UK supermarket Sainsbury's extends ban on multibuys to potato chips aisle

Sainsbury's says changing shopping habits has driven the move

UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s is axing multibuy deals on potato chips as part of its strategy to abandon the use of such deals across its business.

The retailer says multibuys are out of step with today’s shopping habits and has pledged to stop its use of such promotional mechanics in all product categories by August in favor of lower regular prices.

Sainsbury's, which holds a 17% share of the UK grocery market [Kantar Worldpanel], has already replaced multibuy promotions with lower prices in categories including dairy, packaged goods and meat, fish and poultry. It is now dropping multibuys on branded and own-label soft drinks, confectionery, biscuits and potato chips.

More frequent shopping

Shoppers were carefully managing household budgets, were more aware of the cost of food waste and more health-conscious, added Sainsbury’s, adding these were trends that had brought a shift away from multiple product purchasing towards more single item purchasing.

The retailer has been phasing out multibuys since March last year and already runs fewer than other major UK supermarket chains in some categories.

Bakery category multibuys

In bakery (including in-store and wrapped products), multibuys accounted for just 9% of all promotions run by Sainsbury in the past six months, compared with around 40% of bakery deals at its rivals [Brand View 6m/e 15 February 2015].

Sainsbury’s activity is currently more in line with other supermarkets in the snacks category, with multibuys accounting for 36% of all its deals. This is a small proportion than Tesco (39%), Asda (41%) and Morrisons (47%).

Customer shopping habits have changed significantly in recent years, with people shopping more frequently – often seeking to buy what they need at that moment in time,” said Paul Mills-Hicks, commercial director for food.

By replacing multi-buy promotions with lower regular prices, we are making it easier for customers to buy the products they need, in the quantities they need, without having to buy multiple items to enjoy great value.”

Consumer attitudes to multibuys

According to a poll conducted for Sainsbury’s last March, key customer frustrations with multibuys include:

  • Culturally a little out of step with current attitudes to food and waste
  • Shoppers can feel they are spending more than they need to
  • Shoppers can feel forced into logistical concerns around waste and storage
  • Multibuys feel exclusive to families
  • Multibuys are one of the key reasons behind being surprised by the total at the till
  • Multibuys can force shoppers into complicated thinking in terms of value calculation

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