highest since March 1992, when inflation hit 7.1%.
Monroe said the index measure “grossly underestimates the true cost of inflation” and what it means for people living in poverty.
Monroe then listed some examples of how the rising cost of living has affected the prices of everyday food items in supermarkets, such as pasta, baked beans and bread.
“At this time last year the cheapest pasta in my local supermarket was 29p for 500g. Today it’s 70p. That’s a price increase of 141% as it hits poorer households and the most vulnerable,” she said.
“Baked beans: were 22p, now 32p. A 45% year-over-year price increase,” she added.
The thread quickly went viral and has since been liked over 100,000 times.
In the days that followed, the ONS said it accepted that “one rate of inflation does not fit all”.
Writing in a blog post, Mike Hardie, head of inflation statistics at the ONS, said the organization was working to “do more to capture the impact of price increases on different income groups”.