Are Supermarkets Premium Food Lines A Con?

Supermarkets’ budget food ranges are as healthy as the premium products on offer, a new study has revealed.
Consumer group Which? Magazine claims that “Value” or “Basics” packs of fresh fruit and vegetables can be considerably cheaper than “prettier” up-market produce while still being just as tasty and nutritious .
The study by the consumer magazine included the views of over 2,600 shoppers about their choice of supermarket ranges and scrutinised the labels of 54 ready meals from each of the UK’s ‘big four’ supermarket chains – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.
A quarter of its sample group said they preferred to buy premium foods on the basis they were healthier for them, but Which? have insisted that cheaper ready meals are often lower in fat than more up-market versions.
The study found that the prices charged for the supposed up-market ranges of fruit and vegetables are often based on very minor differences in their cosmetic appearance, instead of taste.
For example, Tesco Value oranges are priced at 68p per kilo, while a similar size pack of Jaffa oranges costs shoppers £1.69 – an increase of almost 150 per cent.
At Sainsbury’s, a pack of Basics apples works out at 14p each, while Gala apples and Braeburns cost 23p and 30p respectively.
Other fresh produce at the supermarket including tomatoes, broccoli, peas and carrots were found to follow this trend.
Sainsbury’s stated the prices of its premium ranges were due to the products requiring different growing techniques and varieties, as well as lower farm yields.
The Which? research also examined the price variations of ready meals, highlighting the premium versions to be ‘the highest in fat and saturates per 100g’ while the budget meals contained the lowest amount.
It found a Morrisons Beef Lasagne, from it premium line, to contain “cream, butter and mozzarella – and twice the fat per portion of the budget version”.
Which? added the up-market ranges on offer often included a larger size portion, a factor the consumer group said automatically leads to higher consumption of fat per meal .

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