- a blog about food and value

Tesco and the “illusion of bargains”


Sunday’s newspapers overflowed with big loud supermarket ads, each proclaiming they were cheaper and better and had more magical powers than their rivals.

Tesco shouted loudest, with almost every other page harping on about “1000 price cuts”. But these cuts, suggests Consumer Association of Ireland chief Dermot Jewell, are merely “smoke and mirrors… the illusion of bargains.”

Jewell was commenting on Conor Pope’s revelation, featured in today’s Irish Times, that Tesco significantly increased the prices of well-known products just weeks into the new year before reducing them as part of their latest promotion. For their part, Tesco say global commodity prices increased over the last few months

It’s hardly surprising; Tesco are notorious for such behaviour. It’s increasingly difficult to know whether you’re getting a genuine bargain or if you’re being elaborately conned.

Readers, do you feel the supermarkets take you for a ride with their advertised special offers, or do you think you’ve found real bargains?


  1. Be very careful with their BOFOF offers too, last Saturday I was charged for both but luckily I realised and went straight to the Customer Service Desk

  2. I went to Tesco this morning to grab my lunch “en route” to my office. I had seen their advertising in the newspapers and noticed that most their “price reductions” were in fact items that had gone up recently just changed back to their initial prices. In fact, some are still higher than what they originally were. I am not surprised, it’s not the first time Tesco use this tactic.
    I am more than disgusted at how supermarkets think their customers are stupid, and this applies to all of them. Their “ta daaaa! we are working hard for YOU” fools no one. And their so called “war on prices”? It’s just a confusing field of signs everywhere on their shelves saying “price match: Lidl price XXX, Dunnes price: XXX”. Should they not promote being cheaper rather than be only as dear as their competitors?

  3. one of the items they did this with was their own brand “Supermilk” – was 99c, went up to 1.15 now back at 99c

    you might not notice on some more luxury items, but its pretty obvious with milk, everyone who shops regularly knows the price of it…

  4. another tactic i have noticed in superquinn, i shop online, special price on fruits and veg, you add them to your basket, you think you got a good deal, then you get your things delivered to only find that they are less weight/quantity/quality than they used to be.

  5. I given up on Tesco, now shop in Aldi…save much more money and lots of their produced is produced in Ireland.

    Still, I guess Tesco and other supermarkets will continue to do this..?

  6. I totally agree with the above, I will tell anyone who listens that there are practically no bargains to be had in Tesco, any time I have ever done my shopping in Tesco, overall it has been more expensive than anywhere else I have shopped, millions of people are being conned by this. On any branded products, tesco is not cheaper, I wish more people would start to see this.