Feeling a little guilty about my ketchup fascination. When I said I wasn’t doing any more posts about ketchup – maybe I wasn’t being fully accurate.

In my last post on ketchup in June 2020, we could see the impact that ensuring availability was having on UK supermarket shelves: SKU rationalisation, reduced shelf space, reduction in premium and healthier options, and no promotions.

A glance in the sauces aisle in February 2021 shows us the next phase of supermarket response – the price war.

So what’s going on?

  • Same products: No products or weights have changed – still the same SKUs as 2020;
  • Promotions and price locks are back: Seven SKUs were being promoted or price locked. This is in comparison to none in 2020, and five before COVID in 2019. Four of the six private label SKUs are reduced by 10-16%. The only private label SKUs not to be reduced are the 680g (which is better value for money than the price reduced 460g) and the private label organic offer;
  • Health and wellness push? The offer is the same – but the number of products are going up with prices flat; and
  • Premium decline? Reduction in premium options, One SKU promoted with 13% lower price vs. 2020; but still 10x the cheapest private label offer.

Does this reflect a change in your purchasing behaviour or your customers? Have you noticed a change?

What does this mean for your business? How are you responding to the first shots in the retailer price war? Has it filtered down to you yet?