Warning for supermarket shoppers over trick that will leave YOU out of pocket | The Sun
SHOPPERS trying to save money at the checkout are being shortchanged on everyday goods.
There are fears customers are overpaying for their food shop because products are not being labelled with the correct weight.
Trading Standards Scotland is now calling on retailers and packers to make sure customers get exactly what they pay for.
It comes as the cost of everyday essentials such as food and fuel soar due to rising inflation.
Officers carried out weight checks on packaged goods at 39 retail outlets in west Scotland, with short-weight products identified during 17 of these visits.
One packer, with a contract to supply half-a-million supermarket ready meals every week, was found to have produced packs with deficiencies of as much as 14%, representing a loss to of 26p per pack.
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Trading Standards said if the same level of deficiency was replicated across the entire production then losses to consumers could be as high as £130,000 per week, or £6.76m per year.
A total of 296 different product lines were checked, with 24 (8%) found to contain short-weight packs.
David MacKenzie, Chair of SCOTSS (Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland) said short-weight products may be contributing to the cost of living crisis.
He added: “Measurement is at the heart of fair trade in goods, making sure that consumers get what they pay for and that businesses are weighing and measuring goods accurately.
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"With the current cost-of-living crisis, it is even more important that the processes and systems that should be in place are working properly and consumers get what they pay for."
Food bills have risen by 11.6% – which works out at an annual increase of £533 for the average household.
It means families are forking out an additional £10.25 every week if they buy the same products as last year, according to research firm Kantar.
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium said supermarkets "work hard" to make sure customers get value for money.
He added: “Where there are concerns, retailers will work with their suppliers, packers, and all relevant authorities, to ensure products meet customer expectations.”
What is the law around weights and measures on supermarket products?
The Packaged Goods Regulations 2006 states that the average batch must be at or above the weight or volume indicated on the packaging.
Products can be packed so that they contain at least the quantity displayed on the label.
The packages can contain more than the label says, but not less.
They can also be packed to an average measurement that is on the label.
But all packages must meet the following rules"
- the contents of the packages must not be less, on average, than the weight on the label
- only a small number can fall below a certain margin of error, known as the ‘tolerable negative error’ (TNE)
- no package can be underweight by more than twice the TNE
Products should never be twice the TNE short – this is considered to be an offence.
How can I find the best deals in the supermarket?
Get a loyalty card
Signing up for a supermarket loyalty card can often help you to get cheaper prices on essentials.
If you have a loyalty card, you may find you can get extra points or discounts, particularly if you buy petrol from the same supermarket.
The Sun recently compared the best supermarket loyalty cards in this handy guide.
Asda is the latest supermarket to promise shoppers extra perks, bringing it in line with Lidl, M&S, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and Tesco.
But it's worth comparing loyalty schemes – and remember you don't have to stay loyal, despite the name.
Know when to shop
Heading to the shops when products are marked down and bright yellow discount stickers are applied can save you serious dough.
If you shop in the evening, you are more likely to find goods that have been marked marked down.
But each branch of a supermarket will have their biggest discounts at slightly different times of day.
We put together a handy guide to what time supermarkets including Aldi, Asda, Tesco and Lidl reduce their prices.
Make a list
One of the most common mistakes shoppers make is going out underprepared.
Making a list will help to stay focused on getting the items that you really need, rather than being drawn into impulse purchases.
Another tip is to choose a smaller trolley – or a basket, if possible – to shop with.
A bigger trolley will look emptier even after you've finished trawling the aisles, and can encourage you to pick up more items.
Swap to own brand
Ditching items with labels like "finest" in favour of "own" or "value" can be worthwhile.
The Sun regularly tests supermarket own brand products to see if they can beat the big brands.
Lidl's own brand Freeway Cola costing 47p beat other supermarket's own brands to be crowned the best by The Sun.
While the budget supermarket's own brand orange juice was also found to be the best alternative to Tropicana.
The brand's Smooth Orange Juice costs £2.75 compared to Lidl's Simply Orange Juice, which is just 55p.
You can also try checking frozen alternatives to fresh fruit and vegetables, and looking on the lower shelves where customers are known to find better deals.
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We also revealed the cheapest supermarket in the country – and it's not what you expect.
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