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Asda listens and takes action

Supermarket giant responds to consumer activist Jack Monroe’s campaign

In a spectacular move, the activist and campaigner Jack Monroe got Asda listening and taking action. Less than a month after tweeting that supermarkets needed to make their cheaper products more available, the supermarket giant has responded positively.

On Twitter on 12 February 2022, she announced that Asda had reduced prices and made the cheaper products available in all its stores.

Monroe has shown what can be done when people really want to make a difference and take action. This change will help thousands of people across the country.

The pasta test

The cheapest pasta available in her local Asda supermarket cost 70p per 500g in January 2022. Thanks to Jack’s campaigning it’s now been cut down to 29p. That’s the same price as it was last year.

She got huge support on social media and she praised Asda for its speedy and great response.

Handling complaints properly

A well-handled complaint is one where the customer has been shown empathy, listened to, understood, treated fairly and given a satisfactory response in a timely manner. That’s certainly what has happened here where Monroe took the voice of the people to Asda.

The outcome clearly shows that by listening to customers, both retailers and customers will gain from the win-win situation.  Asda does the right thing, gets lots of free publicity (the story was reported in mainstream press as well as going viral on Twitter). The supermarket will consequentially increase sales, as many people will undoubtedly choose Asda over another supermarket, if they have a choice!

Which?’s research Aldi pips Lidl to cheapest supermarket of the year (published 22/01/22) showed that grocery prices were rising sharply.

The consumer champion said

Which?’s analysis uncovered an average price rise of 3.4 per cent for a trolley of 19 items across all the supermarkets. Waitrose prices went up the most (9.2%), and Sainbury’s the least (0.59%)”

Which?’s table:

Supermarket Grocery basket price rise Jan – Dec 2021 (%)
Sainsbury’s 0.59%
Tesco 0.89%
Ocado 1.62%
Morrisons 2.50%
Asda 2.89%
Aldi 4.32%
Lidl 5.13%
Waitrose 9.20%

What do other supermarkets say?

Interestingly, I asked Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Tesco for comment.

Sainsbury’s replied with a long statement regarding the work it was doing regarding prices. A spokesperson said that they are

“… using Jack Monroe’s Vimes Boots Index as an example and expanding it further to include a full basket of 71 essential items including other fresh items popular with customers, two thirds of items have either stayed the same price or reduced compared to last year and this rises to a similar majority when compared to 2020.”

At the point of publishing, more than 24 hours after requesting a statement, neither Morrisons nor Tesco had replied.

Tesco – once the listener

Dave Lewis, the former Tesco Group CEO, turned the chain around during his 2014-2020 leadership. Much of this was put down to listening to customers and doing what they sought. My relationship Case Study: Tesco and a consumer champion demonstrated this a number of times.

It included an exclusive interview with the UK CEO and Dave Lewis and me. The interview was unique, asking real questions from real customers.

Tesco | Complaining Cow meets Dave Lewis and Matt Davies


Within Dave’s first year, for example:Tesco trading

We had a number of disagreements which he acknowledged and took on as feedback! But, perhaps surprisingly, we also agreed on many things. Sadly, the new CEO seems to have made it clear that he does not wish to continue communicating with me in the same way as Dave did. We are yet to see if this approach goes wider than not listening to this consumer champion and whether he listens and responds to Jack Monroe or indeed any customers.

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