North East Liberal Democrat MSP Alison McInnes is asking local residents to contact her with examples of confusing unit pricing they have come across while shopping.
It is part of a move to support Jo Swinson MP’s Price Marking Consumer Information Bill which is making its way through the UK Parliament.
The Bill has the support of the consumer organisation Which?
Ms Swinson explained: “The unit price is the price per kg, litre, 100g etc of a product and is provided to help shoppers compare prices between like-for-like products of different sizes where a direct comparison may not be straightforward e.g. a 600g jar of mayonnaise for £3.49 compared to a 400g jar for £2.50.
“The Bill will make it easier to work out which product is the cheapest. It calls for supermarkets to make sure the unit price is prominent and easy to read, they use consistent units across the board and the unit price is shown for items when they are bought as part of a promotion.”
Mrs McInnes said: “We are building a case against silly pricing and daft deals. Any constituents who come across examples of this can write to me at my constituency office at Ellon Business Centre, Broomiesburn Road, Ellon AB41 9RD or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“They can also show support by signing the pledge at which.co.uk/unitpricing.
Tweet any bad examples of unit pricing to @whichaction using the hashtag #priceitright”
According to a Which? survey of 1256 GB adults (weighted to be representative of the general population, surveyed between 15-17 November 2011) around 8 in 10 people are aware of unit prices and over half have used unit pricing when shopping for food.
The same Which? research found that three quarters of people who have used unit pricing say that it helps them make the most of their budget by allowing them to buy the best value product.
In June 2011, Which? carried out an online survey of 1009 members of the public weighted to be representative of the British population to establish the reaction to increasing food prices. It revealed that 72% of people found it annoying when items are not priced by unit and less than half (46%) thought that the print on shelf labels giving the unit price was large enough to easily read.
The November 2011 research on unit pricing found that while 81% were aware of unit pricing, only 55% were using it – the top reason for not doing so being that it is too time consuming (34%) and difficult to compare when measurements are not consistent (29%).