Morrisons To Chop Cost Of Meat As Price War Continues To Rage

Morrisons is stepping up the price war with its rivals by cutting the cost of a host of meat products.

From this week, the chain said it will reduce the price of essential meat and poultry products by 12%, to help families “bring meat back to the dinner table” this autumn. It added that price cuts on ham and other cooked meats will also help families whose children will be returning to school with packed lunches.

The prices of nearly 130 top selling cooked meat, fresh meat and poultry products are being reduced along with more than 30 fruit & veg lines. Products such as topside beef steak have reduced from £12.50 to £10 per kilo, whilst Morrisons wafer thin cooked chicken has been sliced from £1.87 to £1.56.

Andy Atkinson, Morrisons Customer and Marketing Director, said: “Meat is one of the priciest items in families’ shopping baskets and as kids go back to school the cost of packed lunches is an added cost.

“We’re a British company, making our own ham and buying our own cattle here in Britain. By doing this efficiently ourselves we can pass much-needed savings on to customers.”

The cuts form part of Morrisons ‘Price Crunch’ initiative, a rolling programme of price reductions, typically lasting a minimum of three months. The company made cuts on over 1,000 items last month and has so far reduced the prices of over 4,435 products.

Despite fears that the weaker pound following the Brexit vote will stoke inflation by making imports more expensive, foods prices are continuing to fall as the major multiples look to halt the rise of the discounters. However, recent data from Kantar Worldpanel showed that the Big 4 multiples are still losing market share as Aldi and Lidl continued to see strong sales growth.

Whilst the warm weather has provided a welcome boost in sales for the industry, market watchers believe competition will intensify further in the months ahead in the run up to the all-important Christmas trading period.

Latest data from comparison website mySupermarket shows grocery prices dropped in August following two consecutive months of price rises. The study found that the average price of a basket of 35 popular products in August was at £83.35, down £0.09 from the previous month. However, the price for August was still higher than total basket prices recorded for the April–June period this year.

mySupermarket’s Chief Executive of Gilad Simhony, said the grocery sector still faced uncertainty in the wake of the EU referendum vote. “Prices are still fluctuating quite heavily across the board and while we welcome a drop in price, we will be maintaining a close on eye on retailers’ movements throughout the next few months,” he said.

“It does appear that consumer confidence is stabilising so we hope to see this reflected in more consistent pricing for everyday goods.”

NAM Implications:
  • A focus on a key part of consumer diet, coupled with an implied ‘Buy-British’ message should grab he headlines and fit will in a post-Brexit environment.
  • If successful, it will be copied by other retailers, but their own home-grown meat gives Morrisons an advantage.
  • The bigger issue is the impact of the price war on the bottom line of all retail…
  • …and the extent to which suppliers will be expected to help…