The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued a statement saying that contrary to speculation in the media, it is not contemplating banning supermarket buy-one-get-one-free deals and special offers.

It explained: “Rather, the CMA responded to a super-complaint from Which? in April 2015 and is currently working with businesses to ensure that supermarkets’ promotional practices can be clearly understood by shoppers and are not misleading. The CMA expects to provide further details of its engagement with retailers in the next few weeks.”

On 21 April 2015, Which? submitted a super-complaint to the CMA entitled Misleading and Opaque Pricing Practices in the Grocery Market.

Which? raised concerns relating to:

• confusing and misleading special offers that make extensive use of price framing, including reference pricing, volume offers and free offers;

• a lack of easily comparable prices because of the limitations of unit pricing;

• reductions in pack sizes without any corresponding price change; and

• price-matching schemes operated by particular retailers which may falsely lead consumers to believe they have the best deal or do not need to shop around.

The super-complaint also identified the following areas that Which? considered the CMA should address:

• the extent to which the cumulative effect of any potentially confusing and opaque pricing practices in the grocery market affects consumers’ ability to obtain best value and make informed purchasing decisions;

• the drivers of any such practices and their pervasiveness within the market; and

• any changes that are needed to enable consumers to make truly informed choices and obtain best value.