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Asda brings ‘Smart Price’ value range to all stores following calls from Jack Monroe


Asda has pledged to make its lower-priced value range available in supermarkets across the UK after anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe highlighted how the cost of inflation is affecting the most financially vulnerable.

In an announcement on Monday 7 February, the supermarket chain said it would almost double the number of stores that offer its Smart Price range to all 581 of its locations.

Asda’s Smart Price range – which includes items such as a 15 pack of eggs for £1.18, a can of peas for 21p, carrots for 20p and 500g of pasta for 29p – is currently made up of 200 items, 150 of which are available in 300 stores.

But from March 1, all 200 lines will be rolled out and made available in supermarkets across the country.

Meg Farren, Asda’s chief customer officer, said the retailer had made the decision after the issue of increases in the costs of everyday groceries was highlighted by Monroe.

“We want to help our customers’ budgets stretch further and have taken on board the comments about the availability of our Smart Price range made by Jack Monroe,” Farren said.

“We are taking steps to put our full Smart Price and Farm Stores ranges in store and online to make these products as accessible as possible.”

Last month, Monroe – a food writer who began her career sharing cheap recipes she had created as a single parent with a young son – posted a Twitter thread giving examples of price increases she had noted at her local supermarket in the past year.

Her comments came after the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the consumer price index measure for inflation has increased from 5.1 per cent in November, to the highest level in nearly 30 years.

The current figure is the highest rate since March 1992, when inflation reached 7.1 per cent.

Monroe said the index measure “grossly underestimates the real cost of inflation” and what it means for people in poverty.

Monroe went on to list some examples of how the increase in the cost of living has affected prices of everyday food items in supermarkets, such as pasta, baked beans and bread.

“This time last year, the cheapest pasta in my local supermarket was 29p for 500g. Today it’s 70p. That’s a 141 per cent price increase as it hits the poorest and most vulnerable households,” she said.

“Baked beans: were 22p, now 32p. A 45 per cent price increase year on year,” she added.

The thread quickly went viral and has since been liked more than 100,000 times.

In the days that followed, the ONS said that it accepted that the “one inflation rate doesn’t fit all”.

Writing in a blogpost, Mike Hardie, the head of inflation statistics at the ONS, said the organisation was working to “do more to capture the impact of price increases on different income groups”.

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